Technical Articles
Jocelyn Dart
Jocelyn Dart

Fiori for S/4HANA – New Rapid Content Activation on S/4HANA 1809 & 1709 – Part 1 – Overview

As a UX specialist in the S/4HANA Regional Implementation Group team I’m privileged to work with many of our SAP S/4HANA customers.  Many of these SAP S/4HANA customers are looking to drive the business benefits of S/4HANA by implementing Fiori at scale.  It is experiences with those customers that have driven the need for new tooling to make it easier to activate Fiori at scale.  On your S/4HANA project, you can take advantage of a new approach to activating Fiori at scale that can cut activation time from weeks down to hours or days.

SAP Fiori is how business users access S/4HANA innovations.  Many SAP S/4HANA customers are keen to make the most of these innovations, whether as a big bang or as a carefully staged journey.  That means they may need to activate 100s and in some cases 1000s of SAP Fiori apps and other Fiori launchpad content, such as Web Dynpro ABAP applications and SAPGUI for HTML transactions. If this is your project, naturally you want an easy way to do this – now you have one!

You can now use the new rapid content activation task lists to dramatically cut the activation effort from days to weeks down to hours to days. You do this by activating delivered SAP Business Roles as a consolidated single unit, complete with ready-to-test business user ids.  This is very different from the app by app by app approach of early alternatives.  The good news is that even if you only intend to activate one business role as a showcase, these new task lists will make things much easier for you too.

A few months ago, these new Rapid Activation for Fiori in SAP S/4HANA task lists were quietly released for customer use for customers on SAP S/4HANA 1809 and SAP S/4HANA 1709.  The feedback so far has been very positive. Not only do they decimate the time needed to activate apps, they also avoid a lot of the common issues, missteps & stumbling points experienced by project teams new to SAP S/4HANA.

You can find these new task lists in the following SAP Notes:

SAP Note 2704570 – Composite SAP note: Rapid Activation for Fiori in S/4HANA 1809

SAP Note 2695653 – Composite SAP note: Rapid Activation for Fiori in S/4HANA 1709

The rapid activation approach is particularly useful when activating apps in your sandpit and demo systems.  With some care you may be able to use it for activating apps in your development system too.

If you have a little time, before you start using them, you may find it helpful to keep reading further to understand the task lists in more detail.

Part 1: Overview (this blog)

  • Why these Rapid Activation task lists were created
  • What’s in the Rapid Activation task lists

Part 2: Pre-requisites and executing the Fiori Foundation task list

  • Pre-requisites
  • How to execute the Fiori Foundation task list

Part 3: Scoping & Executing the Rapid Activation Task List for your business roles

  • Selecting your business roles
  • How to execute the Rapid Activation task list
  • Testing your activated business roles

Part 4: Customizing & transporting your activated business roles

  • How to customize the business roles you have activated by the task lists
  • Transporting activation and activation alternatives
  • Where to get help

Why Rapid Activation for Fiori in SAP S/4HANA

The aim of the rapid activation task lists is to help you get started exploring Fiori in SAP S/4HANA as quickly as possible.  This is particularly important in the early Explore phase of SAP Activate methodology, where you are focused on understanding what apps have been delivered with your SAP S/4HANA system. This is the starting point for deciding which apps you will use, and how these apps fit to your organization’s specific business processes & business users.

In the past, many customers found there are 2 main hurdles to overcome in getting to that starting point: scale and inexperience.

Dealing with the scale of SAP Fiori in SAP S/4HANA

Five years into the S/4HANA journey, the number of SAP Fiori apps available has grown from around 300 in SAP S/4HANA 1511 to the nearly 1400 apps available in the latest version SAP S/4HANA 1809 FPS01. And that is not including the many other types of delivered SAP Fiori launchpad content such as Web Dynpro ABAP applications and SAP GUI for HTML transactions.

While many of the tools and accelerators we used in the early SAP S/4HANA days are still good for some smaller use cases, for customer projects wanting to enable a large SAP Fiori scope there was quite some effort required to activate using even only standard SAP Fiori apps and roles.  With traditional mass maintenance tasks lists, customer experiences over the last 4-5 years have found activating Fiori apps at scale can take days or even weeks of effort, especially for those consultants new to SAP S/4HANA.

Activating apps at such large scale clearly needed some careful rethinking.

IMPORTANT: Activation is not the only area where you will find improved tooling.  Since 2018, you could also decrease a lot of the manual effort of business role maintenance, and gateway service activation, as discussed in these blogs:

You should also watch out for more tooling in the 2019 roadmap to help with mass maintenance of custom catalogs.

