How to Understand Why Fiori Won’t be Able to Survive

Executive Summary

  • Lost in the SAP marketing of Fiori is how slow the uptake and usage of Fiori has been.
  • Fiori has technology problems related to architectural issues limiting Fiori’s usefulness.
  • How IDG was paid by SAP to provide false information about Fiori.
  • We cover the math of probably Fiori usage.

Introduction: The Surprising Truth About Fiori

In this article, we will cover something that no SAP consulting company or IT media entity can say publicly on Fiori. You will learn the limitations that few are exposing around Fiori.

Background On Fiori Uptake

I recently wrote an article that used DB-Engines, that tracks database popularity showing the HANA is declining in popularity. I have accumulated some stories now from contacts where HANA was pushed into accounts where it was not intended to be used. For example, account executives have been giving the other SAP products clients for free, but they charged for HANA. They did this even though the account was not in the market for HANA.

These types of shenanigans and others have to lead me to conclude that HANA was stuffed in at customers and that many of the HANA sales have not been real, as is covered in the article How Enlarged are the HANA Implementation Numbers?

Fiori is connected to HANA (not for any technical reason, but because SAP has attempted to use Fiori to lure customers into buying S/4HANA). Due to this unnecessary connection to HANA, Fiori’s uptake has been even more limited that it most likely would have been.

HANA now looks less popular than it was ever advertised. And this has held back Fiori usage, as only Fiori can’t work with AnyDB.

This has very large implications for SAP. However, before we get to that let us segue into the technical challenges that customers face when implementing Fiori.

Fiori’s Technology Issues

SAP has bet big on Fiori, putting large development resources into it. SAP has pushed the number of Fiori apps up quite significantly in the past year. With the fanfare published about Fiori, what is lost on the typical person keeping up with Fiori, but without the direct knowledge of Fiori, is the following items:

  1. A Weak Technical Base: Fiori has an unimpressive technological underpinning.
  2. Mobile First: SAP has repeatedly misrepresented Fiori as a universal UI that works equally well on the desktop and a tablet and a phone — however, Fiori is a mobile UI. It does not translate to the desktop as SAP has stated. SAP is still primarily consumed on the desktop. Choosing to put all of one’s eggs in a mobile UI basket makes little sense.
  3. How Many Attempts at Mobile?: Fiori is SAP’s 5th attempt @ mobile, I.e., Before SAP acquired Sybase, in part to obtain its mobile technologies, SAP put significant resources into SAP Mobility. But neither of these initiatives went anywhere. SAP started with ITS mobile, NetWeaver mobile, Sybase SUP, then Syclo / SMP and now Fiori. At this point, one seems to even remember as recent as SMP, which was supposedly the best thing since sliced bread to solve all mobility issues and it’s only Fiori all the way now.
  4. Implementation and Maintenance Overhead: Fiori requires a great deal of overhead to manage. For example, Fiori ships with around 80 standard apps. Once you move past this basic package, it requires more technical expertise to bring each of the additional apps up to be ready to use. SAP seems to be investing its effort into developing new apps, but not in actually making the apps usable to customers without a significant amount of energy. This is quite strange because it is unprecedented for the usage of a user interface for an application to require so much effort to make work. At this point, Fiori appears to be more of a shared development project with customers than a finished user interface.

Comments on Fiori Implementation Issues

These words are from a person with experience implementing Fiori.

“Even at this late date, it is still very painful to install and maintain Fiori.”

And from another…

“40% of SAP customers does not like FIORI UI look and feel, performance. FIORI is a copy of some of existing open source UI frameworks.

SAP just started touching the technology. They have to think beyond (what they are currently doing with Fiori).

If you will consider SAP CoPilot which SAP has decided to provide with S4 HANA 17* series with license cost. If any customer will start developing there own coPilot with extra features compared to SAP provided coPilot , it will take maximum 15 working days.”

This is not encouraging, but something else comes out when listening to those with deep expertise in UIs.  Fiori is not leading technology and has been hugely oversold by SAP as a user interface. When you hear SAP tell it, they shocked the world with a technology that no one had ever seen and that no other vendor had yet matched. However, in speaking with people that don’t work for SAP at least, no one agrees with that view.

SAP’s Perplexing Fiori Strategy

SAP’s Fiori has been a problem from the beginning. As previously stated, it seems SAP is pushing development to come up with as many Fiori apps as possible — for the perception of the largest possible coverage. But as most of these apps aren’t used, the apps aren’t being tested and burned in.

This brings up the question of overhead concerning customizing Fiori. This is another quote from someone quite close to Fiori implementations…

“Yes, 80-90% of SAP customer is not using SAP delivered standard FIORI app, for every app client is customizing, because standard one is not enough to fulfill the requirement.”

And the problem with this is that Fiori is well known to be extremely difficult to customize. Therefore with Fiori one has the worst of both worlds.

  • A UI that lacks the inherent ability to satisfy users as standard, and therefore needs to be customized.
  • Very low developer productivity when customized.

