What's all the furore about Fiori?

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SAP’s mobile offering has undergone a number of dramatic changes over the years with SAP Mobile Engine (ME), Mobile Infrastructure (MI), the Sybase Unwired Platform (SUP) and more recently SAP’s Mobile Platform (SMP). It should have been no surprise then when SAP’s announcement of the launch of Fiori in May 2013 caused such a stir and no small amount of excitement and scepticism within the SI and customer community.
In this article, we will take a close look at Fiori, explore where it fits in to an already complex SAP mobile landscape and examine the circumstances under which you might consider implementing a Fiori solution. We will also look at how it compares with DVW’s own mobile platform, MCAF.

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What's all the furore about Fiori?

  1. 1. 1 © De Villiers Walton Limited 2014 WHAT’S ALL THE FURORE ABOUT FIORI? IS THIS THE SAP MOBILE SOLUTION YOU HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR?
  2. 2. 2 © De Villiers Walton Limited 2014 TABLE OF CONTENTS Introduction ................................................................................................................ 3 What is Fiori? ............................................................................................................. 3 The Standard Apps .................................................................................................... 3 The Fiori Platform....................................................................................................... 4 Where does Fiori fit and why you might consider Fiori?............................................. 5 Limitations with Fiori................................................................................................... 6 How does Fiori compare with MCAF?........................................................................ 7 Summary.................................................................................................................... 7 About De Villiers Walton............................................................................................. 8
  3. 3. 3 © De Villiers Walton Limited 2014 INTRODUCTION SAP’s mobile offering has undergone a number of dramatic changes over the years with SAP Mobile Engine (ME), Mobile Infrastructure (MI), the Sybase Unwired Platform (SUP) and more recently SAP’s Mobile Platform (SMP). It should have been no surprise then when SAP’s announcement of the launch of Fiori in May 2013 caused such a stir and no small amount of excitement and scepticism within the SI and customer community. In this article, we will take a close look at Fiori, explore where it fits in to an already complex SAP mobile landscape and examine the circumstances under which you might consider implementing a Fiori solution. We will also look at how it compares with DVW’s own mobile platform, MCAF. WHAT IS FIORI? “Fiori” or “flowers” in Italian suggests that SAP has developed a solution that is light, fanciful, frivolous even but that would be missing the point. The key objective to Fiori is to provide SAP customers with a mobile solution that keeps simple things, simple. A quick glance at the initial 25 apps available reinforces this idea: Leave Request Approval, Sales Order Creation, Purchase Order Approval and so on. To return to our question, “What is Fiori?” Currently (and things are evolving quickly), Fiori is a solution that offers a collection of SAP UI5 based ECC online apps that run on multiple devices and provide a simple user experience. Fiori additionally provides a platform for developing your own apps and enhancing the standard apps. THE STANDARD APPS The primary focus of the initial 25 apps is on mobilizing key processes in ECC and to a lesser extent SRM. CRM and analytics apps are in the pipeline but be aware that HANA will be a required component for the analytics apps. Currently these apps offer online capability only and run within a browser on PC, tablet and mobile devices that support HTML5. While offline capability is planned for the future it will limited by what HTML5 can support. In terms of pricing, there is a user license charge of $150 per user if you choose to buy it from the SAP store. So is it worth the investment? Our initial impressions of these apps are positive. They are designed to be simple and in our opinion largely achieve that objective. One key design principle that came across loud and clear
  4. 4. 4 © De Villiers Walton Limited 2014 from a recent partner briefing session is that, Fiori apps are intended to support simple processes that can be completed in a maximum of 2 to 3 steps. SAP GUI and the CRM Web UI are under no immediate threat. In order to install and run Fiori you need to meet a pretty extensive list of prerequisites that are detailed in the “SAP Fiori Installation and Configuration” guide. The ECC apps for example, require ECC 6.0 SP15 as a minimum. You will additionally need to install SAP Gateway 2.0 and SAP UI5 1.10. As with any new SAP software release, a number of OSS notes are also required. The effort required in getting the standard apps up and running is largely dependent on the level of customisation in your ECC system. From our experience, this will take up to 10 days for a reasonably standard ECC environment. You will need to call on a combination of SAP Basis resource for the initial installation, ABAP and functional resource to configure the apps and any supporting SAP functionality (e.g. workflow) and HTML5 / JavaScript resource if you plan to enhance the standard apps. THE FIORI PLATFORM Before we discuss the Fiori platform, let’s take a look at the architecture.