Dealing with inexperience (avoiding newbie errors)

One of the common missteps of many early SAP S/4HANA customers was to select and activate SAP Fiori apps one by one. This is a very high effort approach.  It was also very error prone, as often related apps & dependencies needed to complete the end-to-end app deployment were missed resulting in confusion, frantic troubleshooting, and delays.

Fiori apps are organized very differently to SAP GUI transactions. Compared to SAP GUI transactions, most Fiori apps are not intended to be used standalone or individually. Instead Fiori navigation enables a high degree of reuse & natural app-to-app navigation as the user completes a task.

It’s more than just a change in organization: the UX paradigm of Fiori differs fundamentally to the classical SAP GUI transaction pattern. Instead of big multi-purpose transactions which are typically launched individually (often via the TCode field), Fiori offers a navigation network of task-oriented UIs, which are interconnected via Fiori Launchpad Content. This means, there are usually multiple options to launch any app, such as:

  • from the Home page by clicking on a tile or link
  • from the Navigation Menu at the top of the shell bar
  • via a Fiori Enterprise Search result
  • by selecting an app in the App Finder in the Me area
  • via the Frequently Used or Recent Activity lists in the Me Area

And once launched users can use forward navigation to reach related apps by:

  • using hyperlinks, e.g. via the Smart Link “List of Links” popup
  • buttons or hyperlinks that launch other apps to perform a task

This degree of app-to-app forward navigation in SAP Fiori is much higher than SAP GUI transactions. The whole mechanism is controlled by authorizations, i.e. users see only those apps and links to apps which they are authorized to use. That’s another fundamental difference to SAP GUI transactions.

A selective Fiori implementation by cherry-picking single Fiori apps breaks the user experience and leads to very high implementation costs. Since Fiori apps are not designed to be used individually, to support the end-to-end task this may need even you to (re-)configure the complete app-to-app navigation network, which is defined in SAP’s delivered Fiori Launchpad Content. This is why SAP recommends a role-based approach to implement Fiori, i.e.:

  • Copy the SAP-delivered business roles and catalogs and adjust them to your needs.
  • Implement complete business roles and not just single Fiori apps.

What’s in the Rapid Activation task lists

There are 2 task lists included in Rapid Activation of Fiori in S/4HANA:

  1. A task list for activating the Fiori Foundation named SAP_FIORI_FOUNDATION_S4
  2. A task list for activating Fiori Content by selected business roles, named SAP_FIORI_CONTENT_ACTIVATION

Task List Fiori Foundation (SAP_FIORI_FOUNDATION_S4)

You run this task list first as a once-off activity to set up your Fiori Foundation, that is:

  • Execute basic configuration for Fiori Launchpad, SAP GUI for HTML and Web Dynpro ABAP common services
  • Generate generic user roles for Administrator and End User

Task List Fiori Content Activation (SAP_FIORI_CONTENT_ACTIVATION)

Once you have the Fiori Foundation in place, you use the Fiori Content Activation task list to activate all the apps associated with your selected business roles. You can select one business roles or activate multiple business roles together.  You can run the task list as many times as you need to, to complete the activation of all your selected business roles.  The more business roles you select in one run, the bigger the saving in time and effort. For each business role the task list will:

  • Activate all the associated Fiori apps (i.e. activate the related ICF node & OData Service(s))
  • Activate all the associated Web Dynpro for ABAP applications
  • Generate the business role (i.e. the PFCG security role) with default authorizations
  • Optionally, generate a Test user per business role

IMPORTANT: Some of the current limitations of these 2 task lists are:

  • Only standard roles can be selected. If you have created your own custom Fiori Apps these have to be activated separately.
  • Some apps have additional post activation activities. These are typically performed by functional business process consultants. Check the App documentation.
  • Not all activation steps done by the task list can be saved to a transport request – therefore this method should be used to activate SAP Fiori apps in sandbox or demo systems. For Dev, Q and P systems see the separate section in the blog.

Want to take advantage of this new Rapid Activation approach?

Then read on to Part 2: Pre-requisites and executing the Fiori Foundation task list 

Becoming a SAP Fiori for SAP S/4HANA guru

This particular blog series has been a collaborative effort between the S/4HANA RIG and the Global Fiori Design team.  I’d like to add my personal thanks to all the contributors – they know who they are!  And especially to my colleague Hannes Defloo who has shepherded this initiative on behalf of the S/4HANA RIG, as well as drafting this blog series.

You’ll find much more on our SAP Fiori for SAP S/4HANA wiki

Brought to you by the S/4HANA RIG