Design and SAP

Design and SAP, two words which until recently did not go together.  Now SAP is all about simplification, “Run Simple”.  Much of this is about businesses moving to SAP HANA, but whilst they have started the process with SAP Fiori, they still do not fully understand the benefits of using User Experience Design, to Run Simple, with or without HANA.
Back to design.  SAP released Fiori to much acclaim in 2013.  Much of this acclaim was due to the alternatives being SAPGui (powerful, but designed in the 90’s), WebDynpro (advantages such as stateful, but clunky and a UI looking like it was designed in the early 2000’s) or BSP / WebUI on the CRM side (basically a web version of the SAPGui design).  Therefore it didn’t take a huge leap forward in order to make people stand up and say wow.
However, the real magic took place a couple of years previously, when SAP released Gateway. This allowed customers to develop a UI over SAP using pretty much any web user interface they wished (for example PHP or Java).  In addition they released SAP UI5 (which Fiori is written in) as one of those web user interfaces.  Why does this matter?  It matters because if you can develop your own user interfaces easily, you can then bring in the science of User Experience Design.
So what exactly is User Experience Design?  For a start, it is not about making the screen look pretty and sexy (although you do that later on).  It is all about designing the interface around how the user does their job in the easiest and most efficient way.  This is the way that you can really make SAP Simple and we have found in real world scenarios that it can reduce process times by up to 95% compared with doing the same process in the SAPGui.  This can bring huge business benefits.  Adding HANA into the mix can then improve this even further, by allowing you to do even more.
Back to Fiori.  There are an awful lot of people talking about how great Fiori is and implementing it in your organisation is a great start to improve the image of SAP within your organisation.  However, it is just the start.  If you really want to Run Simple, you need to apply User Experience design to your SAP User Interface.
Paul Tomlinson leads Capgemini UIsmart

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