SAP’s Statements on Fiori

SAP’s statements on Fiori by executives shows how out of touch they are, and how unconcerned they are that reality.

The following is a typical comment on Fiori…

“We want every SAP customer to run simple with a world-class user experience,” said Bill McDermott CEO and member of the Executive Board of SAP. “Judging by the commercial success of SAP Fiori, it’s clear that our customers agree. Some customers and our user groups believe we shouldn’t charge for SAP Fiori. We listened to our customers, I agree with them and now SAP Fiori is included with SAP software.” – SAP News

This has turned out to be obviously false. Furthermore, SAP did not merely listen to customers that are paying 22%

And without any real accomplishment, SAP stated the following about Fiori.

“We’ve come a long way from the old SAP GUI,” he said. “The challenge is clear. We are no longer benchmarking against some other business software, because most of them are not very beautiful. We are benchmarking against consumer software. We’re committed to providing the most exciting user experience in the industry.” – SAP co-CEO Jim Hagemann

Can Jim Hagemann be Serious?

Jim Hagemann may have come a long way from SAPGUI, but at the time he made this statement SAP’s customers hadn’t. Currently, over four years after his statement to PC World, almost every single user of SAP in the world still uses the SAPGUI, and not Fiori.

Therefore this seems to be an example of SAP declaring victory before the battle has occurred. Jim Hagemann made this statement at the around Fiori’s announcement. He would have to have known that no one was using Fiori at this time and how far away anyone was from using Fiori. But his statement makes it sound like the old SAP GUI is a thing of the past, and customers have moved on to Fiori.

IDG Offers Some Suitably Compliant SAP Fiori Coverage

As usual, SAP has compliant media entities that tow the company line. In this case, IDC/IDG stepped up to the plate.

“By including a user experience based on SAP Fiori and SAP Screen Personas within SAP licensed software, SAP is making widely available a personalized, responsive, simple UX for its customers,” said Henry Morris, senior VP, Worldwide Software and Services Research, IDC.

First of all, SAP did not make Fiori widely available (Personas is irrelevant to this discussion as it was for all purposes discontinued). SAP could, of course, have done this. It could have offered Fiori for “free” that is to customers already paying 22%+ in support to SAP, but they decided to restrict Fiori to HANA. How is that making something “widely available?”

Therefore, Henry Morris’ statement is false.

Now let us parse the next statement by Henry Morris.

“Users can focus on core business processes and immediate decision making for improved productivity and business success. Having access to the most critical business information via an intuitive, modern design is essential for customers to maintain an edge in today’s competitive business environment.”

The second sentence would be true if the first sentence were true. But the first sentence is false, so therefore the second sentence does not matter.

Henry Morris Assumptions

Henry Morris seems to assume that Fiori is mature and being used when it wasn’t when this article was published three years ago.

In fact, it still isn’t today. IDG could have figured this out if they had checked, but they didn’t.

Thirdly, how much money does IDC receive from SAP per year? IDC is owned by the Chinese media conglomerate IDG. Brightwork covered IDC and IDG in the article How IDG Provides Inaccurate Information on IT. It is clear that IDC and IDG repeat whatever SAP says and then call that an article. Oh, and by the way, IDG also owns PC World, the media outlet that published Jim Hagemann’s inaccurate quotation on how much progress SAP had made from the bad old days when people used to use SAPGUI for SAP.

How is IDG Paid by SAP to be Their Parrot?

So does IDG get paid on a single invoice from SAP to distribute inaccurate information or are there separate invoices per month? There are invoices; the only question is whether SAP is invoiced separately per IDG publication.

Thoroughly evaluating the inaccurate statements made by SAP would be a separate article so that I will leave it there for now.

It was not only SAP and IT media entities that provided inaccurate information on Fiori, but quite a few SAP consulting companies. As we show in A Study into S/4HANA Implementations, some of these consulting firms exaggerated their S/4HANA experiences, to promote their ability to obtain Fiori implementations services.

What Fiori’s Coming Irrelevance Means for S/4HANA

SAP has used Fiori as a major motivator for customers to move to S/4HANA. However, if Fiori does not survive, then investing anything in Fiori from the perspective of bringing it up, to having users spend time acclimating to it is an utterly wasted effort.

For instance, the push for S/4HANA, which is not ready anyway, can be delayed. As one of the motivators for S/4HANA was to get Fiori. Now that is gone. Here are some important facts that relate to S/4HANA.

  • HANA is not a logical motivator for S/4HANA.
  • Fiori is not a logical motivator for S/4HANA.

This means that S/4HANA gets pushed as an implementation initiative. It also says that companies that currently are paying support on S/4HANA, where it sits unimplemented (which is the vast majority of S/4HANA sales) need to begin asking why. A frank discussion is necessary that starts something like this…

“I get that you needed to move S/4HANA to meet your internal incentives, but we are not paying support on something that looks far further out than when you sold it to us.”

Fiori is but one piece that is a problematic puzzle in the argument for S/4HANA.

