Some of the hallmarks of the knowledge worker are an inquiring mind and a desire to improve business processes.  For knowledge workers to be effective they need to be ready to access to insights and wide-ranging access to explore and act on those insights.  For knowledge workers, a certain kind of user experience is helpful, and in SAP Fiori we call this type of user experience “insight to action”.  

TL;DR version: You can find a demonstration of insight to action in this video:  Insight to Action Navigation in SAP Fiori 3 for SAP S/4HANA 

Knowledge workers are often the forensic detectives of the enterprise – watching for the outliers, resolving urgent issues, identifying patterns across situations, and guiding others with less experience.  Their higher-level purpose is to look for ways that avoid pain and improve opportunities for themselves, their teammates, their department and their organization.  To do this, they need to be able to:

  • follow hunches such as inspirations on possible causes,
  • interrogate witnesses and suspects,
  • call on informers for inside information,
  • and have an array of powers to correct or improve the situation.

Unlike the detective, knowledge workers don’t need to tread the mean streets of their city.  Instead, they need to tread the digital paths and alleyways of their enterprise systems.

Contrast this to the casual worker who only wants to “get it (the task) done” and move on.  The casual worker gets frustrated easily, gives up quickly and calls support early.

It would be fair to state that many of us in enterprises have some tasks where we are casual workers – e.g. entering timesheets, expenses and leave requests – and others in our domain of expertise where we act as knowledge workers.   An example of a knowledge worker would be a purchaser or strategic buyer whose focus is on patterns of spend and supply across their part of the organization.  However, there are many such knowledge worker scenarios when you look across all lines of business, such as the asset accountant, G/L accountant, billing specialist and others.

The many needs of different knowledge workers would explain why there are more than 50 Overview Pages available in SAP S/4HANA already. In SAP Fiori, the go-to user interface of SAP S/4HANA, Overview Pages are a favourite way to provide insights to knowledge workers in their domain of expertise.

With a carefully curated selection of cards on their Overview Page, knowledge workers can see at-a-glance see what’s happening in their domain across the organization or use filters to narrow down to a more localized area of concern. By selecting intriguing details on the cards, they can launch to further SAP Fiori apps and classic user interfaces to investigate further.  They can move back and forth from the Overview Page to various apps until they are satisfied that they have understood the situation and are ready to act.  For simple actions they can even act directly from cards – such as stacked cards.

Apart from navigation from cards, SAP Fiori provides a range of additional options to help knowledge workers follow their train of thought and act when ready.  For example:

  • Columns and data points in charts are selectable for navigation and for further filtering on the related data
  • Widespread availability of export to MS Excel for offline conversations and snapshot evidence
  • Dynamic checkbox selection of optional data to be included in charts and lists via the Settings icon, which also provides options to further organize data by sorting, filtering and grouping
  • Hyperlinks, Related Apps buttons, Open In…buttons, and even some Process Flow icons, which lead to list of links dialogs that launch to related apps or classic UIs
  • Taking further actions in place within Object Pages.

In these and other ways the SAP Fiori user experience enables the knowledge worker to follow their train of thought.  The SAP Fiori user experience in this way prepares them to take advantage of more advanced intelligent enterprise scenarios where the system aids them with their detective work, such as:

  • Machine learning and Artificial Intelligence – where better quality information is gathered and presented to them
  • Situation Handling – where they are alerted to specific situations and given proposals for how to resolve these issues.

As for improving the way the organization works, who better than a knowledge worker to be a key user? That is someone with the authority to adjust user interfaces and the process on behalf of others.

Want to learn more?

SAP Fiori — How It Started and Where It’s Going 

Find out more about the history of Overview Pages in SAP Fiori 2.0: The ideal overview. 

Find a list of Overview Pages in Overview Pages a good place to start.

The Impact of AI Enhanced Software on UX User Profiles

Situation Handling in SAP Fiori 

SAP S/4HANA Extensibility: A Learning Journey 

This article was originally published on Medium.

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