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Product and Topic Expert
Product and Topic Expert

During my opening remarks at a “Pizza and Personas” event hosted by NIMBL, my introduction included observations on the similarities between SAP Screen Personas and Kettlebells. Several attendees encouraged me to share my thoughts in a blog post.

For those of you not familiar with the kettlebell, it is basically a metal sphere with a handle (perhaps flattened on the bottom, so it does not roll away). What differentiates it from the more familiar barbells and dumbbells is that the center of mass is not centered where you grip. This means you can do different, and usually ballistic movements, which are good for building both strength and power.

Why would I mention kettlebells along with SAP Screen Personas, aside from the fact that I am a big fan of both? It turns out that they have several things in common.

  1. They are not as well-known as more popular alternatives.

  2. Once you know some basic techniques, you can accomplish a great deal.

  3. Neither is a silver bullet for addressing overall needs, but they play a major role in a comprehensive program.

  4. Both are proven solutions to get the job done in a time-efficient manner.

  5. The more expertise you gain, the more value you see.

Let me explain each of these points.

1. They are not as well-known as more popular alternatives.

While almost everyone is familiar with dumbbells and barbells, kettlebells are just now gaining popularity among mainstream gyms.

At SAP, we have spent the past two years publicizing the Fiori user experience. This means we are shifting to a role-based paradigm from the transaction-based model that has characterized SAP for the past few decades.

SAP Screen Personas is one of several ways you can achieve the Fiori UX. SAP Screen Personas allows you to simplify both Dynpro screens and Web Dynpro applications. It even works with your custom transactions, including on SAP S/4HANA.

Even though SAP Screen Personas is not as well-known as Fiori, it is a key part of SAP’s UX portfolio.

2. Once you know some basic techniques, you can accomplish a great deal.

Kettlebells can be intimidating, especially if you see an expert user doing complex moves in which the weight swings around its eccentric axis (for example, the user "flips" the kettlebell over onto the wrist). But, there are some simple exercises that deliver a superior return on the time and effort invested. In fact, with a few basic moves, you can create a comprehensive full-body workout.

Seeing a standard SAP GUI screen compared to the simple, role-based, intuitive SAP Screen Personas flavor that replaces it can also be intimidating. Do you have a deep understanding of the user needs to remove all the extraneous fields while leaving just the essentials? Do you have the design skills to make the screen look great and not just sparse? Can you write a script that moves information between screens in an efficient manner and hides pop-up messages and other distractions?

Fortunately many excellent training materials are available to help you become an expert in SAP Screen Personas. Examples include the openSAP course, our knowledge base, the Productivity Power Play video series, the getting started page on SCN, and the SAP Press e-book.

Once you master the screen editor, theming, and a few basic scripting techniques, you can greatly improve the usability of your SAP GUI screens and custom transactions.

3. Neither is a silver bullet for addressing overall needs, but they play a major role in a comprehensive program.

While many fitness experts recommend incorporating kettlebells into your routine to build strength, explosive power, muscular endurance, and even flexibility, few would advocate only kettlebell exercises. For general fitness, your workout should include a mixture of strength, cardiovascular, and flexibility workouts. But kettlebells are a great addition to most fitness programs.

SAP Screen Personas is a key part of SAP’s user experience strategy. It is one of several tools that allows you to improve user productivity and overall usability. You can use SAP Screen Personas to build Fiori-inspired designs, simple screens that align with your corporate brand identity, or just streamlined business processes that delight your business users.

SAP Screen Personas is the perfect complement to the Fiori application templates. If there is not a Fiori app that meets your needs, or you have invested in building a custom transaction, you can user SAP Screen Personas to create a consistent user experience across all your SAP applications.

4. Both are proven solutions to get the job done in a time-efficient manner.

Due to their intensity, most kettlebell workouts are relatively short. You do a few sets of several exercises, and you are done. Your fitness routine is done for the day and you can move on to your other personal and professional commitments.

SAP Screen Personas is a proven way to improve user productivity by personalizing SAP GUI or Web Dynpro ABAP screens.

  • A packaging company saves over 1000 person-hours per month by simplifying a few key transactions (ME23N, VL31N, VL32N, and more).

  • An agricultural company reduced training time by over 50% by simplifying its contract management screens.

  • A high-tech company hid over 100 fields in a single transaction (CA01) to reduce the error rate significantly.

  • An aerospace company went live with 12 IT-related transactions in one month to 1,000 users.

  • A construction company has deployed 30 field service flavors on SAP Screen Personas to 25,000 of its business users.

  • There are hundreds of more examples…

5. The more expertise you gain, the more value you see.

Starting out with kettlebells, you might only do one or two simple movements. Some of these are easily replicated with dumbbells, so the value is not apparent. But, once you develop the foundational coordination, grip strength, and agility, you will be able to perform more advanced kettlebell techniques that span multiple muscle groups and simulate sport-specific movements. These ballistic movements are the reason that many athletes and their trainers value kettlebells so highly.

For people starting their UX journey with SAP Screen Personas, we always recommend they start with a simple transaction. This means one with a relatively small number of screens, tabs, and tables, and one without dynamic elements or dependencies between screens. With such a transaction, you can learn the basic simplification techniques, such as how to merge tabs and move information between screens or transactions. This is enough to streamline many business processes.

Once you are comfortable with the basic SAP Screen Personas moves, you can combine more screens together, trap errors, introduce UI5 controls, and work around some of the constraints of the underlying Dynpro transactions. We have seen some customers do amazing things to simplify their business processes with SAP Screen Personas.

Learn the basics through one of the training materials listed above. Or hire a skilled partner to guide you through the process. You can find experts by seeing who is speaking at SAPPHIRE NOW, TechEd, or ASUG Webcasts or Chapter Meetings.

Next steps: If you are not using either of these items today, you need to start.

There are many fit people that have never touched a kettlebell in their life. It is certainly possible to get strong using other equipment such as weights, resistance bands, or even your own bodyweight. For anyone looking to add some variety to their workout with a strong dose functional training, I recommend that you consider adding kettlebells to your routine.

Before getting started with kettlebells, or any exercise program, ask your doctor.

If you have been focused only on Fiori until now, you are probably seeing some great improvements in the way people interact with SAP. What about the areas where there is not yet Fiori coverage? You can bring great usability, including matching the Fiori look and feel, with SAP Screen Personas.

If you think your IT landscape is too old to have a great UX, you might not know that SAP Screen Personas runs on systems as old as NetWeaver 700 SP25 (as long as you have kernel 7.22). It might be time for you to explore SAP Screen Personas!

To get started with SAP Screen Personas, you can download it as part of your NetWeaver license.

For the SAP Screen Personas product team, peter.spielvogel.