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ThomasReiss
Product and Topic Expert
Product and Topic Expert

As well as executing our strategy to provide a seamless user experience for the Intelligent Suite, we are looking at how to help users work better, together: getting more done with better outcomes, individually and in teams. This update showcases how our major cloud products, such as SAP SuccessFactors, SAP Ariba, SAP S/4HANA Cloud Public Edition (to name a few) are improving their user experience, how they are embedding generative AI (GenAI), Joule and machine learning as well as providing powerful collaboration capabilities, with live data. Another highlight is SAP Mobile Start running on Apple Vision Pro! The details continue to matter, you’ll see a whole lot of improvements for SAP S/4HANA Cloud Public Edition 2402 and the underlying UI technology.

This last half year has been transformational, with AI allowing us to help users work better in completely new ways. In particular, generative AI (GenAI) is a huge enabler for a conversational user experience: we introduced Joule, your AI-powered copilot, as well as some GenAI use cases embedded in applications. These initial shipments and features are only just the beginning of what will be a marvelous journey over the next years towards far more intuitive interactions with business systems, enabling users to work far more productively and effectively – doing more, with better business outcomes.

In addition to the various Joule examples below, you can see examples of embedded AI in the sections on SAP SuccessFactors, SAP Ariba, and Industry Cloud: Retail.

While AI is stealing the headlines, we have continued to execute our user experience strategy to provide users of our products with an intuitive, seamless user experience, by:

  • improving the SAP Design System and its enabling UI technologies, which includes user-feedback-based fine-tuning of the Horizon visual theme;
  • making it easy to see what is important and take immediate action via web and mobile entry points;
  • improving the user experience for our cloud products, with yet more products adopting the Horizon theme and providing new or update applications with great usability, and
  • supporting collaboration with colleagues on live data in the system.

I’ve collected examples from our latest releases to show how we are doing this (unfortunately hyperlinks to sections are currently not supported in the Community; once they are I will add them):

  • Central entry points, Joule and Apple Vision Pro
  • SAP SuccessFactors
  • SAP Fieldglass
  • SAP Ariba (procurement)
  • SAP Business Network
  • SAP Business Technology Platform
  • SAP Analytics Cloud
  • SAP Customer Experience
  • Industry Cloud: Retail
  • SAP S/4HANA Cloud Public Edition 2402 and SAP Fiori launchpad
  • UI Design and Technology news - web and mobile

We’ve got so much good news to share… so this blog post has grown and grown! I’d love your feedback whether this format is still good for you, my readers, or whether you’d prefer a series of smaller posts covering the same content.

 

Central entry points, Joule and Apple Vision Pro

This section covers our web central entry points SAP Start and SAP Work Zone, along with central services such as SAP Task Center and Joule, as well as our native mobile entry point SAP Mobile Start, which now also runs on Apple Vision Pro.

The SAP Fiori launchpad is covered in the section “SAP S/4HANA Cloud Public Edition and SAP Fiori launchpad”.

SAP Start

The purpose of SAP Start is to bring together all truly relevant business information for each user in one central place, and also to provide the one place to go to start your SAP applications in the cloud, no matter which product you want to use. SAP Start:

  • Gives you quick access to all your applications via the simple yet powerful search field;
  • Proactively informs you about your to-dos from all products which are connected to the SAP Task Center;
  • Gives you key insights via insight cards from products connected to SAP Start,
  • Assists you with Joule, your copilot for working with SAP.

As a result: SAP Start will be the best place to start, to simplify your access to multiple SAP cloud products.

Figure 1: SAP Start, now with Joule as your copilot for working with SAP.Figure 1: SAP Start, now with Joule as your copilot for working with SAP.

Today, SAP Start has Search and Insights integrated with SAP S/4HANA Cloud Public Edition, and SAP SuccessFactors. Next up, we plan SAP Fieldglass integration, later in Q1/2024 (as always with forward looking statements, our plans are subject to change).

Joule

Using natural language to ask for something is… natural! In other words: a very powerful way to interact with systems. With Joule, we are using the power of GenAI to give you a copilot for your interactions with SAP. It is generally available already today with SAP Start as well as with SAP SuccessFactors, providing an initial set of capabilities, and is available for selected customers of SAP S/4HANA Cloud Public Edition 2402 via an Early Adopter Care program. For more details on Joule for SAP SuccessFactors and SAP S/4HANA Cloud Public Edition, look at the respective product sections below.

Wherever you use Joule, you can benefit from what we call the “informational pattern”, which allows you to ask how to do something, with Joule responding with an answer culled from the SAP Help Portal. Joule uses GenAI to summarize the information nicely for you and (very cool!), provides you with the three most relevant search results as links for you to dig deeper. This sounds almost too good to be true, but have a look for yourself in this 30 second video showing an example of someone asking what a spot award is (something folks in human resources will probably have heard of):

Video showing examples of Joule informational pattern available today in SAP SuccessFactors.Video showing examples of Joule informational pattern available today in SAP SuccessFactors.

With over 200 million help topics, the SAP Help Portal is a key source of knowledge for users, and we reckon you can save up to 10 minutes for an inquiry using Joule rather than searching through the portal yourself. Find out more in this blog post:

The informational pattern is one of three Joule patterns, the other two being the navigational pattern and the transactional pattern:

Informational Pattern: Joule provides concise summaries of help content to effectively address user inquiries expressed in natural language.

Navigational Pattern: Joule recommends relevant applications and facilitates seamless navigation to empower users in executing their business processes.

Transactional Pattern: Joule offers insightful information about business objects, eliminating the necessity of opening the corresponding application.

You can see some examples from SAP S/4HANA Cloud Public Edition (for early adopters) in Figure 2 below.