  • I now receive frequent reports that HANA has poor performance under S/4 that I never hear when the topic is BW on HANA. (HANA is nowhere near as good at transaction processing has SAP had proposed).
  • Fiori is something that will have to be transitioned away from if any time or effort is invested into it.
  • The functionality or the application layer of S/4HANA is still not ready.

Time to Jump off the SAP Fiori Bandwagon

In the previous articles on Fiori SAP, I brought up some of the issues that have prevented Fiori from being used by SAP customers. And how Fiori SAP was leveraged as a cynical marketing ploy to keep companies from exploring real options in the market for user interfaces.

These limiting factors on Fiori SAP include the following:

  • Tying Fiori SAP Unnecessarily to HANA
  • SAP and its Partner Network misrepresented Fiori as a Complete Replacement for the SAPGUI
  • SAP and its Partner Network Misrepresented Fiori as a User Interface That Works Equally Well on Computers, Tables, and Phones
  • SAP and its Partner Network Misrepresented of the Effort Involved with Fiori

Tying Fiori SAP Unnecessarily to HANA

SAP first attempted to charge for Fiori. When unsuccessful decide to use its investment in Fiori to tempt customers to buy Fiori. There has never been any reason to restrict Fiori to HANA. One reason I heard was that because Fiori SAP as so report oriented that it would have to have HANA. This is untrue, in fact, most Fiori screens are quite low in data density. Nevertheless, SAP thought it was quite clever by restricting Fiori SAP to HANA. The major problem is that there are so few S4 instances live in the world. Thus it has been an important part of limiting Fiori’s use to a tiny segment of the market.

SAP and its Partner Network misrepresented Fiori as a Complete Replacement for the SAPGUI

In actual reality, it is a series of apps. The development of Fiori apps seems to be slowing. As I check the Fiori app library, the library is now up to 1015 apps. At one point they were adding 15 apps per month.

SAP and its Partner Network Misrepresented Fiori as a User Interface That Works Equally Well on Computers, Tables, and Phones

Yet, Fiori’s heritage is actually as a mobile app. It is not designed to show the data density of computer screen for complex transactions. It is a “lightweight” user interface. Fiori can be displayed on a computer, but this is not the same as saying that Fiori is a user interface designed for computers.

SAP and its Partner Network Misrepresented of the Effort Involved with Fiori

Even for companies that purchased S4 because they were tricked by SAP’s marketing. Or because they were somehow connected to Hasso Plattner. (Hasso Plattner remotely controls purchases of many companies in Germany and other businesses that have some interest, this is why most S4 implementations have been in Germany.) It’s difficult to justify going to effort even to bring up Fiori. Fiori requires a parallel technology and training pathway. It requires a lot of resources. All to migrate some transactions to a user interface that has little chance of survival. Honestly, at this point why would, a company invest the effort to do this knowing that Fiori is not the future of SAP’s user interface?

SAP not only misrepresents Fiori and its applicability but uses it to “UI wash” its SAPGUI. This is pointed out by Max Favillon at his blog.

“Browse SAP websites and try to figure out what its user interface looks like, you will have a hard time, no screenshot whatsoever, a lot of beautiful picture of smiling business people using laptops, smartphones and tablets, but not even a glimpse of what SAP applications UI looks like.

SAP Marketing

In SAP marketing’s eyes, the UI that SAP customers use is not the real user interface or SAPGUI, but some combination of Fiori, along with the stock photography pictures of people smiling at laptops. Why use an alternative like AppsFreedom or LiquidUI or when clearly everyone is laughing looking at their laptops?

I also brought up in the article on SAP uses indirect access to block companies from purchasing alternative user interfaces. This is where SAP requires customers to buy copies of Fiori that they will not use to connect another user interface to SAP applications.

Fiori has the following problems that have prevented its uptake.

  1.    Who Recommended Fiori?
  2.    Why Did They Recommend It? (hint — it’s related to money)
  3.    Why is SAP now so Silent on Fiori?
  4.    Why did certain people look at Fiori and think it was going to work?

Offering Advice on SAP from a Position of Bias

There is an enormous number of people offering advice in SAP that is not looking critically at what SAP is offering. They should not be listened to.

If you have an advisor like a Deloitte or IBM that only parrot what SAP’s marketing literature says, these entities should not be relied upon. One should remember the limitations placed on partners.

  1. SAP monitors all messages that are presented at SAP conferences or that is produced by the partner marketing department.
  2. SAP can edit or block any material that a partner provides on SAP. Not that SAP partners tend to care about disseminating false information.*
  3. *(I do not mean to give the impression that SAP partners struggle against SAP’s influence. If anyone working for a large consulting company is for a split second thought that I proposed that they may at times attempt to communicate information, not in line with SAP marketing and that they have even the sliver of independence, I apologized for my clumsily worded sentence.)

Debate on SOA with Deloitte

This reminds me of a debate I had with a Deloitte consultant years ago about SOA or service-oriented architecture. I made the point that SAP would never support SOA in actual practice. While SAP may put SOA on their PowerPoint sales presentations. This was because SOA was about open systems. SAP had at that point used the difficulty of integration as a strategy for blocking out vendors that have better functionality that they have.

