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SAP GUI vs. FioriThe introduction of SAP Fiori in 2013 marked the beginning of SAP’s shift toward a consumer-grade User Experience (UX). This was long overdue. Enterprise tech had been evolving toward consumer-like interfaces for a long time already by this point.

Built to work with the SAP HANA in-memory database and S/4 HANA business software, Fiori is in the process of supplanting the previous generation UX, the venerable SAP GUI. Fiori presents users with a more intuitive and efficient work experience. However, there are limitations to its appeal. Before embarking on a transition from SAP GUI to Fiori, it’s helpful to understand the differences between the two UXs as well as some alternatives to Fiori for those who wish to stay with SAP GUI for the time being.

SAP Fiori

Fiori delivers a modern, visual UX for SAP that differs from the linear, menu-driven SAP GUI. It offers the kind of simple, consumer-level user experience that most information workers now expect in the office. Streamlined and familiar-looking to users of mobile apps, Fiori unsurprisingly provides new mobile capabilities. With Fiori, users can interact with SAP applications from anywhere on a range of devices.

SAP GUI Vs. Fiori: SAP Fiori Benefits Over SAP GUI

There are many benefits to Fiori over SAP GUI. These include increased productivity due to faster task execution. While SAP GUI requires clicking on a series of menus to accomplish anything, Fiori works more by touch. It lets users start tasks on one device and complete them on another. Architecturally, Fiori also enables the more fluid and easily connected universe of RESTful APIs.

Will SAP Fiori Replace SAP GUI?

Fiori is certainly on track to replace SAP GUI. This is especially true for organizations that are migrating from older versions of SAP to SAP HANA and S/4 HANA. However, it’s worth considering that not all SAP organizations are either ready or interested in making the switch. A variety of reasons surface to explain this reluctance to embrace Fiori. For one thing, some companies have invested a great deal of time into developing customized SAP GUIs. They may not relish the investment and work required for replacing them. Nor do they want to pay for revamping the underlying customized applications that run them.

From a pure productivity perspective, too, Fiori is not automatically the answer at all times, either. It does make people more productive in controlled studies. That’s been proven. However, for certain kinds of structured task work, where workers may have been using SAP GUI for the same workflows for years, changing interfaces would represent a major disruption in routine. This could affect morale and productivity.

SAP Fiori Drawbacks

Fiori does present a number of drawbacks alongside its many benefits. It is considered a non-harmonized user experience. The user might encounter different information architectures in different application settings. Some Fiori critics have cited an over-alignment with mobile use cases, to the detriment of standard, desktop use. From the perspective of others, the very likability of Fiori could create a sense of expectation that everything in the SAP universe will run in Fiori style—an objective that will not be satisfied for quite some time.

How to Launch Fiori

Users start Fiori apps through the Fiori Launchpad. This is a new way to interact with SAP. Starting from a log in screen, the user is presented with an interface of tiles, each of which will launch a Fiori app when clicked. The launchpad can be organized by app category or by user class. It is also possible for the user to search for apps in the launchpad and click on the desired app in the search results.

Launchpad from SAP GUI

Companies that want to retain some SAP GUI applications while making the move to Fiori can take advantage of Launchpad for this purpose. It is possible to create a tile in Launchpad that will start an application that uses SAP GUI. This way, the company can deploy Fiori where it is wanted while keeping SAP GUI going in use cases where it is still needed.

SAP GUI 7.50

SAP GUI 7.5, the latest iteration of SAP GUI, offers companies a way to ease the transition to Fiori. It’s an acknowledgement that Fiori adoption is lagging in certain sectors, perhaps due to aversion to change. SAP GUI 7.5 introduces several new features, including Fiori Visual Theme for S4/HANA 1610 and Beyond. This feature makes it possible to adopt the Fiori 2.0 theme for classic applications in SAP GUI. It works with HTML, SAP GUI for Java and SAP GUI for Windows. With SAP GUI 7.5, it is possible to implement Blue Crystal as the Default Theme. Support for GUI based on Microsoft Visual Studio has also been extended until mid-2019.

Understanding Your Options for SAP GUI

The right SAP application hosting partner that understands both the business and technical end of SAP, are able to help you understand your best options for an SAP GUI update. Find a provider with proven experience in migrating to SAP Fiori and configuring new UXs so that your users get maximal benefit from the improved interface.

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.