Figure 2: Examples of each of the three interaction patterns for Joule: informational, navigational and transactional, from SAP S/4HANA Cloud Public Edition (for early adopters).Figure 2: Examples of each of the three interaction patterns for Joule: informational, navigational and transactional, from SAP S/4HANA Cloud Public Edition (for early adopters).

Watch the videos in the SAP SuccessFactors section further below to see examples of navigational and transactional patterns available already today.

This presentation about Joule in SAP S/4HANA Cloud Public Edition contains more details on these patterns as well as information about our AI approach in general, and a high-level description of the Joule technology stack:

SAP Task Center

The SAP Task Center integrates twelve SAP products today, with more to come. These include our major products such as SAP S/4HANA Cloud, SAP S/4HANA, SAP SuccessFactors, SAP Fieldglass, SAP Ariba, SAP Concur, and SAP Cloud for Customer. You can find the up-to-date list in the SAP Help Portal:

You’ll see there that SAP Build Work Zone, advanced edition, as well as SAP SuccessFactors Work Zone, are now also available as a deeply integrated task provider. They now include more approval scenarios, along with support for comments / attachments from workspace-level tasks.

Figure 3: An example showing the SAP Task Center integrated with seven different SAP products, and it’s adoption of the Horizon theme. You can filter on those from one of the products by clicking on the name at the top. In this case you see the products SAP Ariba, SAP SuccessFactors, SAP Fieldglass, SAP Marketing Cloud, SAP S/4HANA, SAP S/4HANA Cloud, and SAP Build Process Automation are integrated, with details of the third task in the list shown on the right (an approval request for a purchase order from SAP S/4HANA).Figure 3: An example showing the SAP Task Center integrated with seven different SAP products, and it’s adoption of the Horizon theme. You can filter on those from one of the products by clicking on the name at the top. In this case you see the products SAP Ariba, SAP SuccessFactors, SAP Fieldglass, SAP Marketing Cloud, SAP S/4HANA, SAP S/4HANA Cloud, and SAP Build Process Automation are integrated, with details of the third task in the list shown on the right (an approval request for a purchase order from SAP S/4HANA).

SAP Build Work Zone

SAP Build Work Zone, standard edition

If users also need to access on-premise solutions or third-party solutions, and/or you want to give your users dedicated spaces and pages for accessing their applications, then SAP Build Work Zone, standard edition, is the next step up from SAP Start, providing these capabilities on top of those which come with SAP Start. These new features, which were previously in beta, were launched in the second half of last year:

  • Customers can define the navigation menu of spaces and pages for accessing remote pages, such as those provided via SAP S/4HANA content exposure, as well as pages defined locally within SAP Build Work Zone.
  • Customers can use the flexible page builder to define spaces and pages. This allows you to embed the To Dos section and the Insights section from SAP Start into a page of your choice.
  • Custom applications and UI cards can be integrated directly onto pages defined in SAP Build Work Zone, standard edition.

Find out more here, and have a look for yourself:

SAP Build Work Zone, advanced edition

Customers can now define wizards to guide users through specific processes step-by-step. We provide a flexible framework for defining the process steps and enabling content managers to create and configure UI card-based interactive experiences. Figure 4 shows what such a wizard can look like – as you can see, you can define wizards with more than one tab, for example for preparing a new hire’s first day at a company and then for what to do on their first day there.

Figure 4: An example showing the kind of wizards you can create with SAP Work Zone, advanced edition. The wizard has two tabs: “Before Your First Day”, which is shown, but also “Your First Day”.Figure 4: An example showing the kind of wizards you can create with SAP Work Zone, advanced edition. The wizard has two tabs: “Before Your First Day”, which is shown, but also “Your First Day”.

Here you can find out more:

SAP Mobile Start, including Apple Vision Pro support

SAP Mobile Start 1.9, released in September 2023, brought some great new features, such as support for Intelligent Situation Handling from SAP S/4HANA, insight cards and some exciting new iOS 17 features. Figure 5 shows how situations and insight cards from SAP Start are visualized.

Figure 5: Situations from SAP S/4HANA are now supported, shown on the left, as are insight cards from SAP Start, shown on the right. Both examples shown here originate from SAP S/4HANA Cloud Public Edition.Figure 5: Situations from SAP S/4HANA are now supported, shown on the left, as are insight cards from SAP Start, shown on the right. Both examples shown here originate from SAP S/4HANA Cloud Public Edition. 

The new 1.10 release, which came out on February 2, 2024, focuses on enabling SAP Mobile Start with Apple Vision Pro, and hence is an iOS-only update. It is optimized for the new Apple Vision Pro by advancing the navigation concept, navigation patterns, and visual effects. The iPad design has also benefited from these advances. In addition, there are also some updates for iPhone as well as for the iPad.

When you open SAP Mobile Start on the Apple Vision Pro, you can immediately access your most important business content on the Start screen - like your business workflows, situations, apps, and insight cards, as you can see in Figure 6. You always have your notifications in sight, in the upper right corner of the app. Using the navigation bar on the left, you can easily navigate to your Apps screen and the To-Dos screen – using your eyes, your hands or just your voice!

The app beautifully blends with your physical surroundings, even reacting to lighting and shadows, giving you an amazing new experience.  

Figure 6: An example of the Start screen of SAP Mobile Start on Apple Vision Pro.Figure 6: An example of the Start screen of SAP Mobile Start on Apple Vision Pro.

When you tap on any app, the app opens a new window, which visionOS lets you move and resize as you wish, as you can see in Figure 7.

Figure 7: SAP Mobile Start along with two open application windows, running on Apple Vision Pro.Figure 7: SAP Mobile Start along with two open application windows, running on Apple Vision Pro.

The iPad layout has benefited from our work for the Apple Vision Pro, with a new collapsible sidebar along with full-screen views for to-dos, news list, and cards.

For both iPad and iPhone, we also improved the Profile & Settings screen.