They have done this for decades. So why would SAP embrace SOA? SOA would give customers greater freedom and restrict SAPs ability to use its monopoly power.

At this time (around 2006) SAP was promoting SOA in its marketing literature.

The Deloitte consultant I was speaking with became visibly frustrated with me. At one point had enough and said

“What I am saying is that SAP is saying that they will support SOA!”

I seemed to make him angry for whatever reason.

Deloitte Consultants Designed to Repeat SAP

For this and many other consultants, there is no interpretation of what SAP says. SAP makes a statement, and an army of consultants line up to repeat this statement. As SAP marketing lives in a permanent fantasyland. This means that these consultants spend a lot of their time repeating false statements.

And by the way, guess that happened with SAP and SOA?

  • SAP never did anything to support it.
  • SOA finally flamed out as a concept as it was always a bit of a pipe dream.
  • SAP moved on to promoting something else.
  • No one, not SAP nor SAP’s partner network ever admitted they were wrong about SOA.
  • SAP did not issue an apology for talking up something they never supported.

That is how the trends and information dissemination works in IT. And so it will be with Fiori.

Fiori SAP “Part Two.”

As soon as SAP switches to a new illusory user interface, Hasso Plattner will come out and announce how revolutionary it is. The slavish consulting companies will begin repeating whatever Hasso says as the future direction. Beautiful PowerPoints will be created which will herald the new luxurious SAP user interface.

Hasso Plattner is one of the least reliable people to listen to on technology matters. His projections around Fiori have all now been proven not to come to pass. He will wind up his smoke and mirror machine when the new SAP UI is announced.

The entire process will repeat itself.

use-fiori-1

More deep analysis from SAP partners like Deloitte, IBM, and Infosys on the topic of Fiori. 

For the math on my estimate of Fiori’s usage, see this article.

I will take credit for calling out Fiori’s limitations early, but really, it was not that difficult. I spoke to several people with far more experience than me in user interface development that predicted Fiori was going to fail. They could not say anything publicly. Unlike me, they are not unaffiliated, independent consultants. The only complex factor is if you have a mental bias or financial bias towards SAP. I don’t. Therefore it is an easy conclusion to reach.

So What is Next for SAP and Fiori SAP?

Fiori is not a sustainable user interface for SAP or SAPGUI replacement. It is a mobile application with limited applicability to most of SAP’s transactions. SAP already invested mightily in SAP Mobile. After SAP Mobile had failed, they purchased Sybase, partially for its mobile offering called Sybase Unwired Platform. After the Sybase acquisition, SAP purchased Syclo. Years later SAP has done nothing with any of these purchases, and no one uses SAP Mobile.

One SAP account manager told me that it was simply impossible for SAP to compete with mobile application development. This type of development is at an entirely different price level than SAP is accustomed to. The mobile development environments are produced Android and the iOS. And developers for these OSs can be found relatively easily, and their development productivity is quite high. Higher than the productivity of anything that SAP offers. They have nothing to do with SAP, and it is not an area where SAP can compete. Mobile is doing great without SAP.

SAP does have its app marketplace.

And no one cares. These are primarily brochure-ware apps that were developed and that I have never seen on a single project. Here is one example. It follows the Tableau school of making analytics seem around twenty times easier than it is in real life.

The Reality of SAP Apps

I have never seen anything approaching this on any SAP project. Most SAP projects are just trying to get through a long queue of uninspiring reports from the SAP BW.

I have seen companies set up their internal development using iOS as a platform that has nothing to do with SAP. The data is integrated to SAP. It works great, and mobile is not an area that SAP has a chance of being involved in, so SAP should probably stop wasting its resources to “make it happen.” There are segments that you don’t necessarily have to provide an offering.

While SAP has been wasting time with Fiori, SAPGUI keeps getting older. With Fiori losing credibility, it may be time for SAP to pivot to a new user interface offering!

SAP has been bringing out some new sexy user interface for decades now. Those with a good memory may recall Duet. A partnership with Microsoft that failed. I don’t have the list I once saw that showed all of SAP’s new user interface introductions over the past 15 years, but it was quite lengthy. SAP has had. SAP did this already when the pivoted from the highly touted Personas to the highly touted Fiori. Both of which never existed for the vast majority of customers on anything other than PowerPoint presentations.

Conclusion

Fiori has had its chance to catch on, and it just hasn’t. And it hasn’t because:

  • It is Uncompelling: Fiori is not compelling as a user interface.
  • It is Not What it Says it Is: Fiori is not a universal UI that works equally well on all devices (i.e., as well on phones and tablets as PCs). Instead, it is primarily a mobile UI. And this point is not debatable, those that are skeptical can merely check the Fiori technology underpinnings.
  • Fiori as Starter Kit: Perhaps for an even larger reason that Fiori is not a user interface as much as it is a “starter kit” that puts a large burden on customers to both stand-up Fiori as well as address various shortcomings. Fiori has extremely high overhead.

Fiori, the “new SAP user interface.” For which Hasso Plattner declared that.

