Even Steve Lucas, president of SAP Platform Solutions, admits his company’s traditional user interfaces are ugly — for this day and age — and that the company's user experiences leave a lot to be desired.
Instead of being colorful, “delightful” and productivity-oriented, they come in and act in on something Lucas describes as “a palette of grays”.
And they aren't anywhere as exciting as those 50 shades you may envision.
This isn’t an experience that modern users who expect consumer-like feel and function want.
SAP has a product, SAP Fiori, that changes all of that. But it has come at a price that many enterprises haven’t been willing or able to pay.
This has caused quite a bit of anger.
'Tone Deaf on Fiori'?
Here’s how Constellation Research’s Ray Wang puts it via his Sapphire Now event report on his company’s website:
While the new (SAP) products build on the user experience are quite fabulous, Constellation believes that SAP has been tone deaf on Fiori. Many customers who have paid millions in maintenance over the past 15 to 20 years expect new user experience to be included in upgrades. Instead, their maintenance and upgrade dollars were funneled into acquisitions that customers have to pay extra to purchase. With few products in pipe to sell, SAP sales reps are trying to capture revenue where the vendor can and customers are not happy.”
Well, Ray, SAP has heard its customers complaints, and it's changing its tune.
During his keynote address this morning at Sapphire Now in Orlando, Fla., SAP CEO Bill McDermott announced that SAP Fiori and SAP Screen Personas will now be included within underlying licenses of SAP software and also offered to existing customers.
“SAP Fiori comes to the rescue,” McDermott told SAP’s largest crowd to date for an annual conference (estimated at 25,000 live attendees and 250,000 online). “The redesigned complex workflows makes them intuitive for users. We’ve simplified the process from 10 clicks to 2. We’ve built it for mobile business.
McDermott told the audience he knows Fiori’s “a winner,” but added that some customers felt SAP shouldn’t charge for it.
“You know what?” he said. “I agree. Now it’s included. And if you’ve already bought it, don't worry. We'll give you a credit. We thought of that, too.”
Will McDermott Feel Like Oprah?
For one short moment SAP’s big boss might feel a bit like Oprah used to when she gave gifts away to her entire studio audience during her pre-holiday show. Only McDermott’s audience is much higher this week than Oprah’s.
SAP will also offer a portfolio of user experience (UX) services including design, rapid deployment, and custom development to enhance customer engagement.
McDermott, in his keynote, said he’s heard SAP’s been too complex. “That’s a very fair point,” he said. “That's why there’s a huge chip on my shoulder and a huge chip on 67,000 other shoulders in SAP. We can and will fight complexity.”
Better Than (Ugh) Sexy
Though the editors here at CMSWire have blacklisted the word “sexy”, we’re going to use it anyways because there’s no better way to describe SAP Fiori and SAP Screen Personas.
“They’re absolute game-changers,” says Lucas, noting that they are not only powerful, but also easy enough to use to allow customers to run their businesses from their mobile devices.
The best way to check out Fiori, short of adopting it immediately, is via video: