User experience: Screen Personas or SAP Fiori?
If you want to improve or simplify the SAP User Experience, SAP offers various solutions. Well-known and often used are SAP Fiori UI5 apps where SAP functionality is converted to Web apps and opened from the Fiori Launchpad. Another option is SAP Screen Personas, where a custom User Interface layer (Flavor) is placed over existing transaction screens. Screen Personas has strongly improved recently. Where this technique used to be slow and not mobile proof, nowadays it is a "Fiori" experience that integrates perfectly with the Fiori Launchpad, also on mobile devices.
In some cases it might be more logical to choose for a Screen Personas solution instead of Fiori UI5 apps. In this blog we’ll try to show you what Screen Personas is and can do nowadays. And in which situations Screen Personas or Fiori UI5 apps are preferred.
SAP SCREEN PERSONAS
SAP Screen Personas is a tool to make SAP Gui transactions easier and to adapt them with a "flavor". This is a kind of UI layer put over the SAP screens. In that way it is for instance possible to delete, to move or to change labels. It is also possible to build scripts to automate screen logic. With Screen Personas it is possible to create the Fiori experience in a simple and flexible way, without changing the business logic of the underlying screens. SAP Screen Personas is included in the standard SAP ERP license.
As from Screen Personas 3.0 SP06, the Slipstream Engine has been introduced. The Slipstream Engine ensures that the SAP (Personas) screens are loaded into the browser using the Fiori UI5 libraries. The device used for that can be served by a touchscreen, which reinforces the Fiori feeling. It is also possible to use Screen Personas flavor on mobile devices with different resolutions.
Screen Personas also has its weaknesses. Screen Personas remains limited to the current transaction screens. There are possibilities to combine transactions or load extra information via Bapi’s, but often at the price of performance.
Furthermore, it is for the use on different (mobile) devices, necessary to build a separate flavor for each screen size, so for each screen (desktop / tablet / telephone) extra development time is necessary. There are no offline options for Screen Personas.
A separate flavor is required for each transaction, so for example for the QM01, QM02 and QM03 transactions 3 flavors have to be built. Screen Personas may look perfectly similar to SAP Fiori UI5 apps in terms of appearance, the overall experience will not be as intuitive and smooth as a Fiori UI5 app. On the other hand, the development time of Personas screens is less than for a Fiori UI5 App.
SAP Fiori UI5 apps can be viewed separately from SAP transactions. They are built for a specific role with a specific task, such as approving. They can be used on all mobile devices and are very user-friendly because of their simple and clear target. They are not based on SAP transactions and because of that various "cross transactional" functionalities can be added to the app. In the SAP Fiori launchpad all apps can easily be displayed by (dynamic) tiles and opened by the end user from a central portal.
The disadvantage of SAP Fiori apps is development time. There are many standard apps available, but mostly customer-specific changes are required before an app is ready to use. Development requires specific development knowledge, standard ABAP knowledge is not sufficient.
Because an app is available for many applications per specific role and task, it may happen that several apps are needed for an end-to-end process. It is also possible that both Fiori UI5 and SAP Gui are required within the scenario.
Because the transaction screens and apps exist independently of each other, it may cause a change in the process for the Gui as well as the app.
Screen Personas can, just like Fiori apps, run in the browser. The difference is that Screen Personas runs directly on the backend based on the backend transaction screens. Fiori apps run on a front-end (gateway) and only retrieve data from the backend.
However, Screen Personas can be perfectly integrated into the Fiori launchpad. The tile can be configured in such a way that the Personas screens can be opened directly within the launchpad environment, just like the Fiori apps. The end user will hardly realize that it is a different technique. To avoid differences in the UI version, it is possible to use the UI5 library of the Gateway (Slipstream Engine).
The example below shows how both Fiori UI5 and Screen Personas solutions can be opened by the user.
SAP Fiori UI5 apps and Screen Personas both have their strengths and weaknesses and can reinforce each other when the techniques are applied in the right place.
Best is using Screen Personas with simplified transactions that need to be integrated within the Fiori environment. Herewith no or few adjustments are needed. Screen Personas is also preferred for complex object change transactions (think QM02) where the Gui transaction already offers all functionalities, but this will be used more simply and more user-friendly within the Fiori environment.
Fiori UI5 apps are preferred when a task within a complex process has to be replaced from the Gui transaction into the Fiori environment, approvals for instance. Furthermore, Fiori UI5 improves the user experience largely, when creating objects that do not require all fields (orders for example).
When the complete end-to-end process needs to be done in Fiori, Fiori UI5 apps can be chosen for the role specific tasks (e.g. creation, approval, execution) and for the other actions, Screen Personas screens (manage, assign tasks, reporting) ). In this way the entire process works without the standard Gui screens with both SAP Fiori UI5 apps and Screen Personas on desktop and mobile devices.
Thanks to Jerry Van Holst for writing this article!
For further questions or questions in the field of SAP Workflow, Fiori, SAP Invoice Management (SIM) or SAP Master Data Governance (MDG) you can contact Wouter Van Peteghem.