“SAP now had best user interface in enterprise software.”

All before anyone had used it. A user interface which has been slathered over SAP marketing materials, SAP conferences, etc.. is failing. It is failing for some important reasons that are presented in this article. These reasons are unlikely to change. The people that uncritically supported Fiori look foolish as Fiori is nowhere to be found on SAP projects.

Have we Seen this Story Before?

SAP has a history of promising new UIs, and then those UIs going by the wayside. Fiori is just the next on the list.

This is what happens when the executives and marketing get so far out in front of the product’s capabilities that it becomes ludicrous. Hasso, McDermott, Hageman, Sven Denecken (another frequent SAP commenter on Fiori) and others don’t appear to have a feel for the reality of what is happening with Fiori and are stuck in permanent convention/press release/promotion mode.

 

There is now more reason than ever to believe that Fiori is merely another transitory and overhyped UI that SAP attempted to replace SAPGUI with. This also means that after all the pomp, all the promises, all the press releases and SAPPHIRE presentations…..customers are still left with SAPGUI, and will be left with SAPGUI for the foreseeable future. The next UI will need to be developed, internal battles at SAP fought over between those who bet big on Fiori, and the realists who recognize that it is time to move on.

How SAP Will Manage Expectations From The Blowback

When customers realize this, there will be blowback on SAP.

I am at this point unclear how SAP will manage this expectation, but no doubt SAP marketing is hard at work thinking through how to minimize the damage. Customers that went through a lot of money implementing Fiori because they were pressured by SAP are going to look for a way to hide this fact.

Bad Intel

The information coming out about Fiori from SAP has been quite weak. Fundamental inaccuracies have been provided to customers, such as overestimating Fiori’s uptake, as well as how much functionality Fiori covers in S/4HANA.

After 4+ years after Fiori has been introduced, and there are almost no customers that use Fiori.

Article Questions & Comments

I had the following questions asked of me directly, so here are the answers.

Question 1: This Article Says Fiori can Also Run in AnyDB, Your Article Says Runs Only on HANA. 

When Fiori was first introduced, it did run on AnyDB. The apps designed at that time were AnyDB compatible. However, after they could not charge for Fiori, due to user pressure, SAP made Fiori free but put in a catch. You could only run Fiori on HANA. At that point, SAP stopped developing AnyDB apps. Because this happened early in the process of Fiori’s development, almost all the Fiori apps only run on HANA.

This is observable from SAP’s Fiori Library, and I will show you with screenshots.

Here is the total number of Fiori apps listed at the library. It currently stands at 8565. This number is misleading for some reasons that I will get into in a future article. But I will keep to the subject of the total number of apps that that SAP reports in the library.

But you can filter the apps library, in this case, to look just for AnyDB apps. I will do so.

Now the filtered view will show just the AnyDB apps.

This comes to 210. 210/8565 = 2.4% 

So saying that Fiori runs on AnyDB is simply misleading. SAP stopped developing Fiori for AnyDB, so the apps that do exist are an artifact from a time when SAP intended to charge customers for Fiori.

Synopsis

This is difficult for SAP to hide, yet it is frequently asserted to me that Fiori runs on AnyDB.

Another question is where the credibility of a person who would say that Fiori works for AnyDB when this is true for only 2.4% of the apps is?

There are only two options.

  • a) The person did not know and is repeating something without checking.
  • b) The person knows and is lying to make a point and to deflect criticism from the fact that Fiori is designed to manipulate customers into purchasing HANA.

I have had multiple conversations with people working for SAP consulting companies that try to pretend that Fiori runs on AnyDB, and invariably they are an unreliable source for information on SAP overall (so not only with Fiori). They exist to permanently misinform SAP customers to extract the most money from them.

Question 2: Why do you Say Fiori is Mobile Only and Does not Support Laptop, Desktops?

I did not say that it could not be used for laptops and desktops. However, its underlying technology is designed for mobile. SAP is using a mobile user interface and pretending that it works equally well on all devices.

Question 3: What is the Source for Screen Personas Discontinued? SAP says the Contrary:

The source of Personas being gone is the tiny number of customers that use it, combined with understanding its history. There are a small number of clients playing with it, but SAP has pulled the development resources from it. Customers end up doing a POC with it, and then it peters out. Some consultants in the market still promote it, but it is a dead end. It is just for giving customers false hope and getting some consulting dollars at this point.

Personas were supposed to be the new UI for SAP. Then SAP found picked up Fiori and they just kept Personas around. But Fiori has received almost all the marketing from SAP. Personas are still there, but it is known to be dead regarding usage. That is why I wrote “for all purposes…” rather than discontinued. I previously covered Personas in the article, Whatever Happened to Personas?

I remember presenting Personas to prospects (I received a bird’s eye view by working as a contract SAP pre-sales resource for an SAP consulting company. And Personas was always a bit of a joke. What the consulting company would do is say — “Look, don’t worry about this bad ECC UI, because it is going to be entirely Personas!”

Article Comments

Comment 1: The Debate as to Whether Fiori is a Huge Step Forward?