These blog post give you more details about these latest improvements in SAP Mobile Start user experience:

 

SAP SuccessFactors

I am happy to say that SAP SuccessFactors has now completed the adoption of the Horizon visual theme – and it certainly looks good! But of course the “look”, though important, is not everything – and SAP SuccessFactors has introduced a whole load of new innovations directly aimed at making a user’s life easier.

I’m also happy to say that SAP SuccessFactors is at the forefront of utilizing latest technologies such as generative AI (GenAI), our Joule copilot, as well as newest collaboration technologies with Microsoft Teams.

I have picked these highlights today; you’ll find links to further innovations at the end of the section:

  • The re-imagined recruiter experience:
    • Scheduling made easier and looking good with Horizon.
    • GenAI helping to write better job descriptions.
    • GenAI and Microsoft Teams integration helping to recommend relevant interview questions, collaboratively in the team.
  • Joule giving you a conversational user experience to perform selected activities quicker and more conveniently than before.
  • More self-service tasks integrated in Microsoft Teams.
  • Learning experience – as an example of the modern SAP SuccessFactors mobile app with the Horizon visual theme.

Note that when we use GenAI, we use models which are fed with your company’s data to ensure that the answers fit with your context without hallucinations (this is called “grounding the models” in AI-parlance).

Recruiting – with GenAI and Horizon

Let’s first look at the new recruiter experience, in Figure 8.

Figure 8: Three screens for interview scheduling from the re-imagined recruiter experience, showcasing the Horizon visual theme. Top left you see the overview of job requisitions; in the middle, the UI for scheduling an interview including other interviewers; on the right, the interview assessment of the interviewed candidates.Figure 8: Three screens for interview scheduling from the re-imagined recruiter experience, showcasing the Horizon visual theme. Top left you see the overview of job requisitions; in the middle, the UI for scheduling an interview including other interviewers; on the right, the interview assessment of the interviewed candidates.

Before you get to schedule interviews, you need to post the vacancies, and for that you need compelling job descriptions. Even for experienced recruiters, it can take time to go from an initial draft description to a polished and compelling final version. This is where GenAI can help, saving time and effort. Figure 9 shows how SAP SuccessFactors Recruiting and SAP Business AI does this now. Based on your initial draft ideas for a job description, SAP SuccessFactors can generate a more comprehensive one for you, at the press of a button. Users can accept or reject each section, and once accepted, can continue to edit as needed.

Figure 9: SuccessFactors generated the more comprehensive job description shown on the right, based on the user’s initially proposed headings and text on the left. The user can accept or reject each section.Figure 9: SuccessFactors generated the more comprehensive job description shown on the right, based on the user’s initially proposed headings and text on the left. The user can accept or reject each section.

Once you have the job posted, some applicants lined up and you’ve scheduled your interviews, you will need some good interview questions. SAP SuccessFactors can also help here, leveraging GenAI to help you create relevant interview questions. But it doesn’t stop there: hiring is typically a collaborative process, with an HR (Human Resources) employee supporting the hiring manager, so SAP SuccessFactors provides integration via Microsoft Teams. The hiring manager can be reminded about the upcoming interview, directly trigger the creation of good interview questions within the Microsoft Teams chat, or get additional information, and share this with other interviewers. You can see what this looks like in figures 10 and 11 below.

Figure 10: This shows a Microsoft Teams chat created by SAP SuccessFactors to remind the interviewer about the upcoming interview and their need to prepare for it. It contains two embedded interactive cards, connected directly to SAP SuccessFactors: the top one with in-place buttons to generate interview questions using GenAI and to view the applicant profile; the bottom one giving the user the option to view the skills and competencies that are used to evaluate the applicant.Figure 10: This shows a Microsoft Teams chat created by SAP SuccessFactors to remind the interviewer about the upcoming interview and their need to prepare for it. It contains two embedded interactive cards, connected directly to SAP SuccessFactors: the top one with in-place buttons to generate interview questions using GenAI and to view the applicant profile; the bottom one giving the user the option to view the skills and competencies that are used to evaluate the applicant.

Figure 11: This shows the suggested questions proposed by SuccessFactors, using GenAI, after the interviewer pressed the “Generate Interview Questions” button shown in the previous figure.Figure 11: This shows the suggested questions proposed by SuccessFactors, using GenAI, after the interviewer pressed the “Generate Interview Questions” button shown in the previous figure.

Joule in SAP SuccessFactors

Joule is your copilot for working with SAP, using natural language to get things done easily and quickly. SAP SuccessFactors is one of the first products to use it, providing an initial set of tasks users may complete, such as viewing job data, displaying or updating your name, and requesting feedback, as you can see in Figure 12.

Figure 12: Joule for SAP SuccessFactors, available by clicking on the Joule icon in the shell header bar.Figure 12: Joule for SAP SuccessFactors, available by clicking on the Joule icon in the shell header bar.

In addition to these capabilities, Joule can also help you review pending requests for time off, promoting an employee, or changing your location.

As mentioned in the general section on Joule above, if Joule cannot find a concrete action that can be done directly in SAP SuccessFactors, it can search through the SAP Help Portal and use GenAI to provide a summary for the user. Also, Joule displays links to the top three search results, which bring users directly to the topic in the help portal.

Conversational AI is best looked at in action rather than just looking at a screenshot, because of the whole interaction flow, with users typing in requests and Joule responding.

These videos give some examples of interacting with Joule in SAP SuccessFactors:

To dig deeper, here is the documentation from the SAP Help Portal:

Talent Intelligence Hub

I would also like to highlight the talent intelligence hub, which became generally available with the 2H 2023 release. This release brings an extensive integration of the skills library and growth portfolio data within talent management. Within the growth portfolio, we provide a team portfolio view that allows managers to view skills and attributes across their direct reports to understand proficiency gaps versus expectations for job roles, as you can see in Figure 13.

