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Every SAP professional knows about SAP TechEd. It is a huge event that encompasses many sessions, covering both present and upcoming technologies. My colleague, Melchior, already wrote a blog summarizing his experiences from TechEd and recommending a few sessions; in this blog, I’d like to recommend a few additional great sessions that I attended. I’m sure these would be interesting and helpful for those who did not attend SAP TechEd, as well as for those who attended and want a good refresh. At oXya, we use these recorded sessions for “training” and for introducing new SAP aspects to our teams. We distribute a list of recommended sessions to all oXya experts who did not attend TechEd in person.

 

The following is a short list of sessions I loved in TechEd Vegas. For each session I give a short explanation on what was interesting and a link so you can see the recording. The first two videos I recommend watching are the main keynotes that cover the SAP strategy; they show you what could possibly be the future of your IT. Then, there are four additional speeches that I recommend: a session on user interface, one on HANA direction as well as one on S/4HANA, and a session on Internet of Things.

 

 

SAP Executive Keynote: Steve Lucas, Las Vegas 2015

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The first SAP keynote, given by Steve Lucas, Global President, SAP Platform Solutions Group, was not very techy. The keynote focused on how SAP was helping businesses to solve some real life challenges, using amazing tools; it showed how companies could use big data and other technologies to be more productive. They demonstrated a few things using the Amazon Alexa tool (it’s the Amazon Assistant, like SIRI is to Apple devices). Steve Lucas also spoke about SAP VORA, an analytics tool for big data, helping to analyze both structured and unstructured data. This was a “big picture” keynote, with lots of examples on how SAP could help your company, using some new technologies that would come, and how you would be able to leverage them.

 

 

SAP Executive Keynote: Bernd Leukert, Las Vegas 2015

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The second SAP keynote was given by Bernd Leukert, a member of the Executive Board and the Global Managing Board of SAP SE. This session covered the SAP HANA platform and various tools around HANA, and how these integrate into your IT platform. One of the interesting ideas in this session was the transition from a B2C model (Business to Customers) into a C2B model (Customers to Business). The meaning was that customers provided lots of valuable information, big data, to the business (via social networks, surveys and more); the business—using various digital platforms—needed to digest all of that information and provide the right answers to customers.

 

Leukert showed all the IT you could build on the cloud, using HANA and HYBRIS. This was a general session about the HANA Cloud Platform, all the tools powered by HANA, and the architecture that SAP developed to help customers become more digital. The keynote showed a big picture of what could be achieved when using the SAP HANA Cloud Platform.

 

 

UX111: SAP Fiori Apps: An Overview

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Those of you who already read my previous blog about SAP Fiori know that I’m a big fan of the new SAP user interface (UI), and don’t like very much the older SAP GUI. The new SAP UI has been a hot topic for the last couple of years; this session about SAP Fiori Apps provided a high-level overview on all the developments in this area. It showed how you could implement the new SAP UI in your company, from developing to installing to end-user extensions, and more. Several tools were shown in this session, like the SAP Fiori Library (website provided by SAP, where you could see how your application would look using Fiori), and also the SAP Fiori Demo Platform (demo platform for selected apps; you could use it to see if it fitted with your business and your applications). This session also provided some previews on future looking developments, like Fiori on smart watches, and Fiori together with Internet of Things.

 

Many customers have questions about the new UI. This session provides a good introduction for any customer considering moving now to the new SAP UI. The session helps understand what SAP Fiori is all about and how it will help the organization, including demonstrations of current technologies and future ones. It’s one of the best sessions I’ve seen at TechEd, for both Basis developers and for business people on the IT side.

 

 

TEC103: SAP S/4HANA Overview, Strategy, and Road Map

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This is one of various S/4HANA sessions you could see during this SAP TechEd event. S/4HANA was presented as the future of SAP applications, similar to the role that business suite SAP R/3 had played in the ‘90s. This revolution starts now, and is based on IT simplification, leveraging the HANA platform and Fiori.

