Customers of SAP AG’s software will now be able to give those enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) tools a facelift for free of charge.
At Tuesday’s opening keynote of SAP’s Sapphire conference in Orlando, CEO Bill McDermott announced SAP Fiori will now be available free of charge to all SAP customers. Those that have already paid for the software will be given credit for their purchase, he said. Fiori is a new user experience (UX) layer that allows enterprises to make the applications running their business more user-friendly, or as McDermott describes it on stage, “consumer grade.”
Also now offered for free is SAP Screen Personas software, an application that allows IT managers to customize the UX layer for enterprise applications based on a user’s role. Since being launched last year, Fiori has expanded to include 300 apps running on its new UX. It’s all part of an effort on SAP’s part to provide a more simple experience, McDermott says.
“A big company shouldn’t be structured like an onion and it shouldn’t make you cry when you peel it back,” he said on stage. “SAP Fiori redesigns complex workflows and makes them intuitive for the users.”
McDermott says SAP made the change based on feedback from its customers. SAP will also be offering paid-for services to help its customers implement Fiori. It’s also making some of its SAPUI5 framework available as open source code so that developers working in-house at enterprises can build their own solutions with the tool. There’s also a promotion available through the end of 2014 making SAP’s UX advisory service free to those who sign a statement of work.
Fiori is a key part of bridging SAP’s legacy software applications into an era where more workers are using mobile devices to complete tasks more often.
Screen Personas is for improving desktop SAP interfaces. There are 16,000 different interactions that it can personalize or automate. The whole idea is literally to minimize the number of clicks a person needs to do in order to complete a task. SAP plans to integrate Screen Personas into the SAP GUI for HTML in the second half of this year.
SAP could have been more proactive about bringing its users a more modern interface instead of waiting to react to their requests for it to be provided, says Ray Wang, principal analyst at Constellation Research. After all, some may have spent millions of dollars on maintenance fees for their software.
“It’s kind of indicative of a legacy software company,” he says. “They all have to figure out how to change their user experience because they have to compete with modern UX in the cloud.”
SAP customers can log in to SAP Service Marketplace or HANA Marketplace to download the free apps. Customers credited for a previous purchase of Fiori should note that credit expires Dec. 31, 2015.