  5. 5. 5 © De Villiers Walton Limited 2014 The Fiori architecture is comprised of 3 major components:  UI Apps – the apps are based on SAPUI5 which is a modified version of the open source JQuery library  OData interface and Data model – SAP Gateway houses the interfaces between the Apps and the backend business logic  Business logic – these are standard/custom ABAP code that provide data feeds or receive update commands from/to the UI layer Developing your own custom Fiori applications involves development in each of these areas with the following key steps:  Design the screens and data model and interactions between the UI and backend  Develop or identify backend logic for OData services  Model OData entities and publish services to SAP Gateway  Develop the UI application in Eclipse and publish the application Enhancing existing applications mainly involves the same steps as above but with a few key differences:  The existing app needs to be downloaded, changed and published as a Z BSP application. This means that you will own this code. When a new updated standard app is released, you need to retro fit the changes you made  Rather than creating a new data model, you will need to extend the existing one and develop the additional business logic through a BADI WHERE DOES FIORI FIT AND WHY YOU MIGHT CONSIDER FIORI? Is Fiori the new SMP? The answer is a simple, “No.” In fact, comparing Fiori to SMP is like comparing apples to oranges. Here is why:  Fiori is not a mobile platform. With SAP Fiori, you do not see terms like Mobile Business Objects (MBO), synchronisation management/monitoring, device management, mobile Workflow (not backend based) etc. which are functionalities a typical mobile platform provides  Fiori is based on SAPUI5/HTML5. Therefore, it is only designed to run in a browser or through a hybrid container, not as native apps  With HTML5, there are some well know limitations in comparison with native apps: o Variation in browser support
  6. 6. 6 © De Villiers Walton Limited 2014 o HTML5 apps don’t work as well offline as native apps e.g. to support dynamic pricing (offline IPC) with HTML5 would be near impossible o HTML5 is not able to access the device as well as native apps o HTML5 is not as fast as native apps We believe that you should consider Fiori if you have the following requirements:  You currently have some usability issues with SAP GUI based applications (e.g. create or approve purchase requisition) and the standard Fiori app meets your business requirements  You would like to simplify some of your existing key SAP process and expose them as Fiori apps to your casual SAP users  You have not already invested heavily in SMP/SUP and have a mostly online mobile requirement with limited offline requirements (offline is not readily supported) LIMITATIONS WITH FIORI From our perspective, Fiori has the following limitations:  SAPUI5 – SAPUI5 builds on the standard JQuery library. There are likely to be delays with new JQuery features being incorporated into SAPUI5  Limitations of HTML5 – as discussed above  On a first look, there appears to be a number of overlaps between Fiori and existing SAP solutions:  SAP already provides a number of native apps in the SAP store for process such as ESS leave and approvals  With Fiori, to enable single sign on, SAP users need to be replicated on the gateway and the launchpad is personalised via roles, this functionality is also provided by SAP Portal  Things are changing rapidly – with new tools such as visual designer, theme designer and new CRM apps in the pipeline, early adopters will almost certainly face upgrade challenges when the scheduled new versions and updates hit them thick and fast  There are inevitably some rough edges in the current release:  The development environment is based on standard Eclipse with a Fiori plugin rather than Netweaver Developer Studio (NWDS)  There does not seem to be a maintainable way of enhancing the existing applications e.g. registers a change like ABAP. The existing app needs to be downloaded, changed and published as a Z BSP application. So if you want to modify the existing application, which is highly likely, your Z application will not be supported
  7. 7. 7 © De Villiers Walton Limited 2014  SAP backend only – currently, Fiori is designed to run with SAP backend only. There are of course ways of getting around this problem e.g. calling services direct from the UI or by using SAP as a proxy but this is not currently encouraged or supported by SAP HOW DOES FIORI COMPARE WITH MCAF? You may be aware that DVW has an established product, MCAF that is very similar to Fiori. So what are the differences? The following table summarises these. Fiori MCAF UI  SAPUI5  Standard JQuery Backends  SAP  Multiple (SAP and None App) Standard Apps  ECC, CRM apps  CRM Sales Force Automation apps Interface  SAP Gateway  MCAF Integration Engine System Prerequisites  ECC 6 service pack 15 SAP Gateway 2.0  SAPUI5 1.10  WAS 6.20 CRM 5.0 (for standard SFA apps) UI Container  BSP  BSP Offline  Planned  Available SUMMARY In our opinion, SAP Fiori represents an evolutionary change on 2 fronts – UI and mobile. We say, “evolutionary” rather than “revolutionary” because Fiori does not replace SAP GUI or the SMP platform. The standards apps are targeted at simple processes and the platform is designed to support online apps with limited offline requirements. Fiori makes complete sense for those SAP customers who have not made a significant investment in existing SAP mobile infrastructure and do not have complex requirements for native online apps. If you are looking for a more lightweight or JQuery based option without the constraint of SAPUI5, you should consider the DVW MCAF. At the end of the day, you pay your money and make your choice!
  8. 8. 8 © De Villiers Walton Limited 2014 ABOUT DE VILLIERS WALTON De Villiers Walton is an SAP services partner. We design, implement, and integrate SAP solutions; optimize business processes; and provide strategic business consultation for our customers. We have proven expertise in SAP Business ByDesign, SAP Business Intelligence, SAP Customer for Cloud, SAP Customer Relationship Management, SAP E- Commerce, and SAP HANA. Visit our website: www.dvwsolutions.com Read our blog: http://www.dvwsolutions.com/blog.html Contact us: http://www.dvwsolutions.com/contact-us.html Email us: enquiries@dvwsolutions.com

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