 

This specific session focused on S/4HANA Overview, Strategy and Roadmap, and provided the “big picture” on SAP S/4HANA and the new tools around it, as well as the future of S/4HANA. This presentation was a great introduction to Simple Finance, the first component of S/4HANA, and all the way to the latest component released, Simple Logistic. It showed which directions SAP was thinking of for the future, and how these technologies could help customers in simplifying their IT. This session also showed how it would integrate supply chain and CRM on future versions of this tool. It enabled the listeners to “see” the future, and envision how your company could implement S/4HANA. Related to that subject, I would also recommend to read Mel’s blog about considerations before migrating to SAP HANA, as it’s a great blog with valuable information.

 

 

TEC105: SAP HANA Road Map

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Another session I would recommend watching is the one covering SAP HANA Roadmap. HANA has been around for the last 5-6 years and was the main topic of SAP during that time. HANA is also one of the most drastic changes SAP had ever made to their platform, and it is the foundation for all the new projects that are happening at SAP right now, to help your company become more digital (like S/4, VORA, and more). This session was interesting because of its structure; it covered subjects for various types of professions—developers, Basis admins, data architects, UX experts and more—emphasizing what was present, and what would come in the future of HANA for all these departments. It also focused on many Basis tools and tools for developers, regarding how to handle SAP HANA, how to use it and how to leverage it, both at present and in the future (near future and further away). This session also covered Multi-Tenancy, which was pretty new on HANA and interesting to hear about.

 

 

The Internet of Things and Its Impact on Corporate IT

network-782707_640 (Custom) (2).pngThe last session I recommend watching covers Internet of Things and Its Impact on Corporate IT. Internet of Things (IoT) was one of the hottest topics at SAP TechEd 2015. This session was very impactful as it showed how IoT could reinvent businesses in helping them build new offerings, help their customers, and make a tremendous impact. One of the most surprising things for me was a piece of data brought in this presentation, according to which the impact of IoT would reach more than $10 trillion within the next 10 years. Hence, when you are planning for the future of your company, then IoT is not something you can ignore.

 

The session brought many real life examples, like capturing data during driving and then analyzing it using SAP HANA; or an interesting project done at the city of Hamburg in Germany, collecting data from trucks and other vehicles used, analyzing that data, and managing to cut down 5,000 hours of trucks’ driving, which obviously saved a lot of money and also contributed to the environment. It was an awesome session that made me realize that all of these IoT gadgets were not just geeky things, but rather the new way that IT could help your business.

 

 

The above sessions are just a small sample of all the content and recorded sessions from TechEd, that you can review online. You can find all the replays at: http://events.sap.com/teched/en/sessions.aspx?Year=2015

 

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Mickael Cabreiro is a Senior SAP Basis Consultant, currently based in oXya’s Montreal, Canada office. Mickael joined oXya in 2008, and has consulted to customers across Europe and Americas, capitalizing on his multilingual proficiency. oXya was acquired by Hitachi Data Systems in early 2015.

One of the most common needs that oXya customers have been asking us about in recent years has been focused on using SAP on employees’ mobile devices (tablets and cellphones). Many companies worldwide are supporting the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) option for their employees, and they want the employees to be able to use their own devices to connect to SAP and perform their work.

 

In addition, there are various instances in which the use of a mobile device is almost a must. Think about mobile employees, for example, who are traveling frequently as part of their job. Using their tablet or cellphone to connect to SAP and perform various actions will be significantly easier and a time saver for them, compared to opening their laptop and doing the same thing. There are additional instances in which mobile devices can bring a lot of value, such as working on a manufacturing floor, where a person can move around and perform tasks on a tablet, rather than be constrained to a desktop or a laptop that are not as mobile. And there are additional examples.

 

All of these things were difficult to perform with the old SAP GUI, which did not have any adaptive capabilities, and was therefore limited to use on desktops and laptops. Aware of these trends, SAP embarked on a journey to provide an answer to its customers. SAP wanted to create a better user experience for its customers, enable the use of mobile devices, and at the same time simplify  interactions to make it more efficient.

 

The result is Fiori, which is part of the new user experience developed by SAP. Based on HTML-5 and a browser-based GUI, Fiori provides a responsive design which means you can use Fiori apps on your mobile devices. In addition, Fiori provides ease of use that is far superior to what existed before, as well as significant improvements in efficiency for the users.

 

 

What is Fiori?