Figure 13: The team portfolio view in the SAP Success Factors talent intelligence hub.Figure 13: The team portfolio view in the SAP Success Factors talent intelligence hub.

Learning – With AI Embedded

The new integrated learning experience is another example for where we have looked at our users’ needs and designed it by placing the learner at the center. With a guided experience and AI-driven recommendations, organizations can prioritize training to keep employees compliant while encouraging continuous learning for employee skills growth. There is so much I could show here, but this time I will only highlight the mobile app. Watch this video for an overview of some of the key capabilities we have delivered, such as the ability to bookmark a course or receive personalized recommendations from your colleagues:

Video 02 - SuccessFactors thumb-for-learning.jpeg

You can read all about this new learning experience in this blog post:

More Information About SAP SuccessFactors Latest Innovations

For a fun one-minute video showing many of the above SAP SuccessFactors UX and AI innovations in action, watch this:

And watch this for some concrete examples of SAP Business AI helping transform HR:

To dig deeper, have a look at these:

 

SAP Fieldglass

SAP Fieldglass supports companies in managing their contingent workforce, i.e. staff hired from external suppliers for specific projects. A definite highlight is the new Statement of Work Centric View, which is now available to selected early adopters and is planned to become generally available in Q2 this year. As you can see in Figure 14, it gives users a comprehensive overview of all their statements of work at a glance.

It is designed to empower program and operation managers by giving them critical insights into the performance and health of their projects, enabling proactive management of project timelines and budgets.

Figure 14: The Statement of Work Centric View provided by SAP Fieldglass to selected early adopters.Figure 14: The Statement of Work Centric View provided by SAP Fieldglass to selected early adopters.

The intuitive dashboard places key actions just 1 or 2 clicks away, streamlining the process of accessing information and facilitating faster decision-making. With this enhanced visibility, managers can swiftly identify areas requiring attention and implement corrective measures, significantly reducing cycle times and driving project efficiency.

 

SAP Ariba (Procurement)

Category Management – Now With GenAI-Enhanced Content Recommendations

Introduced in August last year, this new solution helps digitalize and streamline the development, execution, and monitoring of category strategies. The latest 2402 release comes with GenAI-based dynamic content recommendations, described further below.

As you can see in Figure 15, this new application gives purchasing category managers a bird’s eye view of the procurement strategy for a selected purchasing category – and looks great thanks to the Horizon visual theme! It is a nice example of how we are transforming user experience at SAP, focusing on the user and their needs: the navigation shows users the high-level content structure and gives quick access to data, and the attractive format and layout inspires confidence and encourages adoption. At the same time, it provides flexible and customizable workflow, allowing it to fit businesses of all sizes across industries.

Figure 15: SAP Ariba Category Management, showing the bird’s eye view of a purchasing category’s procurement strategy, with the Horizon visual theme.Figure 15: SAP Ariba Category Management, showing the bird’s eye view of a purchasing category’s procurement strategy, with the Horizon visual theme.

It is also easy for category managers to monitor their strategy execution, with Strategy Execution Monitoring in SAP Ariba Category Management. You can see in Figure 16 how you can track goals and the progress of initiatives, and how it integrates market alerts from external sources.

Figure 16: Strategy Execution Monitoring in SAP Ariba Category Management.Figure 16: Strategy Execution Monitoring in SAP Ariba Category Management.

Accelerating Enterprise Category Strategy Development with GenAI

With the 2402 release, we bring you Dynamic Content Recommendations. By using GenAI, this is a real game-changer within our Category Management Application. Empowering category managers, this Large Language Model-integrated feature fills the Market Dynamics, Category Segmentation, and Cost Structures tools with context-aware insights. Say goodbye to laborious research as these tools can now be kick-started with preloaded content.

A new button, “Generate with AI” is now available within the tools Category Segmentation, Market Dynamics, and Cost Structure. Category managers can click the Generate with AI button to generate data for the segmentation scores, Porters Five Forces scores or cost structure component percentages within the respective tools. Furthermore, the content within Notes, Summary and Additional Resources are prefilled based on content retrieved via artificial intelligence.

Figure 17: AI-generated Porters Five Forces scores and notes for each score in SAP Ariba Category Management.Figure 17: AI-generated Porters Five Forces scores and notes for each score in SAP Ariba Category Management.

Watch this video to see it in action, and read more about SAP Ariba Category Management:

Further SAP Ariba innovations

One further innovation I would like to call out with the 2402 release is the new supplier profile summary, with an enhanced user experience, offering a new Operational Score panel with data from integrated S/4 HANA operational KPIs, providing a comprehensive view of your suppliers. Have a look, and learn more about the 2311 and 2402 releases in these blog posts:

 

SAP Business Network

SAP Business Network has adopted the Horizon visual theme in many areas, as well as providing numerous improvements in user experience. Below I have highlighted one for procurement, from the SAP Business Network Catalog, and also picked a few further highlights to mention.

SAP Business Network for Procurement

SAP Business Network Catalog

The new SAP Business Network Catalog functionality allows suppliers to easily maintain a master catalog of all their products. All the buyers on SAP Business Network can easily search and view these products and send a request for information, which results in possible new business for buyers and suppliers. Suppliers will have all the tools needed to upload, publish, and maintain their catalogs, inclusive of approvals and editing flows. Suppliers will now be able to find new buyers for their products and hence open up new business opportunities through the network.

Figure 18: SAP Business Network Catalog.Figure 18: SAP Business Network Catalog.

