The era of simple design: Why you should build custom apps on HANA Cloud Platform (HCP)


April 19, 2015

Not too long ago we began to focus on the importance of simple design with the launch of SAP Fiori. Since the initial launch of Fiori in 2013 with 25 Fiori Apps, SAP Fiori app portfolio has been growing rapidly having launched over 500 Fiori apps. Standard “out of the box apps “are not enough for every business scenario.

According to Gartner Hype Cycle for Application Development 2013,

“Business users need to be enabled to create custom software applications that once required the assistance of professional programmers.”

Traditionally, it has not been very easy to create simple apps that cross multiple channels and platforms. Some of the reasons include:

  • Absence of enterprise app design framework (creative, problem solving and innovative framework)
  • Lack of development accelerators to build apps.
  • Hassle of setting up complex infrastructure for development

With the maturity of SAP HANA Cloud platform, building custom apps has become a significantly easy and straight-forward process. Here are two major
reasons for building custom apps on SAP HANA Cloud Platform.

Simplify business: Eliminate multi channel gaps within business processes

Custom apps create seamless and simple experience across multiple disconnect channels.

The boundaries of our information and business processes no longer reside within enterprise systems. During day to day business processes, users
interact with applications that are outside the typical enterprise system. Let us take a look at a day in a life of a business user where a user may interact with:

  • Email, Microsoft office products, SharePoint or Internal Portal
  • Internally built applications
  • Vendor Portals
  • Multichannel data-sources- such as social media, machines, hardware devices
  • ….and many more touch-points.

Although the information that the users need to do their job is available
to users, it may be hard to get to or not in an easy to consume format as the information is spread across multiple channels that cannot be easily combined. This results in significantly lowering the productivity of users and creates gaps in the business process. Given our experience working with a travel agency, it took more than 45 minutes to book one transaction due to multiple touch points with various vendor portals, too many disconnected systems, password entries and wasteful steps to find information in internal systems.

By combing Design Thinking with Fiori on SAP HANA cloud, we can easily and quickly remove the gaps within multi channel processes.

  • Apply the Design Thinking framework to discover such ambiguous gaps.. You can utilize prototyping tools to identify solution features.
  • You can then build a customized app to fill these gaps in business processes by creating simple, seamless and coherent experiences across multiple channels. Building and deploying Fiori apps in a HANA cloud platform significantly reduces the development effort and complexity. Unlike traditional on-premise development that takes upfront setup of infrastructure, there are no prerequisites needed for building apps on HCP. When you build an app on HCP, you go through a simple registration process on the HANA cloud platform that is very easy to understand.

Speed of Delivery: Addressing the “instant” needs of business

Building customized Fiori apps allows us to meet the “instant needs of the business”. In the past, a custom
Fiori app could be built as early as in 2 -4 weeks. Today, the app deployment process with HCP enablement tools such as mobile services (HCPMS) and WEBIDE makes the app development significantly faster. In our recent experience, it took us just a couple of hours to build Fiori apps with HCP.

  • HCPMS: is a full featured and secure mobile platform in the cloud leveraging ODATA. HCPMS also includes enhanced features such as integration o location aware technologies and social media etc.
  • WEBIDE: A web based development tool designed to support the E2E application lifecycle for SAPUI5 It is the recommended toolset to extend Fiori applications and create new ones. The layout editor and pre-built template gallery features of WebIDE, makes it possible for non-technical users to quickly build apps.

The speed and agility that comes with HCP is a true reflection of the observations sited by renowned technology author, Peter Hinssen who describes the evolution of cloud in 3 phases.

1. First Phase of IT- Traditionally, companies hired an army of in-house developers to build highly custom software solutions which used to take years or even decades to deliver the solutions business .

2. Second Phase of IT-Where companies bought software and spent months or years to customize it.

3. Third Phase of IT- Deliver solutions directly from the cloud, which takes just a few minutes to weeks to deliver solutions to business

Today, businesses are very eager to change the way they operate to lower their costs especially in industries that experience lower growth rates.
Simple Design does exactly that. At the same time, the marketplace is changing at light speed and organization’s internal dynamics are still rigid and they are not able to keep up with the change. To achieve simple design for the survival and relevance in today’s marketplace, it is crucial for businesses to
take advantage of the cloud. SAP HANA Cloud Platform opens limitless possibilities for innovative & secure applications that can be quickly built & deployed.

Have you tried designing new apps in the cloud? What kind of frameworks and accelerators did you leverage?
Curious to learn more. Please write to me at I would be happy to schedule a complimentary envision workshop with you where I can demonstrate the frameworks and tools for building apps in the cloud.

Experience the only fully integrated approach to health, safety and employee relations