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Fiori is a framework for an advanced, responsive user interface. It is a set of SAP applications, that replaces known, standard SAP applications and processes. The emphasis on “standard” is important, because Fiori replaces applications and processes in which you are using the exact same standard processes defined by SAP, without any modifications made to this processes.

 

When SAP first launched Fiori, it supported about 200 applications. Today, with EHP-7 on ECC-6, Fiori supports more than 500 applications, enabling users to leverage the exact same SAP application and process on their mobile device, in an easier-to-use way.

 

Another benefit of Fiori is that it enables the user, with one interface, to interact with multiple backend applications (CRM, BI, SRM, etc.). Before Fiori, you had to install different clients on the user side.

 

 

Efficiency of Fiori

 

Fiori is much more than just a nicer GUI that also works on your mobile devices. SAP designed Fiori to provide significant efficiency improvements for its users. This efficiency improvements result in savings of 60-70% in the time of performing an SAP task by the user; in the number of mouse clicks the user needs to make during the process; in the number of screen changes; and in the number of fields that need to be filled.

SAP GUI (old)SAP Fiori UXEfficiency
Duration2:12 mins47 secs64% reduction
Clicks391171% reduction
Screen changes8275% reduction
Fields filled5260% reduction

 

Instead of just writing about these efficiency savings, take a look at this 2-minute video, which compares between two methods of performing the exact same business process, in the old SAP GUI and through the Fiori version of that application.

 

The process shown in the video, for Receivables Management, is typical for the efficiency improvement that users achieve when employing Fiori. It’s important to emphasize that the SAP application that you see in the video is exactly the same for both instances, only in one case we are using the old SAP GUI and in the second case it is the new Fiori interface.

 

 

Upgrading to Fiori

 

The process of upgrading to Fiori differs between customers, and depends on each customer’s SAP environment. On average and for most customers, assuming you’re already running the updated SAP environment (EHP-7 on ECC-6), the basic setup of the Fiori backend system takes between one week to 1.5 weeks (Fiori support is limited or does not exist in previous versions of ECC). This project includes installing a SAP NetWeaver Gateway, and the exact length of the project depends on how things are configured on the backend.

 

Once the backend infrastructure is set, it takes oXya 1-2 days to technically deploy each application to Fiori (again, for standard processes only, meaning the processes and screens that SAP configured and which you’re using as is, without modifications).

 


SAP Personas: the step beyond Fiori

 

As mentioned above, Fiori is just the beginning of the road, with regards to the new SAP GUI. Fiori only covers the standard SAP processes. It’s impossible to speak about Fiori, without understanding that when you’re moving to a new user experience, you also have to convert the screens and processes that you created for your company, and which are not SAP standard. To achieve that, we’re using SAP Personas.

 

Personas is a tool which helps to transition your modified processes and screens to the new user experience. Using NetWeaver Business Client, you can personalize your screens and processes without coding, leveraging WYSIWYG options.

 

Peter Spielvogel from SAP’s marketing wrote two nice blog posts explaining the difference between Fiori and SAP Personas, and also how to choose between these two.

 

 

Have you converted to Fiori?

 

To summarize, everything becomes simpler, more intuitive, and significantly more efficient, once you convert from the old SAP GUI to the new SAP interface. About 60% of oXya’s customers are in process of migrating to Fiori or have already completed this migration, and they are reporting significant value.

 

Here’s one example from a customer who moved to Fiori, and just one of the many benefits they achieved—this one in their quality management process, on the manufacturing floor—due to that migration. In the pre-Fiori days, with the old SAP GUI, they quality inspectors used designated scanners to scan finished products’ codes, and then transfer the information to the SAP system. Today, after moving to Fiori, they simply use their tablets to scan the codes (using the tablet’s camera), enter the scanned data directly into the Fiori application (using the tablet, of course), and save significant time on the entire process (plus save the cost of the designated scanners).

 

Have you already migrated to Fiori? If not, do you have this migration planned? Any questions or concerns? Please comment here, and I’ll address all comments.

 

 

Mickael Cabreiro is a Senior SAP Basis Consultant, currently based in oXya’s Montreal, Canada office. Mickael joined oXya in 2008, and has consulted to customers across Europe and Americas, capitalizing on his multilingual proficiency. oXya was acquired by Hitachi Data Systems in early 2015.