  • So does Fiori look better than SAPGUI? The answer, of course, is yes.
  • Is it more pleasant to use than SAPGUI? Again, yes.

But if almost no one uses the UI, and if most of the Fiori database of UIs don’t work, what is the impact of a UI that is better only in a theoretical sense? A huge step forward has to be taken; it can’t be dreamt.

Synopsis

Right now, Fiori has zero impact on the vast majority of SAP customers. Fiori is a massive failure and a sinkhole for resources. It is a sinkhole not only for customers but also for SAP. And furthermore, a lot of inaccurate information about Fiori has been disseminated by SAP, and SAP should be held accountable for doing this.

Comment 2: The Debate as to Whether Fiori Has a Long Way to Go, and Fiori’s Lack of Uptake is Due to Users not Wanting to Change

Fiori is over four years old.

In that time it has demonstrated that it is barely usable and is mostly SAP hype. How long should SAP customers have to wait until Fiori is ready?

  • Is ten years a reasonable amount of time after the release date?
  • How about seven years?

My question is at what point can we judge Fiori as an adult rather than as a child. Also, did SAP present Fiori as a child, a beta product, or as a full grown adult?

This is a typical strategy used when SAP fails in an area. The comment is made that these are still “early days.” This exact technique was used by McDermott on the Q2 2017 analyst call to explain why S/4HANA has had such poor uptake as I covered in the article Inaccuracies on the Q2 2017 Analyst Call.

This seems dishonest, because when SAP introduced Fiori, they did not say that it would be four years down the stretch, and the UI would still not be ready for prime time. They said they had the best UI in all of the enterprise software, so good that they weren’t even benchmarking against competitors because no one was making, how was it?

“…most of them are not very beautiful. We are benchmarking against consumer software.” – Jim Hageman

Oh, that is right, they are not beautiful. SAP had, as of four years ago surpassed all other software vendors with a user interface that no one was using, and that still (almost) no one uses.

Synopsis

Is that just a total line of BS or what? Jim Hageman was full of it when he made the statement, and it has not aged well. Do you take this statement by Jim Hagemen seriously at this point?

Comment 3: Debate on the Reasons for Fiori’s Lack of Uptake

You can develop reasons for why Fiori has not seen uptake, but it is a fact that Fiori has not seen the expected or promised uptake. And it has had enormous marketing push and has still not seen the uptake that was predicted. SAP predicted uptake; it did not happen. In the scientific community — that is not in the carnival atmosphere of SAP conferences, that is called being wrong.

The specific reason you give for lack of uptake is excusing SAP for a major problem with Fiori. This is because Fiori is not used because it is not implementable outside of a small number of apps.

  • Fiori is not used because it is not implementable outside of a small number of apps.
  • Fiori has a bunch of technical problems in implementation.

So you can’t just leave that out and put it entirely on the user, which is what you have done by blaming people’s unwillingness to change. That is the standard approach that IT at SAP shops do to explain away SAP failings. But with Fiori’s technical problems, that can’t be the excuse given or the excuse accepted.

Reality of SAPGUI

In reality, most users I work with don’t like the SAPGUI. I don’t like the SAPGUI. I mean who do you know who likes SAPGUI? Hasso himself stated “our UI sucks.” Customers and I would be happy to move on from it, but we can’t because there is no viable alternative to SAPGUI.

Secondly, if Fiori was so immature, then SAP should not have pretended that Fiori was mature and should have postponed its release — but that was not consistent with SAP’s revenue goals and the push for S/4HANA — which was also rushed to market.

Customers have now wasted a lot of money on Fiori, and there was never any reason to use it. I could have told companies that, but most listened to SAP or Deloitte. They did not check on SAP’s statements, and they got duped. I am right now questioning the ability of IT departments that implemented Fiori to fact check things that SAP says. Because of its impossible to get things that wrong by knowing what you are doing. IT managers are running out of excuses for why they keep getting ripped off by SAP.

As an implementing company, you can’t listen to SAP or Deloitte. You have to find independent analysis or perform your research.

Synopsis

From your commentary on this point, I think it’s clear that you don’t hold SAP to any standard. If SAP introduces a bad product, then it can simply be blamed on users who don’t want to change. You have created a permanently untestable hypothesis.

Comment 4: SAP is Going Through a Huge Amount of Change Internally, and Change Takes Time

That may be true about SAP going through change. It’s not pertinent to the lack of Fiori uptake, and why do I hear about SAP’s personal problems? They pull over $20 billion per year out of companies in revenue, so they need to suck it up. What is next, do I have to hear about how rough Exxon has it? Yes, poor SAP and poor Exxon. They just can’t catch a break!

It’s difficult to push back on change taking time, but change will happen a lot faster if you release products that work. Fiori does not work, has been poorly managed and was released far too early.

What you are doing it putting Fiori is a permanently infantile state, and this allows you to absolve SAP from all of its statements about Fiori that ended up being inaccurate. You could make the same argument for Fiori 10 years from now. However, if a new item can’t obtain almost any uptake after four years, it is difficult to argue that that bodes well for its future.

