Over the lifespan of the use of SAP in the industry, we have seen major changes to how systems operate, both from an infrastructure and application view. But one thing that has had relatively few changes and advances is how users interact with SAP… until now.
SAP has now introduced two new User Experience platforms; SAP Screen Personas and Fiori. With these new interfaces, SAP is hoping to address some of the common complaints end-users have with running SAP. We’ll look at what Personas is, how it benefits the average user and the business as a whole, basic technical requirements, and where the future direction of Personas is heading.
Introduction to Personas
SAP Screen Personas was developed by SAP as a way to customize and personalize standard SAP transactions to improve productivity. As many people are aware, there have been previous versions of this tool. The biggest one that comes to mind is GuiXT. The major difference between that iteration of screen personalization and Personas is the ease of the personalization. The tools are always present on the screen to editors and there is one transaction to give users access to systems and flavors created.
Personas is a Dynpro driven tool that leverages ITS functionality already embedded in Kernel and Netweaver versions greater than 7.0. This means that most systems are capable of using Personas in their current environment.
SAP Fiori vs. SAP Personas
There has been a lot of confusion as to what the difference is between Personas and Fiori. Fiori is a completely separate user interface platform that utilizes the SAP Netweaver Gateway 2.0 component and UI5 add-ons. This means that there is very little overlap between the two products and one does not substitute for the other. Fiori is geared towards SAP power users/managers as it provides the ability to view and approve timesheets, expense reports, sales orders, and etc. from mobile devices. Personas is meant for simplifying existing transactions to improve accuracy, decrease training costs, and increase transaction throughput.
SAP User Benefits
Personas gives both SAP users and the business many advantages over a traditional SAPGUI screen. It allows the customization of screens so no longer do users have to choose from multiple fields if they only use one field. This reduces clutter on the screen and the training costs of new employees. It also makes it easy to adjust a home screen of particular users with department updates if there was relevant information to one department.
Personas also increase the rate of processing/productivity in many areas of the business. It does this through transaction throughput, a process that allows scripting and auto-fill from other transactions to decrease the amount of clicks needed and transaction to go through. Here are a few examples:
- Reduced steps to create “equipment” from 30 to 5
- Streamlined quotation process from 8 screens to 2
- By modifying layouts, increased call center calls processed/hr. from 6 to 20
- Create new notification Transaction reduced from 34 clicks to 11
- Paying a vendor reduced fields on screen from 37 to 4 fields.
The requirements for SAP Screen Personas are not very complex as most of the functionality is already in the Kernel and Netweaver versions. Here are the technical requirements:
- Personas Add-on Installation and Support Package Upgrade
- Kernel: 721 patch level 228 / 740 patch level 65 / 741 patch level 31
- Client Copy is needed in target system (e.g. client 500 would need a client copy by transport)
- Silverlight is required
- Screen customization not supported on CRM, SRM and some HTTP screens as they utilize their own rendering technology
There are multiple advancements coming with the release of Personas 3.0 that were not available or possible in 2.0 or previous. Some of the key features that are to be offered are improvements to the scripting engine, global theming, and copy/paste ability to quickly reproduce like components.
One of the more prominent features of this release is that Silverlight will no longer be needed. All of the rendering will be fully integrated into the SAPGUI for HTML. As Silverlight is proprietary code from Microsoft, many companies are stepping away from that technology to HTML5.
The two major items for this upgrade is that it is only shown to be supported on a 740 kernel or greater and the use of SAPGUI for HTML is still not fully supported on Android/iDevices.
SAP Screen Personas 3.0 is set to be released November 2014.
Ultimately, much like any process, you can only reap the benefits of the system if it is installed correctly and time is devoted to pushing forward this technology. But the question I would have is why you wouldn’t? The opportunity to reduce user error, reduce training costs, increase productivity of employees, and be able to do more in a day is a great solution that is independent of what the business does.
If you are interested or you want to learn more information about Personas, please talk with your Symmetry Basis Consultant to see if you’re a viable candidate and give you more information about Personas. Or get started today through Symmetry’s consulting services offering: https://symmetrycorp.com/sap-outsourcing/