HR Renewal - 5 Key Personal Takeaways
HR Renewal is delivered as an add-on for SAP ERP enhancement packages and forms a key part of SAP's core renovation program to modernize the user interface of its self-service solutions. Once it had been installed, activated, and configured in a demo system, it seemed the right time to take a step back and assess its real selling points. Comparisons could also be drawn to NGA’s User Experience Research Report – Mind the Gap. This report draws some very interesting conclusions and is well worth a read. Based on a survey commissioned by NGA, it highlights the gaps in perceptions
around the effectiveness of existing HR technology between employees and their HR Leaders. It will put these key takeaways of HR Renewal in a realistic context and will show how the technology is starting to address some of these issues. Here are 5 key takeaways of the solution to consider.
1. Landing page/role-based functionality
The concept of HR Renewal is based around the landing page and the use of lanes. What this offers the end user is a single point of access to their respective role-based content. How this content is formed is done differently to previous portal roles or homepage framework configurations. Instead, content is split into catalogs, based on combinations of chips and pages using the Suite Page Builder (SPB). Once these pages/catalogs are linked to security roles in the backend, you pretty much have the makings of the catalogs for the landing page.
The other interesting aspect is the flexibility available in setting up the content. Personalization can either be enabled or disabled at page level. In other words, when the user logs in for the first time, the end user can select the lanes (chips) they wish to display in their landing page (out of their available catalogs). These lanes can of course be changed or shuffled around at any time like widgets and preferences are saved for subsequent sessions. Alternatively, end user personalization can be disabled altogether, and so all lanes relevant to a page/catalog would be shown by default without the option to hide them.
Personalization is also not restricted to what is displayed or hidden. Lanes can also be re-named and favourites pre-selected, useful for example if the expanded lane contains a large number of services. Wallpapers can also be changed based on a series of predefined images. Finally, even though role-based content can be shuffled around, a harmonized view is presented even when switching between roles.
2. SAP UI5 content
At the heart of SAP's UX strategy as a technology is the SAP UI Development Toolkit for HTML5 or SAP UI5. Based on jQuery and HTML5, it offers the potential to provide a rich and interactive user experience through extended UI controls. It also supports cross-platform rendering suitable for desktop and mobile. HR Renewal 2.0 offers a mixture of SAP UI5 and WebDynpro ABAP (WDA) applications, but it is clear with each Feature Pack that there is a gradual transition from WDA to SAP UI5 for ESS/MSS and other applications. Examples include the Employee Profile, Leave Requests, and Timesheets. Comparing them to their WDA predecessors, they are visually more appealing and intuitive to use.
They also offer a different way of displaying data through the use of card and tabular views (see above), the former of which can be compared to the concept of 'swiping' on tablets and smartphones. It is also important not to confuse SAP UI5 applications with reference to HR Renewal and SAP Fiori as one and the same. SAP Fiori follows its own design principles, which more often than not means there are separate applications for each.
3. Technical prerequisites
HR Renewal can be run either through the Enterprise Portal or through the Netweaver Business Client (NWBC). For those without an existing portal infrastructure, the ability to use NWBC is a significant benefit and cost saver. However, that decision is often dependent on other factors i.e. the nature of the system landscape in terms of variety in technology (ABAP/Java) and the level of integration needed with different systems – some of which may be external and non-SAP.
Given that the landing page and other applications run on SAP UI5, SAP Gateway is a prerequisite for the OData services running in the background. However, as of SAP Netweaver 7.40, the core SAP Gateway components are delivered through a standard SAP_GWFND 740 component as opposed to having to install multiple components (GW_CORE, IW_BEP etc.) separately. Therefore, with the license for SAP Gateway now included as part of the SAP Business Suite, one of the key barriers to adopting SAP UI5 within the landscape has effectively been removed.
4. Workforce Viewer
As of HR Renewal 1.0 Feature Pack 4, SAP introduced its own organizational charting solution - Workforce Viewer. Based on SAP UI5, it provides a graphical representation of an organizational structure that displays organizational units, positions, and employees with their respective cards. It also offers role-based access for the employee, manager, and HR professional. These roles drive the different views that are available i.e. People for a view of reporting lines and Organization for a view of the structure in terms of organizational units and positions. Workforce Viewer brings an alternative to the Nakisa-based embedded orgchart solution. Being based on flash, this again proves the point that SAP is keen to transition its content to SAP UI5, thereby making it more device and browser compatible.
At the same time, Workforce Viewer is not only about being able to visualize the structure. It also serves as a key trigger point for object-specific processes - typically WDA-based forms using Floorplan Manager (FPM). This is a logical approach and these processes can be configured accordingly. Overall, it is a relatively configurable and versatile tool offering the same key features and more such as performing actions on multiple employees, handling of multiple object types, and multiple manager scenarios (reporting lines).
The standard Search lane is available for the different roles displaying the search results in an expanded lane view (see below). The great thing is it searches across multiple object types referred to as categories. The search results themselves list basic attributes of each respective object to be able to identify the correct employee, position, or organizational unit.
From here it is possible to launch contextual actions based on the relationship between the end user and the selected Search result object. Another feature that stands out is the ability to search by validity date which again is critical when it comes to HR. Overall, as a lane on the landing page, this represents a powerful tool for any user to be able to find and execute processes quickly and efficiently.
To conclude, having worked with HR Renewal 2.0, these are some of the personal takeaways from having configured and used it. This first-hand experience has exposed the power of the solution but also it has shown how, as part of SAP's overall renovation program, some of the functionality described above can be seen as steps towards bridging some of the gaps identified in the report.
To learn more on HR Renewal 2.0 register for our upcoming webinar on Feb. 4th, Refresh your SAP UI with HR Renewal