Visual harmonization for S/4HANA for customer management and CRM7 is about to go live! It will be available for SAP customers within 2018. Beside consistent visual presentation, S/4HANA customers will benefit from a seamless integration into the overall SAP Fiori experience.

Have you ever wondered about the implications of visual harmonization for SAP? We sat down with Jeong-Sook Lee, visual harmonization lead for SAP Fiori, and Irina Zhilina, AIS development manager and global topic owner of the CRM Web Client UI Framework, to learn how it helps customers and how technology and good design go hand in hand!

We asked them a few questions:

Why do you think it is important for SAP to invest time and effort into visual harmonization projects?

Jeong-Sook:

Visual harmonization for CRM7 has its origins within SAP’s user experience (UX) strategy. Boosted by its successful implementation with SAP GUI for HTML and Web Dynpro ABAP, visual harmonization has been applied to SAP Business Client and SAP GUI for Windows. We completely redefined the look and feel of more than 16,000 classical applications being part of the official roles delivered with SAP S/4HANA. With this we created a far more consistent user experience across technologies and a modern look and feel for the SAP UI.

Irina:

The simplified CRM stack will be released as an SAP S/4HANA customer management add-on. Since CRM has its own web-based UI, a harmonized look and feel with other S/4HANA UI technologies will enable a consistent user experience for our customers. Due to tight integration between the different SAP S/4HANA solutions, a consistent user interface for all applications is more important than ever.

Can you tell us about the steps you took to ensure the success of the CRM visual harmonization? How did you manage to get all involved parties and resources on the same track?

Jeong-Sook: 

Both the design and technology teams had to team up and commit to the project. A clear product strategy was developed as well to ensure commitment until the end of the project. We also had support from sponsors in terms of resources and priorities. We promoted awareness that visual harmonization is a lot more than a few colors!

Irina:

We engaged all the stakeholders as early as possible and determined the roadmap and timelines. We also built an efficient and skilled cross-organizational team committed to the project’s success. Everyone involved agreed that the visual harmonization scope should be defined with both Fiori 2.0 guidelines and CRM specifics in mind. There was no other way to achieve this goal than to learn from each other and work together.

To come up with the new design, we set up a collaborative environment for developers and UX specialists.

We also managed to get the AIS CRM teams to test the visually harmonized UI in the Business Suite landscape and estimate the investment required for applications to adopt visual harmonization features. The test results showed that we are on the right track following “zero-to-low” commitment for applications’ adoption effort.

What is necessary to bring design and technology together and get the best out of both worlds?

Jeong Sook:

Developers and designers must share a One Team/One Goal attitude, regardless of their area of specialization. Neither design without great implementation, nor Implementation without a great design can achieve a great experience.  

Irina:

UI development and design teams should collaborate more, as well as support and inspire each other. This project is an excellent example. In my mind, design and technology is one world, not two.

What were the biggest challenges you encountered during the project?

Jeong-Sook:

There was a large volume of patterns to harmonize. As well, the different team locations were a challenge, since face-to-face interaction for collaboration always works better. However, to my astonishment, the team accomplished great result despite the geographical hurdle, demonstrating exemplary one goal team work.

Irina:

The biggest challenge for both the teams was to find the common ground between simplicity of Fiori and complexity of CRM. We had two workshops, but made much bigger progress during the second one, which was onsite. Team capacity, workshops and end user tests, S/4HANA onboarding and the timelines were challenging as well.

How will SAP’s customers benefit from a visually harmonized CRM?

Jeong-Sook:

Customers can execute tasks faster and save on training costs when we provide them a seamless user experience across SAP apps and a modernized UI that is simple, easy-to-use, and intuitive.

In addition, when connected to the SAP Fiori visual theme, our product will satisfy product standard and offer easier theme maintenance, without breaking compatibility. 

Irina:

Visually harmonized WEB Client UI will significantly improve user experience. CRM and S/4HANA customer management users will obtain

  • New features with adaptive responsive behavior
  • Fiori 2.0 look and feel (Belize theme)
  • Redesigned WEBCUIF shell (header and navigation side panel), for more simplicity and efficiency
  • New layouts and UI elements
  • Improved personalization
  • Integration with Fiori Launchpad.

Read more design details on the SAP Fiori Visual Theme for CRM.

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