Comment 5: The Debate on Whether SAP Sales Uses Shady Tactics.

Well, I can’t speak for your experiences. Maybe you have been lucky. However, where are all of these stories coming from? SAP customers reach out to me to communicate these stories.

Furthermore, I have witnessed a great deal of lying and trickery as part of the SAP sales process supporting pre-sales initiatives on a contract basis. I have been there with sales reps while they formulated the strategy and explained it to me. I can explain each of the shady tactics in detail as well as the prospects where were used.

Also, are you in a position to point out shady tactics on the part of SAP or are you compromised by your employment? That is are you pretending to have actual freedom of speech when you don’t. I ask because I know many SAP resources that know all manner of tricks SAP engages in, but they can’t say anything for career reasons.

Synopsis

I recently published the article To Whom Does Your IT Department Owe its Allegiance. In this article, I propose that many that work in IT shops sell out the interests of their employer, and allow SAP to rip off their employer for personal career benefit. These types of IT shops have many interesting characteristics:

  1. They unquestioningly accept SAP marketing information.
  2. They fail at SAP implementations, but blame the users for being “stupid.”
  3. The leaders receive off the book benefits from SAP, including attention, means, free conferences, etc..
  4. They accept false paradigms, or what I call simplistic platitudes such as (you must use SAP applications because integration is horribly tricky, SAP offers a lower TCO (calculators we have developed show that SAP has actually the highest TCO in every category in which it competes. We have published the only book on Enterprise Software TCO)

I don’t know you, but you may have been co-opted by SAP through various means. This translates into your efficiently becoming a mouthpiece for SAP.

Comment 6: Facts

As for the comment about facts, I see you have a different view than the article. That is fine. But because you have a different opinion does not mean you have demonstrated that the facts I have presented are not right. The facts I have provide overwhelm the facts you provided. You have provided conjecture for why Fiori has not been successful. Many of your statements fall into the category of platitudes (change takes time, Fiori lacks uptake because users don’t like change, SAP has many changes internally, etc…)

Also, I included some quotations from SAP sources that have been proven over time to be false. So I will have to ask you when Bill McDermott or Hasso Plattner repeatedly release inaccurate information, do you question them for factual accuracy? Or, because they are high in status and they have an orientation that is pro-SAP do you accept factual inaccuracies? That is, do you have two different standards that you apply? One for sources you agree with, and another for sources you disagree with? Just about every time Bill McDermott opens his mouth something inaccurate falls out of it.

Concern with Accuracy of SPA Among SAP Consultants?

But strangely I don’t see people that work in SAP complaining about this rather obvious issue. Pro-SAP people allow executives to repeatedly wrong, and they hold their criticism. This criticism is then directed towards people that make accurate predictions about SAP…..but that happen to be not complimentary towards SAP. Where is the criticism of SAP executives? In any published form among people who make money from SAP, it does not exist. This is because they fear SAP, and they know that telling the truth will negatively impact their paycheck. And for most SAP resources I have worked with over 20 years of being in SAP, the truth is a distant second to that paycheck.

Synopsis

So because the pro-SAP set doesn’t hold any spokesman at SAP to any standard for accuracy, it’s hard to take your comment, about a true standard seriously. Your statement that my facts are off is not itself supported, so you do not appear to possess of any information that would allow you to question the facts I have presented in the article.

Brightwork Disclosure

Financial Bias Disclosure

This article and no other article on the Brightwork website is paid for by a software vendor, including Oracle and SAP. Brightwork does offer competitive intelligence work to vendors as part of its business, but no published research or articles are written with any financial consideration. As part of Brightwork’s commitment to publishing independent, unbiased research, the company’s business model is driven by consulting services; no paid media placements are accepted.

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References

[SAP Fiori – Wikipedia](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SAP_Fiori)

[SAP Fiori User Experience Now Included with SAP Software | SAP News Center](https://news.sap.com/sapphire-now-sap-fiori-user-experience/)

https://www.pcworld.com/article/2038785/sap-unveils-consumerfriendly-fiori-app-suite.html

What Ever Happened to SAP Personas?

Executive Summary

  • SAP make a large number of forward-looking statements around Personas. But after Fiori arrived, Personas essentially disappeared as time passed. Now the question remains, whatever happened to Personas?

Introduction

In a previous article What is Actually in the Fiori Box? I went through Fiori in detail and explained some features of Fiori which are not understood. In this previous article I stated that in my analysis, Fiori’s future is much more tenuous that one would think.

The Gartner Paper on Fiori

In performing this analysis, I repeatedly came across references for Gartner’s article, titled SAP Fiori UX: It is Not a Matter of if, but When.

This proposal of inevitability has been a common theme used by SAP recently when selling anything from HANA to S/4, etc.. It does not at all appear coincidental the SAP’s selling messaging is just about the same as Gartner’s title of an article on Fiori. In fact, in several areas, Gartner’s article did not read so much as an independent article, but more of an article that SAP partially wrote. This is reminiscent of an article I critiqued years ago where Aberdeen Research published an article that was apparently paid for by IBM.

