This article is part of our Essential Guide: SAP Sapphire Now 2014: Special conference coverage

Sapphire 2014: SAP CEO McDermott declares war on ‘complexity’ and sets Fiori free

Bill McDermott, SAP CEO, devoted his opening keynote at Sapphire 2014 to declaring war on business process “complexity”

SAP CEO Bill McDermott (pictured) devoted his opening keynote at Sapphire 2014 in Orlando to declaring war on business process “complexity” in corporate organisations.

McDermott said he will dedicate the supplier to militating for simplification in business applications and processes: “SAP is simple from now on.”

As a token of this drive for simplification, he announced that the SAP Fiori line of apps and SAP Screen Personas software will now be included in underlying licences of SAP software. 

For existing customers, SAP will provide a software credit redeemable against future software sales. In addition, the supplier will offer a portfolio of user experience (UX) services, including design, rapid deployment and custom development to enhance customer engagement.

Philip Adams, chairman of the UK & Ireland SAP User Group, welcomed the free Fiori announcement.

“SAP’s announcement that it will be providing Fiori and Screen Personas to customers as part of their maintenance contracts is good news. There has never been any doubt about the quality of these new user experience tools, and with the news today it will be much easier for us, as customers, to take advantage of them," he said.

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"The user experience of SAP has been a complaint of members for some time. As part of Sugen, and at a local level, we’ve been pushing SAP on this matter as our members felt strongly that they shouldn’t have to pay separate licence fees for Fiori. This move shows that SAP is listening to its customers and takes the concerns of user groups seriously.

"A survey we’ve just run showed the vast majority of organisations expected Fiori to be provided as part of maintenance and that additional licences would put them off using it. With companies paying up to 22% in support and maintenance fees, this isn’t surprising. 

"What’s interesting though is that well over half of our survey respondents stated they would adopt Fiori in the next 12 months if SAP made it available without licence fees to customers with maintenance agreements. This should be a win-win for SAP and our members," said Adams.  

"Fiori should improve user satisfaction and as a result we wouldn’t be surprised to see user adoption of other SAP software increase. Screen Personas also being offered at no extra charge to customers paying maintenance will also serve to improve the user experience and make it much easier for organisations to tailor the SAP UI to the needs of different users,” he added.

McDermott also announced SAP Simple Finance, billed as a set of solutions to bring the putative simplicity of the SAP cloud, running on the database Hana, to finance. Finance departments will be able to run all their mission-critical processes in real time on the cloud, said the company – including planning, accounting, treasury, financial operations, risk and compliance. The product is available for 25 industries in more than 60 countries.

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