Further Innovations for SAP Business Network

Of the many new innovations which came with the 2311 release, I’d like to highlight these ones briefly:

  • For procurement: Intelligent invoice conversion expedites invoice automation for suppliers on SAP Business Network, using invoice conversion templates and machine learning, and provides an intuitive document user interface for supplier so define the powerful rules for extracting complex invoice data.
  • For supply chain: Summary invoices allow suppliers to create a single summary invoice that references multiple purchase orders and ship notices. With an intuitive UI, they can group orders based on their chosen criteria, as well as selecting individual orders manually.
  • For logistics: Managing disputes is now easier and more efficient for users.

Find out more about these and further innovations:

 

SAP Business Technology Platform

First impressions are important, and for our customers using the SAP Business Technology Platform (SAP BTP), the SAP Discovery Center is the first place to go for technical users to turn their company’s data into business value with SAP BTP. Now, with the Horizon visual theme, as well as continuous improvements in usability, we give users a great first experience, as you can see in Figure 19. It doesn’t stop there though, also SAP HANA Cloud Central has adopted Horizon, as you can see below, as have the SAP BTP Cockpit and SAP Build Process Automation (not shown).

Figure 19 – The SAP Discovery Center for SAP Business Technology Platform with the Horizon theme.Figure 19 – The SAP Discovery Center for SAP Business Technology Platform with the Horizon theme.

Figure 20 – SAP HANA Cloud Central with the Horizon theme – showing the UI for creating an instance.Figure 20 – SAP HANA Cloud Central with the Horizon theme – showing the UI for creating an instance.

Figure 21 – SAP HANA Cloud Central with the Horizon theme – showing the UI for viewing an instance.Figure 21 – SAP HANA Cloud Central with the Horizon theme – showing the UI for viewing an instance. 

 

SAP Analytics Cloud

SAP Analytics Cloud now supports Horizon for embedded scenarios. Figure 22 gives an example of an embedded story in view time.

Figure 22: An SAP Analytics Cloud view embedded in another application (in this case a test application), both with the Horizon visual theme.Figure 22: An SAP Analytics Cloud view embedded in another application (in this case a test application), both with the Horizon visual theme.

To improve user assistance by providing real-time, continuous learning opportunities for the users, SAP Analytics Cloud introduced SAP Companion. Released for selected customers only, it is planned to become generally available soon.

 

SAP Customer Experience

SAP Service Cloud

The new Contract Account Central provides agents with a graphical representation of the key financial data and allows them to get quick access to all they need to know at first glance, such as recent cases, contracts, payments and invoices, as you can see in Figure 23. And all this with the fresh new look of the Horizon visual theme.

Figure 23: SAP Service Cloud, showing Contract Account Central, giving users a holistic overview of the contract account.Figure 23: SAP Service Cloud, showing Contract Account Central, giving users a holistic overview of the contract account.

SAP Commerce Cloud

A new highlight of SAP Commerce Cloud is the “private link” feature, which brings better performance and better security to the overall solution. A customer’s system administrator is able to set up services that expose endpoints for consumption in a specific system and consume endpoints from a different system easily, as you can see in Figure 24. The feature provides assured regulatory compliance and increased security by preventing sensitive data from traversing the public internet.

Private links enable customers to call CCv2 endpoints from their own Microsoft Azure instance and vice versa (CCv2 calling the instance). This is faster than VPN, less complex to set up, and never exposed to the internet since the communication stays inside Microsoft Azure.

Figure 24: SAP Commerce Cloud enables administrators to set up private links, using these UIs with the Horizon visual theme. When using it for the first time, there are no links set up yet, as shown on the left; once links have been defined, they are visualized in the easy to read and easy to consume list shown on the right.Figure 24: SAP Commerce Cloud enables administrators to set up private links, using these UIs with the Horizon visual theme. When using it for the first time, there are no links set up yet, as shown on the left; once links have been defined, they are visualized in the easy to read and easy to consume list shown on the right.

 

Industry Cloud: Retail

SAP Predictive Replenishment

The Manage Order Proposal application leverages AI to efficiently and accurately manage inventory for an optimized multi-level supply chain. It takes into account business targets, constraints and cost to auto-determine order quantities with lowest expected costs. Furthermore, it uses machine learning forecasts and provides user-centric alert driven applications to efficiently manage high data volumes.

Figure 25: The overview UI for managing order proposals. The cards shown in the “Order Proposal Overview” section allow users to filter the list further.Figure 25: The overview UI for managing order proposals. The cards shown in the “Order Proposal Overview” section allow users to filter the list further.

 

SAP S/4HANA Cloud Public Edition and SAP Fiori Launchpad

The 2402 release of SAP S/4HANA Cloud Public Edition brings you numerous user experience innovations, which I will group into these areas:

  • My Home.
  • SAP Fiori launchpad.
  • Collaboration: new capabilities, built-in and with Microsoft Teams and Microsoft Loop.
  • AI and Joule.
  • Improvements in details.

My Home

Our users love using the new My Home start page, but they also identified some smaller areas where usability could be improved. We’ve listened and made a few improvements in the details – and as you know, the details matter for a great user experience!

  • We’ve improved the user experience for managing sections, pages and insight cards (see Figure 26).
  • You can trigger a refresh of all the tiles or cards in an Insights section directly from the section’s menu (see Figure 26).
  • Creating groups of favorite apps is easier now, and also creation via drag and drop has the same experience now as via the other options.

Figure 26: My Home now offers the menu for managing sections, pages, and insight cards directly next to the respective title, and now offers a refresh option for insight sections.Figure 26: My Home now offers the menu for managing sections, pages, and insight cards directly next to the respective title, and now offers a refresh option for insight sections.

To see these and a few more improvements in action, watch this:

Collaboration: In addition to these improvements in details, we’ve also introduced a new collaboration feature: you can directly start a Microsoft Teams chat or call with the person who created a task shown in the To-Dos section:

Figure 27: Chat, start a video call or a voice-only call with the creator of a task, via Microsoft Teams.Figure 27: Chat, start a video call or a voice-only call with the creator of a task, via Microsoft Teams.