Now it is well known that Gartner takes money from vendors, and it makes the most money from the largest providers. Gartner says this does not affect their output.

However, on some occasions is evident through the analysis they release that these payments do affect them. And this article I will critique on Fiori is a perfect example of this financial bias. Gartner did a poor job of covering up their bias in this article, which is why I have decided to analyze the article in depth.

Gartner Introducing The Topic of SAP Personas

Later in the article, Gartner waxes philosophically about how Fiori should be looked at differently than SAP’s previous (and failed) UI attempt — called SAP Personas.

Well, wait for a second — what happened to SAP Personas??

Just last year I was proposing SAP Personas as part of a sales team as a new way to use SAP that was much better than the SAPGUI. (SAP Personas is now dead by the way) The article goes on to praise Hasso Plattner for his philanthropic donations to the Hasso Plattner School of Design. Furthermore, how Fiori should be seen as a culmination of his commitment to this high-minded principle or that high-minded principle.

The Wind Beneath One’s Wings

I teared up at one point. I then found my old copy of the soundtrack to Beaches and played the Wind Beneath my Wings.

First, I don’t see what any of this has to do with Fiori’s real prospects. Secondly, once again, these paragraphs (which I do not include so as not to provide too much of Gartner’s content) seem like they were coordinated with SAP’s PR department. Did Gartner get paid extra for Hasso Plattner’s image? What about Hasso’s work with the homeless? This does not at all seem like independent analysis.

Gartner then falls a logical utility hole when providing an utterly spurious example from history — which will confuse anyone unfamiliar with what happened.

“A good analogy is to see this in the context of SAP’s move from client/server to service-oriented architectures. Modern service-oriented architectures were not simply a matter of upgrading infrastructure and then installing the new version. SOA has had direct impacts on the way application design and management occurred. For example, application development teams needed to understand the principles of good service design and associated information architecture implications while manifesting a culture of reuse…. Just like the transition to SOAs, SAP Fiori UX will necessitate that application teams understand the principles of good UX design and put these into regular practice.”

This entire paragraph is incorrect. SOA was one of the high lead balloons in the past ten years in technology. SOA never came to fruition, and SAP never did much to enable SOA.

The Lack of Embarrassment Regarding Referencing SOA

In fact, one could say that a vendor like SAP would have all the financial incentives to push against SOA — not to promote it, as it moves towards more open systems. But more open systems leads to less lock-in, and less lock-in leads to less profit. This is reminiscent of Vinnie Mirchandani’s book SAP Nation, where SAP talks cloud to Wall Street, but then sells on-premises, because of that locks in customers are better.

Therefore if we review Gartner’s logic here, Gartner is saying that something that never took off — SOA, is a reason why Fiori should be considered inevitable? Does Gartner even know that SOA never was successful? It is an interesting approach. I never thought of working fake history into any of my articles.

This entire paragraph brings up a lot of questions to me. This might be one of the only paragraphs that would argue against SAP writing this, as SAP must know that this is incorrect and that people familiar with technology would see this as a significant red flag.

Conclusion

This article is ahistorical. It does not bring up SAP’s previous attempts at user interfaces that were supposed to transform the front end.

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Fiori Question Box

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References

The Gartner Book

 

GARTNER-1Gartner and the Magic Quadrant: A Guide for Buyers, Vendors, and Investors

How to Figure Out How to Effectively User Gartner

Whether you are a software buyer, a large or small vendor, or are wondering how Gartner can help you make better investment decisions, this book will give you new insights to Gartner’s research. By studying the methodology behind such popular analytical tools like the Magic Quadrant, you will understand how a vendor earned its rating and whether or not the ratings are justified!

Understanding Gartner, It’s History, and It’s Incentives

Starting with the history of Gartner and how it compares to other IT analyst firms, this book gives a realistic assessment of the value of Gartner research to a company and provides ideas about other resources that could complement Gartner’s analysis. You will also have the tools to level the playing field between large, medium and small vendors when using Gartner’s analysis in selecting software.

Chapters

  • Chapter 1: Introduction
  • Chapter 2: An Overview of Gartner
  • Chapter 3: How Gartner Makes Money
  • Chapter 4: Comparing Gartner to Consumer Reports, the RAND Corporation, and Academic Research
  • Chapter 5: The Magic Quadrant
  • Chapter 6: Other Analytical Products Offered by Gartner
  • Chapter 7: Gartner’s Future and Cloud Computing
  • Chapter 8: Adjusting the Magic Quadrant
  • Chapter 9: Is Gartner Worth the Investment?
  • Chapter 10: Conclusion
  • Appendix a: How to Use Independent Consultants for Software Selection
  • Appendix b: What Does the History of Media Tell Us About This Topic
  • Appendix c: Disclosure Statements and Code of Ethics

Risk Estimation and Calculation

Risk Estimation and Calculation

See our free project risk estimators that are available per application. The provide a method of risk analysis that is not available from other sources.

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