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This week IgniteSAP is going to give a quick overview of the SAP Fiori UX design language for those of you who are considering broadening your skillset and training in Fiori.

We will take a look at why it is good for some SAP professionals to learn Fiori design, and what training resources are available.

We will also look briefly at some Fiori use cases, as well as what to expect from the evolution of Fiori and the Fiori jobs market in the future.

SAP Fiori is the user-centred design language that creates simple user experiences for enterprise applications. SAP Fiori simplifies doing business by categorising the functionality of the apps according to the roles of the user. This shift away from all-in-one ERP solutions towards light-weight apps tailored to the users’ tasks eases the user experience, and saves time navigating a UI by cutting out unnecessary information: presenting at a glance only what information the user requires for the task at hand. These light-weight apps are also easily available on any device.

Frequently used SAP functions such as self-service tasks, request approvals and information checks are classified by role and presented in individual apps supported by back-end components such as SAP Access Control or NetWeaver, which are part of SAP Business Suite 7, with SAP HANA database running underneath.

SAP has released three types of pre-made Fiori Apps: transactional apps for tasks  like making purchase orders, fact sheets which display key information about business objects and processes, and analytical apps for displaying KPIs and other aggregates of information about the business. There are now over 7,000 SAP Fiori Apps available.

While Fiori will never be a replacement for the ultimate customisation available with other SAP products, the light-weight, easily understandable user interfaces are attractive to end-users who are not SAP specialists.

Learning Fiori would be appropriate for mobile and desktop application developers, enterprise application managers, user interface and interaction designers, technical consultants, and system administrators.

If you would like to learn SAP Fiori there are certain skills and requirements which must be met in order to develop complete understanding of the Fiori UX design language. These are:

  • Fluency with ABAP, HTML5, JavaScript
  • Familiarity with SAP UI5, SAP HANA, OData (Open Data Protocol), and SAP NetWeaver Gateway
  •  Previous experience with ERP implementations.

While this would be an overwhelming list of prerequisites for a complete novice, most SAP professionals already have a good grasp of many of these elements so they will be able to transfer their existing skills and knowledge of SAP to Fiori.

If you want to invest your time in learning Fiori the best place to get a good summary of all aspects of Fiori is on the free openSAP course. Over the course of four weeks, with a time commitment of 3-4 hours per week participants get an overview of Fiori, followed by sessions on designing Fiori apps, then developing Fiori apps, managing Fiori, and then have the opportunity to take an exam to verify they have internalised the course content.

The SAP Community is an excellent resource where you can get answers on specific questions from experts on SAP Fiori and Fiori Tools. SAP Help provides a portal for Fiori documentation and technical specifications.

When you are ready to pay for a more in-depth course there are many providers of educational content on Fiori. The SAP Learning Hub offers courses to build and maintain SAP skills. These courses are online and expert-led, and offer hands-on access to pre-configured SAP training systems with SAP Live Access. Most importantly successful participation in these courses will lead to the attainment of SAP Global Certification. This accreditation will have a direct influence on the wages and billable rates you can command as an SAP Fiori professional.

The three levels of SAP certification are Associate, Specialist and Professional. Associate certification requires that you pass an exam once but because of the constantly changing nature of SAP products you may be required to take “stay-current assessments” when a newer version an SAP solution is released. However according to a study of more than 10,000 IT professionals conducted by Pearson VUE in 2019, 91% of respondents confirmed that IT certification was worth the time and money invested.

By expanding your SAP skill set you will gain a competitive advantage in recruitment processes, enabling recruiters to shortlist your application at a glance. It also can contribute to the promotion of your profile on sites like LinkedIn as part of a showcase of your skills and expertise. Displaying an SAP Global Certification Digital Badge on your profile alongside your other qualifications is a visible and verifiable representation of your learning and accomplishments. The Digital Badge provides a real-time verification that your certification is valid, and legitimises your qualification as it links directly to the official issuing organisation.

According to research conducted by a selection of organisations in America in 2020 the average salary for an SAP consultant was $85,816 per year but in the group that was certified by SAP this average figure was $112,488 per year, demonstrating a improvement to yearly salary of approximately 30%, so although some official SAP training courses cost thousands, those who achieve certification can expect return on their investment quickly. It is possible that your employer may be willing to finance your training as part of a policy of continuing education in their workforce.