Sharing your layout: Our users have also asked whether they can share their My Home personalization with colleagues, in other words the favorites, the groups, the choice of Insight tiles and cards and the overall layout: with SAP S/4HANA Cloud Public Edition 2402, this is now possible, via exporting to and importing from a local file.

SAP Fiori Launchpad

Important! As an SAP S/4HANA Cloud Public Edition customer, you will need to move from the Classic Home page, with its many groups of tiles, to Spaces and Pages by June 2024! Have a look at this SAP Note for more information, or also look at these:

SAP Fiori Launchpad: Merging Spaces, Pages and Sections

Since the 2302 release, customers can use the SAP-defined spaces and pages out-of-the-box, giving users access to their main applications without any set-up effort. 

Now, customers can go a step further and choose to merge spaces, pages and even sections: you can merge those from SAP as well as your own custom ones. Why would you want to do that? Basically, if a user has a few spaces which don’t contain many pages, or pages which don’t have many sections, you can optimize their navigation by merging them. Also, in some cases users can end up with pages or sections with the same name, so it would make sense for users to have these merged into just one page or section.

The layout is automatically adjusted, so this can be done with low effort. Figure 28 shows an example, where two spaces (“Billing” and “Customer Returns”), each with only one page, have been merged into one space (“Billing”), and where the two pages have been merged into one page. The two sections “Customer Returns” and “Flexible Analysis” from the “Customer Returns” page are automatically added behind the section “Billing Documents and Billing Document Requests” from the ”Billing” page.

Figure 28: Merging spaces and pages.Figure 28: Merging spaces and pages.

Here is a link to the documentation for this:

Calendar Week Handling in User Settings

Users can now choose how they want dates to be displayed in calendars, for example when choosing a date via value-help. In addition to using the default format from your system, you can now select between ISO_8601 format, Middle Eastern and Western Traditional, as you can see in Figure 29.

Figure 29: Calendar week handling via the SAP Fiori launchpad user settings.Figure 29: Calendar week handling via the SAP Fiori launchpad user settings.

User ID Displayed in User Settings

I’m glad to say that we now support one of our main customer requests: users can see their technical user ID in the SAP Fiori launchpad settings section, on the tab User Account. This helps in cases where support is needed, since the technical ID is logged rather than the user’s name.

Collaboration: New Capabilities, Built-in and with Microsoft Teams and Microsoft Loop

To make it easier for users to collaborate with colleagues, we are introducing further capabilities with SAP S/4HANA Cloud Public Edition 2402.

Collaborative Draft

Some selected applications support collaborative draft handling of business objects. This means that more than one user can edit a business object, such as a payment advice, at the same time, and see changes made by others before the object is finally saved.  

Within the object page, the object header shows the avatars of those who are editing; you also get the avatar shown next to fields which they are editing. Also, we have extended the grid table to indicate which entries are currently in a draft state, as well as showing those currently being edited by someone else (see Figure 30); this is also available in the responsive tables.

You can invite other users to join you in working on an object, as you can also see in Figure 30.

Figure 30: Collaborative draft. On the top left you see how you can invite colleagues to edit the draft with you. The image on the right shows how you can see who else is editing the object, in this case “Payment Advice”, and which field they are currently editing. On the bottom left you can see the new indicators in grid tables.Figure 30: Collaborative draft. On the top left you see how you can invite colleagues to edit the draft with you. The image on the right shows how you can see who else is editing the object, in this case “Payment Advice”, and which field they are currently editing. On the bottom left you can see the new indicators in grid tables.

Collaborative draft utilizes the latest SAP Fiori elements for OData V4 technology.

SAP Collaboration Manager enhancements

SAP Collaboration Manager allows you to chat directly with colleagues, right from where you are in the application. Whenever someone chats with you, you’ll get a notification in the SAP Fiori launchpad.

We’ve added a feature which allows you to mark your favorite chats. You can also use this as a way to take notes on specific objects or applications if you don’t invite anyone else to the chat. You can easily see all your favorites thanks to the new “Favorites” tab, which also shows how many you have.  

Another useful feature is the “mark as unread”. Both of these features are shown in Figure 31, on the left.

You can now add insight cards to a chat directly, as shown in Figure 31 on the right. This is in addition to the existing capability of adding a screenshot from the clipboard or uploading an image file. 

Figure 31: SAP Collaboration Manager’s new features: users can mark their favorites and set chats to unread (shown on the left); they can also now add insight cards, shown on the right.Figure 31: SAP Collaboration Manager’s new features: users can mark their favorites and set chats to unread (shown on the left); they can also now add insight cards, shown on the right.

Collaborate Based On Contact Cards

Wherever a user name or e-mail address on the UI provides a contact card with details when a user hovers over it, users can now directly trigger collaboration via Microsoft Teams, with three options: chat, video call or voice call. Figure 27 above in the section on My Home shows an example. To see it in action, have a look at this:

Share as Card with Microsoft Teams Collaborative Stage View

You can already share a link to an application in a Microsoft Teams chat, but now you can go a step further and share the application as a card in the chat. When the recipient opens the card by clicking on the “open” button, the shared application is opened within Microsoft Teams as a new chat window, which Microsoft calls the collaborative stage view. Users can work with the application and chat with colleagues in the same chat window. Figures 32, 33 and 34 show some of these steps, but to get the best impression, watch this:

Figure 32: Share as Card – showing how the user Jim selects this for his sales order.Figure 32: Share as Card – showing how the user Jim selects this for his sales order.

Figure 33: Share as Card – this is what it looks like for the recipient, Alice, after Jim shared the card and later added in the chat “Hey Alice, can you please remove the delivery block? It’s urgent! Thanks.”Figure 33: Share as Card – this is what it looks like for the recipient, Alice, after Jim shared the card and later added in the chat “Hey Alice, can you please remove the delivery block? It’s urgent! Thanks.”

