(this article originally appeared on the SAP Community)
It’s no secret that SAP’s UX strategy puts SAP Fiori left, right and center. There are several blog posts in this community and elsewhere, that explain SAP’s UX direction for the years to come. But if you want to get started to “make” SAP Fiori apps as a designer or a developer, it might be daunting to find your way through all the information. You might wonder whether it’s worth your time getting familiar with SAP Fiori. In this blog, I hope to give compelling reasons why you should become a SAP Fiori developer!
I was lucky enough to join Global Design’s Customer Office team at SAP a few months ago, with the goal of driving adoption of SAP Fiori in the market. Since I added “SAP Fiori” to my LinkedIn profile, I started to receive significantly more connection requests and InMail messages from headhunters and recruiters than before. All were looking for SAP Fiori developers, which made me think:
- Why is there such a demand for SAP Fiori developers?
- Should I become one?
But the first question intrigued me, and in this blog I will try to find an answer.
Reason 1: Innovation starts from the end user
In this era of digital transformation, companies need to keep innovating to stay ahead of their competition, or to even disrupt their industry. Design thinking, evangelized at SAP, offers a framework for creativity, a human-centered approach to innovation. SAP embarked on its design thinking journey already in 2004, with SAP Fiori as a lighthouse example of design innovation. SAP Fiori applications are designed with the end user in mind (also known as role-based design) and work across all devices (adaptive design). They are delightful and aim to make users successful at work.
Any developer who understands the design principles of SAP Fiori, is therefore a valuable resource for companies that want to innovate!
Reason 2: User expectations are changing
In the past, there was a separation between business life and private life. Work was done in the office or in the factory. After work, you were literally disconnected. With the introduction of laptops and mobile phones, this started to change. Smartphones and ubiquitous internet connectivity make it possible to connect to work everywhere and anytime. So business life and private life started to overlap. Moreover, people got spoilt by the ease of use of consumer applications. Why type, click and scroll through boring business applications if you can also tap, pinch and swipe? Business applications should not only be efficient, but also fun to use.
SAP Fiori applications offer a consumer-grade user experience. SAP Fiori developers can easily meet the expectations of today’s business users by creating SAP Fiori applicatons.
Reason 3: millennials are entering work
The trend of changing user expectations is fueled by millennials entering the workplace. Soon, half of the employee base worldwide will consist of millennials. Compared to previous generations, they are more familiar with communications, media and digital technology. Millennials portray a different work mode. They multi-task, and don’t necessarily work a traditional 9 to 5 shift. They expect access wherever they are, on whatever device they are using. They value intuitive and simple experiences that are similar to the consumer apps they use. They like to use the same hardware at work and in private life.
With SAP Fiori, developers can create business applications that will appeal to the millennial generation!
Reason 4: SAP Fiori is the user experience of SAP S/4HANA
Starting with SAP S/4HANA 1610 (or SAP S/4HANA Cloud 1608), SAP Fiori is the user experience of SAP’s flagship product. This means that every SAP customer who is migrating from SAP Business Suite to SAP S/4HANA (or any customer who is installing SAP S/4HANA in a green-field scenario) will start using SAP Fiori applications. There are currently already 6.300 licensed SAP S/4HANA customers (source: SAP corporate factsheet July 2017). But SAP serves more than 300.000 customers globally. This means there will be a big and massive wave of companies transitioning from classical SAP GUI and Webdynpro applications to SAP Fiori in the next years to come.The transition to SAP S/4HANA will increase the demand for skilled SAP Fiori developers!
Reason 5: SAP Fiori is the user experience of SAP software (over time)
SAP does not only offer the SAP Fiori user experience for SAP S/4HANA. SAP’s UX strategy is to deliver the SAP Fiori UX across SAP solutions over time. So this implies that SAP software will converge to the SAP Fiori user experience eventually (disclaimer: this is the current state of planning and may be changed by SAP at any time). On the latest SAP Fiori roadmap, many of SAP’s solutions are already included and show their SAP Fiori plans:This means that the scope of available SAP Fiori applications keeps increasing. As more and more companies adopt SAP Fiori, the demand for skilled SAP Fiori developers will grow as well.
Reason 6: standard SAP Fiori apps need extensions
One of the characteristics and strengths of SAP Fiori is its extensibility concept. Many standard SAP Fiori applications can be modified by using so-called extension points, without touching the underlying standard code. The extension points are forward-compatible, meaning that with updates of the SAP Fiori application, the extensions will still function. The extension concept allows companies to “stick-to-standard”, which will help them to drive costs down as opposed to developing bespoke applications.
There are many SAP customers who want extensions to standard SAP Fiori applications. Think of extra fields, tabs or buttons that can be added to address the end users’ needs. SAP Fiori developers are needed to extend the standard SAP Fiori applications!
Reason 7: SAP keeps innovating SAP Fiori
Don’t think of SAP Fiori as a finished, canned product. SAP keeps innovating SAP Fiori, by releasing new functionality and features every quarter. You can check the official SAP Fiori roadmap to see planned innovations and overall direction. Some innovations are incremental, like the planned flexible layout for SAP Fiori Elements, or improved personalization of the SAP Fiori Launchpad. Other innovations are step changes, like SAP Fiori for iOS. And with the introduction of SAP CoPilot, SAP is a front-runner in the paradigm shift from “mobile-first” to “conversational UI-first” app development.To take advantage of the continuous innovation in SAP Fiori, companies will be looking for experienced SAP Fiori developers to create applications that keep up with technology trends!
How and where to start?
For anyone new to SAP Fiori, the information available can be overwhelming. My experience of working at SAP for the last 5 years is that there is never a shortage of information, you just need to know where to look! To help you understand which resources and tools are available, and when to use them, I’ve created a simple graphic:This picture does not aim to be complete, but I often use it in customer workshops to navigate the audience through SAP’s offering. Taking the design thinking approach as a guiding principle, on top I have plotted the various tools and resources roughly when you need them during a design-led development project (which, by the way, is also the method that SAP follows internally for creating SAP Fiori apps). At the bottom you see the deliverables of every step in the process.
Using the graphic above as your navigation aid, you can now easily search this e.g. the SAP Community Network and other SAP channels to learn more about each resource and tool individually.
I hope that this blog post has convinced you to start making SAP Fiori applications yourself, and has helped you to get started. There might be other tools and resources that you use in your own SAP Fiori projects. Feel free to post them in the comment section, I am curious to hear from you!