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sap fiori prerequisitesIt’s not accurate to say that SAP Fiori is new (it was officially launched in 2013), but it is the newest User Interface (UI) or, as SAP refers to it, a User Experience (UX) for SAP software and applications. Fiori works with the SAP HANA platform. To get it to work, though, you must meet a number of SAP Fiori prerequisites.

As a UX, SAP Fiori finds itself in a wide variety of use cases. These include business functions like work approvals. Fiori may be part of a financial application, a calculation app or a self-service app. In just about any scenario where an end user needs to interact with a program on the SAP HANA platform, Fiori can be put to use.

How Does SAP Fiori Work?

The simple answer is that the user accesses the application functionality through an HTML browser (either mobile or desktop), with Fiori functioning in the middle. The reality, as is the case with many SAP products, is a little more involved. Fiori works by means of a multi-tiered architecture. This figure shows a simplified version of this stack.

The user connects through the browser to SAP Web Dispatcher, which acts as a reverse proxy for the lower layers of the stack. It handles the browser request. It can accept or reject any request. The browser submits the user’s request, e.g. for data from SAP Business Suite running on SAP HANA. A firewall intercepts the request, protecting the underlying layers from unauthorized access.

From there, the Fiori request goes to an SAP NetWeaver front-end server, which serves as a Gateway. The server runs the SAP Advanced Business Application Programming (ABAP) programming language and contains elements built with SAPUI5, the SAP development tool kit for html 5. UI5 comprises a predefined JavaScript library, which can be used to design new interfaces.

Finally, after passing through the NetWeaver front-end server, the Fiori request hits the actual SAP business application. The business application pulls whatever data is required by Fiori and sends it back up through the stack the end user.

SAP Fiori Concepts and Design Principles

SAP created Fiori using several core concepts and design principles. When developers use UI5 to create Fiori apps in HTML, they apply these concepts. The goal is to keep SAP Fiori simple and easy to use at all times, no matter how complex the subject transaction may be:

  • Delightful – As a baseline, SAP Fiori was designed to create pleasing user experiences, regardless of the platform it’s running on.
  • Seamless Experience − Fiori apps are all based on the same language, making it effectively seamless and platform-agnostic.
  • Simple – To keep things simple, SAP has developed what it calls the “1-1-3 scenario”—One user, one use case and three screens.
  • Role-Based – Fiori apps show the most relevant information to the user, based on role.
  • Responsiveness – Response time is always an important parameter when designing and testing a Fiori app. The end user should always experience a fast query and execution speed.

SAP Fiori Prerequisites

SAP Fiori prerequisites span a collection of tools, platforms and skillsets. Architecturally, to put SAP Fiori apps to work, you need to install the components shown in the figure above: NetWeaver and the SAP Gateway, the Web Dispatcher, firewall and so forth. Then, there’s the SAP HANA database and whatever business suite edition you’re running.

In terms of skills, your people must be competent in the implementation and support of all these elements. In addition, you’ll have to know HTML 5 and be familiar with the SAP Fiori environment. Making the most of Fiori usually means being highly familiar with its architectural nuances. For example, it’s a best practice to separate back-end and front-end components, setting up the SAP Gateway in the “Central Hub Deployment” mode. In this pattern, you have to install SAP Gateway independently from any consumer-grade technologies in the system.

Learning SAP Fiori, the SAP Fiori Skill Set and Prerequisites for SAP UI5

Further to the skillset prerequisites just discussed, it’s worth appreciating that competency in Fiori is based on becoming skilled in the following areas first:

  • OData and SAP NetWeaver Gateway
  • ABAP program and objects
  • ERP implementation experience
  • SAP UI5
  • JavaScript
  • HTML5

OData skills are necessary because Fiori uses OData to retrieve data from the back-end, e.g. from the SAP HANA in-memory database.

The Difference Between SAP UI5 and SAP Fiori

People may get confused between SAP UI5 and SAP Fiori. It’s an understandable confusion, because the two products are often used together. However, they are quite different. UI5 is a development toolset for creating front-end user experiences for both SAP and non-SAP applications. It incorporates web technologies like CSS, JavaScript and HTML5. It can run on multiple platforms. Compared to UI5, Fiori is more of a methodology than a product. Fiori uses UI5 for its front-end. It’s difficult to customize a Fiori app without UI5.

The Fiori Apps Library

SAP maintains a library of Fiori apps. It’s a very extensive collection that spans apps for S/4HANA, SAP Business Suite and more. For example, S/4HANA has hundreds of apps available across many different business functions. These include 199 apps for asset management, 122 apps for commerce, 766 apps for finance and so forth. The Fiori Apps Library makes it possible to get a lot of functionality deployed with Fiori quickly—without having to build apps from scratch.

What is SAP Fiori Security?

Fiori’s architecture and breadth of deployment have the potential to expose organizations to security risks. Previously with the old the old SAP GUI, the transactional connections between the user and back-end were tightly bound. Fiori is more open, and thus more vulnerable. Fiori takes the once closely guarded SAP back-end and makes it accessible via web and mobile interfaces.

Given the increasingly serious threat environment, it’s imperative that Fiori app developers understand their organizations’ security policies and apply them rigorously to their work. For example, it may be necessary to employ multi-factor authentication (MFA) to Fiori app users. Or, policy may dictate that data be encrypted while at rest on the SAP HANA database.

Deploying SAP Fiori

The SAP Fiori prerequisites for a successful deployment are not trivial. Your organization may or may not have all of them under control. For this reason, an external partner can be quite valuable in launching Fiori effectively. For instance, even with a smooth deployment, you may still be mandated to port Segregation of Duties (SoD) rules into Fiori from earlier applications. We can help with this with our ControlPanelGRC solution. ControlPanelGRC checks the transactions and service authorizations interacting with SAP Fiori as well as with SAP GUI. It can spot SoD conflicts that might create compliance risk issues.

As an SAP-certified partner, Symmetry can help you with SAP Fiori adoption and meeting all of the SAP Fiori prerequisites prior to launch. To learn more about our services, contact our team today.

Nick McCall, Senior Basis Consultant

Nick McCall is a Senior Basis Consultant on Symmetry's consulting team, delivering expert technical day to day system monitoring support directly to Symmetry’s valued SAP customers. Nick goes beyond performing daily database administration by also providing SAP system troubleshooting and problem solving – he is always willing to learn the latest SAP trends and advises customers to take advantage of new technologies should it fit their business needs. He pairs his sound technical knowledge with outstanding customer service. This is demonstration by his work on large customer project initiatives, most recently working on: S/4HANA 1809/1709/1610, Fiori FES 5.0, AWS/Azure implementation, SLT, BOBJ/BODS, Solution Manager full implementations and configurations, domain migrations – homogeneous, database upgrades, compressions, reorgs, and much more. Nick’s skilled approach ensures Symmetry’s clients receive highly disciplined support instilled with industry best practices to keep their SAP system continuously running smoothly.