Figure 34: Share as Card – after Alice clicked on “Open” in the card, she sees the application in the Microsoft Teams collaborative stage view, next to the chat. In this example, she has already interacted with the app in-place and removed the delivery block, and is about to send off her reply in the chat to Jim.Figure 34: Share as Card – after Alice clicked on “Open” in the card, she sees the application in the Microsoft Teams collaborative stage view, next to the chat. In this example, she has already interacted with the app in-place and removed the delivery block, and is about to send off her reply in the chat to Jim.

Share as Card with Authenticated Cards (Microsoft Loop Component)

Available with the 2402 release to customers who participate in the Early Adopter Care program SAP S/4HANA Cloud - MS Teams Integration (you can register using via the link).

We are taking collaboration one step further by providing interactive cards which can be shared with colleagues via Microsoft Teams chat, as well as by including them in an e-mail for example. Technically, these cards use an adaptive card-based Microsoft Loop component. Because the cards show live data from the system directly within the card, and allow users to interact directly, the user is fully authenticated before displaying the card, to ensure that they are authorized to see and interact with the data.

Figure 35: Share as Card with authenticated cards (Microsoft Loop component): the card is embedded in the Microsoft Teams chat, showing live information from SAP S/4HANA Cloud Public Edition, and providing in this example two buttons for interacting with the system.Figure 35: Share as Card with authenticated cards (Microsoft Loop component): the card is embedded in the Microsoft Teams chat, showing live information from SAP S/4HANA Cloud Public Edition, and providing in this example two buttons for interacting with the system. 

Again, this kind of collaboration is best witnessed in a demo, here is a preview:

Once we have incorporated feedback from the Early Adopter Care program we plan to make this generally available.

AI and Joule

AI-Assisted Object Creation Accelerates Data Entry

With the 2402 release, we provide AI-assisted auto-suggestions for completing incomplete sales orders after a successful pilot phase. We are now piloting it for creation of returns orders, via the Early Adopter Care program. This solution uses machine learning to analyze a customer’s historical data, for example from the last six months, and learns the typically occurring relationships between the values entered in the main input fields and the values entered into other related fields. As a result, when a user enters a value in one of the main input fields, the system can make proposals for values to use for the related fields, as you can see in Figure 36. The machine learning uses the Data Attribute Recommendation Service on SAP Business Technology Platform, which is hooked up to SAP S/4HANA Cloud Public Edition.

 Our design approach to AI is to always let the user be in control. In this case, we highlight those fields which have proposed values in blue. Users can click on the field to see further recommendations, as well as the history of values they have entered in the past. They are in charge and can confirm the main recommendation or select or enter the value they want. The user can also proceed to create the business object and accept all of them with one click in a pop-up.

Figure 36: AI-assisted object creation for a sales order.Figure 36: AI-assisted object creation for a sales order.

Joule in SAP S/4HANA Cloud Public Edition                                                      

As explained above in the section Entry Points, Joule and Apple Vision Pro, Joule is your copilot for working with SAP, leveraging generative AI (GenAI).

 We are starting a phased roll-out with SAP S/4HANA Cloud Public Edition 2402 for selected customers via this Early Adopter Care campaign. Do sign up if you are interested, we plan to contact registered customers and partners in early March. 

The initial scope covers:

  • Navigational pattern for apps in Finance, Procurement, Professional Services and Sales.
  • Transactional pattern, role-based for three personas: operational purchaser, cost center owner and shipping specialist.
  • Informational pattern providing quick and seamless access to user enablement content summarized in a crisp answer.

This presentation explains these three types of patterns as well as providing an overview of our AI approach in general, and a high-level description of the Joule technology stack:

Video: examples of the three navigational patterns for Joule in SAP S/4HANA Cloud Public Edition.Video: examples of the three navigational patterns for Joule in SAP S/4HANA Cloud Public Edition.

SAPUI5 Adaptation Projects enabled for SAP S/4HANA Cloud Public Edition

Customers and partners can now use SAP Business Application Studio to develop variants of standard SAP Fiori apps from SAP S/4HANA Cloud Public Edition, as a modification-free adaptation of existing apps. The resulting variant is treated as a new application, with a new application ID and hence a new tile, but it reuses the standard app and adds custom changes. This means that developers can focus on developing the value add, without having to copy or modify the code from the standard app. This also has the advantage that the app variant benefits from future enhancements to the standard application. Watch this video to get an overview, and read more in the documentation:

Improvements in Details

Copy and Paste in SAPUI5 Tables

Users can easily select areas in SAPUI5-based tables now and copy the contents from the clipboard and then paste into other applications, such as an e-mail or a spreadsheet. The copy action can be triggered by a new button added to the table, as demonstrated in Figure 37, or via the keyboard.

Figure 37: Copy and Paste from SAPUI5 tables.Figure 37: Copy and Paste from SAPUI5 tables.

Sorting in Tables by Name, Not Just by ID

In tables, we often show the ID and the name of an entity in one column, as “ID (Name)”, rather than in two separate columns. With this release, the table sorting feature offers you the option to sort by name and not just by ID. Technically, this is a feature of the Smart Table in SAPUI5.

Figure 38: Table columns can now be sorted by name in addition to ID. In this example, the Company Code column contains values with ID “0001” and name “SAP DEMO Company”; you can now sort by either of these.Figure 38: Table columns can now be sorted by name in addition to ID. In this example, the Company Code column contains values with ID “0001” and name “SAP DEMO Company”; you can now sort by either of these.

Enhanced Type Ahead for (Multi) Combo Boxes

When entering data in the system, users want to do this as quickly as possible. Being able to very quickly select an entry from a drop-down combo box or multi-combo box helps this a lot, and we have now made this easier by selecting all entries which have a match anywhere with what you have typed – and not just matching the first letters. Figure 39 shows two examples for the field Credit Check Rule: the entry is selected which matches the input somewhere – and the part which matches is highlighted in bold text.