While the Learning Hub subscription offers the best value for money regarding SAP learning, individual courses can be taken via the SAP Training Shop. The SAP Fiori Foundation Course (UX100)  is the most detailed introduction to Fiori. It covers: “the design principles, usage and personalisation of the SAP Fiori launchpad, introduction to SAPUI5 and SAP Gateway, as well as understanding and handling of application types with the SAP Fiori reference library. Various architectures will be covered to include SAP Fiori for ABAP Platform on any database and on SAP HANA (deployment options, maintenance), SAP Fiori for SAP S/4HANA (Embedded Analytics, Enterprise Search), and development (ABAP CDS Views, ABAP Programming Model for SAP Fiori, ABAP RESTful Application Programming Model).”

Participants go on to cover in depth topics related to configuration and further content administration like troubleshooting and designing for SAP Fiori Mobile and SAP Cloud Platform.

The Fiori Foundation course, currently € 3,625.00 (EUR), is taught in a live classroom virtual environment and runs over five full days. Other Fiori courses available include “Training for SAP Fiori in Development” and “Training for User Experience in Design” among many others. Exams to acquire SAP certification can take place online. Participants can purchase an exam voucher through the SAP Training Shop and then schedule an exam via the Certification Hub. The exam can then be overseen an invigilator remotely using a webcam, and can be taken up to a maximum of three times with one voucher.

Now we have explained the route to learning and getting certified in SAP Fiori we will give a few examples of companies and organisations who have integrated Fiori as part of a larger SAP implementation.

Vistaprint’s global implementation of S/4HANA with TCS and SAP included six manufacturing plants and more than 100 separate entities. As part of the mammoth task Vistaprint decided to take the opportunity to implement new technology greenfield systems with more than 150 dedicated Fiori apps and Business objects reports in order to retire the old systems.

Smaller and medium-sized business have also benefited from the use of Fiori. DCM Shriram of India used SAP Fiori UX apps to enable the automation of industrial chemical manufacturing processes as part of a project to bring about greater visibility and process enhancements with S/4HANA.

The simplicity of the Fiori UX allowed Ichiban, also of India to quickly train employees with no previous SAP software experience in the management of business processes like accounts, inventory and asset management, purchasing, sales and distribution. 

General Datatech, a high tech company from Texas improved their sales agility and flexibility by implementing SAP Fiori UX, adding to further improvements of an implementation of other SAP products like S/4HANA Finance. The Managing Principal Jonathan Pendrich said: “the time required to turn a sales quote into a sales order and purchase requisition has been reduced to mere days. Additionally, with the automation of some cumbersome, manual processes, the month-end and year-end close processes are well on their way to being reduced by half.”

Huvitz, a manufacturer of Ophthalmic medical equipment built a mobile work environment using SAP Fiori UX, and McInnis Cement of Quebec deployed SAP Fiori apps for the use of technicians to retrieve work orders, and for the use of mobile devices and bar-code readers.

Innovabee Group GmbH & Co KG created a role-specific user experience for their employees. This enhanced UX and mobile access, resulting in higher productivity at the company. This strategy was also employed by Indeks Bilgisayar, a wholesale distribution company based in Istanbul.

As we can see there are many uses for Fiori and in the majority of cases Fiori is integrated into an implementation of S/4HANA. So expertise with Fiori will be a useful skill to combine with an existing skillset dedicated to S/4HANA implementations. SAP Fiori 3 is constantly being updated as more SAP Fiori Apps are added, but it also has the same regular updates that we expect from other SAP solutions. The most recent updates (as of May 2021) are centred on creating more options for visualisation of the interfaces that are designed, while maintaining a consistent visual vocabulary. Recent innovations in Fiori also include new Mobile SDKs, AI and Situation Handling.

Elsewhere in the SAP ecosystem we have seen a tendency toward increasing the accessibility of SAP so that non-specialists are able to carry out tasks that used to require dedicated SAP experts. Features like no-code or low-code development are becoming more pronounced in the SAP portfolio as companies want the ability to adjust their IT systems quickly in order to react to changes in the economy and the wider world. SAP Fiori appears to align with this overarching intention of SAP, allowing quick development of easy to use apps that require very little training of the workforce. It follows that SAP experts would do well to branch out and become fluent in the design of these apps as a means of increasing their flexibility when implementing SAP solutions. To be the facilitator who can provide the easy answer in this situation will always be rewarded by companies who want to reduce complexity, and it will also furnish SAP implementation experts with more tools to tailor projects more precisely to the expectations of their customers.

So to sum up, if you can spare the time to add Fiori expertise to your skillset and get SAP global certification you can expect to improve your employment prospects and stand out above your peers in the recruitment process. As the landscape of SAP moves steadily toward modularity with apps and ease of use in the area of user experience, those who have Fiori in their tool kit will find it increasingly beneficial in the years to come.