Figure 39: Enhanced type ahead functionality for combo boxes and multi-combo boxes.Figure 39: Enhanced type ahead functionality for combo boxes and multi-combo boxes.

Save as Tile Supports Dynamic Date Ranges

You can now create dynamic tiles for your selected SAP Fiori launchpad pages which include dynamic date ranges in the selection. Figure 40 shows an example where the date range “This Year (01.01.2023 – 31.12.2023)” has been used to filter the list. From there, the user has called up the “Save as Tile” feature, resulting in a tile which always shows the values for “This Year”.

Figure 40: Save as Tile supports dynamic date ranges.Figure 40: Save as Tile supports dynamic date ranges.

Select All in Tables

Users can now select all the visible entries in a list report, using the select all checkbox in the table header. Since users might think that all entries in the database have been selected, when in fact only the entries which have been loaded to the UI are selected, a warning pop-up is shown – as you can see in Figure 41.

Figure 41: Select all enabled by default for list reports.Figure 41: Select all enabled by default for list reports.

Further Improvements

I would also like to mention these improvements:

  • Tree tables in list reports and object pages which are built using SAPUI5 with OData V4 now support edit operations.
  • Users can now create My Home Insight Cards from applications built with SAP Fiori elements for OData V4, providing a consolidated view of the application’s content.
  • Creation rows in tables indicate to users immediately if mandatory values are missing.
  • Creation rows in tables allow developers to disable fields which should not be open for entering data due to missing entries in other fields.

 

UI Design and Technology News – Web and Mobile

Design Improvements to the Horizon Visual Theme for SAP Fiori

The improvements to the Horizon visual theme which I announced back in September are now available, in UI technologies as well as applications such as SAP S/4HANA Cloud Public Edition 2402. In the interest of space, I haven’t included explanatory images here; you can get an overview in my blog post:

Design Guidelines for SAP Fiori Updated: GenAI and SAP Web Components

We have revamped the design guidelines for SAP Fiori for web, with a first set of guidelines in the new subsection for designing for Generative AI in the Designing Intelligent Systems section. It covers:

We are releasing this early version of our generative AI design guidelines to share our discoveries early on with our broader SAP and UX community. The design guidelines in this section will evolve iteratively based on research, input from the community, and feedback from stakeholders.

Coming soon:

  • Designing Safety into Generative AI
  • Designing Sustainable Generative AI Experiences
  • Designing Effective AI Prompts

In 2H2023 we also provided a new beta section UI Elements – SAP Web Components, where you can interact directly with each web component, since they have been embedded into the respective guideline page.

Design Research: Gathering User Feedback

We continue to invest in gathering more feedback from our users. Most of our major products now have built-in surveys to gather direct feedback from a user on how they rate the usability and satisfaction with the product.

Beyond that, in order to get more qualitative feedback, we introduced the SAP User Research Panel in October, where any user can sign up to help optimize SAP’s product user experience. Find out more and sign-up here:

SAPUI5 and SAP Fiori Elements

Most of the UI innovations mentioned above in the section on SAP S/4HANA Cloud Public Edition are provided by the underlying UI framework SAPUI5 and SAP Fiori elements.

Some of these are exclusively available with the OData V4 version, namely:

  • Collaborative draft (mentioned above).
  • Editable tree table, where data can be edited directly, and also the structure of the table can be edited via drag and drop.

For the sake of completeness: these features are now supported for OData V4, which were already available for OData V2:

  • List Report / Object Page: Support for the history of recently entered values
  • List Report: Support for Copy & Paste in the Filter Bar
  • Value Help: provide type ahead support in Define Conditions
  • Object Page: Runtime Adaptation: Allow removal of sections and subsections

This blog post summarizes the major new features of SAP Fiori elements:

Mobile Design and SDKs: Watches, Cards and Many New Components

Following our release of the respective design guidelines mid-2023 for smart watches, the technology became available in November with the introduction of the SDKs for SAP Fiori for Android 7.0 and SAP Fiori for iOS 9.2, along with the first release of SAP Fiori for Wear OS and SAP Fiori for watchOS.

Figure 42: SAP Fiori for Wear OSFigure 42: SAP Fiori for Wear OS

Figure 43: SAP Fiori for watchOS.Figure 43: SAP Fiori for watchOS.

End of 2023, we introduced the 7.1 and 10.0 releases of the SDKs for Android and iOS respectively, which featured numerous new components.

Also, we have enhanced the mobile design system by introducing the mobile card system for SAP Fiori for Android and for SAP Fiori for iOS. This means that designers and developers building cards now have guidance on how to do that for SAP Fiori on mobile devices.

The new card system for native applications revolutionizes the way cards are used, providing a convenient way to display content from different sources. It consists of a toolkit of nested components that allow you to create a variety of cards that meet SAP product requirements.  Whether you need list items, KPIs, or a data table, each card’s flexible header, body, and footer seamlessly transform a single container into various card types.

Figure 44: Variety of cards in the mobile card system, all based on one card container.Figure 44: Variety of cards in the mobile card system, all based on one card container.

Find out more in these blog posts:

Final Words

As you can see, we have great momentum in bringing forward SAP’s user experience. I hope you as a reader had enough momentum to get to the end of this very long post! I’d love to hear from you about whether you like this format, of putting everything into one long post, or whether you’d prefer this split up into a series of smaller posts.

 Do keep posting your experiences and recommendations yourself in the SAP Community, with the SAP Fiori and/or the User Experience tag! In case you are wondering how to get a list of the most recent blog posts on SAP Fiori and User Experience in our new SAP Community, use these links:

For general information on design and SAP Fiori, check out:

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