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Drive Productivity Through Personalization with SAP Screen Personas

Individualized, Role-Based Screens Allow People to Get More Done in Less Time

by Peter Spielvogel | SAPinsider, Volume 15, Issue 2

April 1, 2014

Learn about one of the key new solutions in SAP’s user experience portfolio: SAP Screen Personas. The solution allows you to create individualized, role-based screens that enable users to align transactions to specific user roles, personalizing the screen for the user. The simplified user interface limits visual distractions and increases productivity.


The consumerization of IT has changed the way people view technology in the office. Not only do people want to bring their own devices and attach them to the corporate network, they want business software to work as easily as what they use at home works.

Consumer-focused companies such as Amazon and Facebook, and the hundreds of thousands of mobile apps available, have defined the standard for usability. They don’t come with instructions — you look at them and know what to do. This is now what people expect from all software. Unfortunately, most companies have not been able to meet this expectation.

In many industries, products follow a predictable evolution path. Customers first look for basic functionality; whichever vendor has the most features wins. When all suppliers meet this requirement, the next battleground is reliability, and then price.

Enterprise software, which is a relatively mature market, has already gone through these phases. Now, the race is on to see who can deliver the most desirable usability.

The Cost of Poor Usability

Poor usability causes a variety of problems for organizations, including:

  • Low productivity. If you can reduce the number of steps a person needs to go through to complete a transaction or business process, you will make them more productive.
  • Poor adoption of enterprise software. If software is hard to use, people will find other ways to do their jobs that bypass the systems of record.
  • High training costs. If software is intuitive, you do not need any training. Consider that most mobile applications do not come with user manuals.
  • Uncertain data quality. If people are confused about what data to enter in which field, it is more likely that they will make mistakes in their day-to-day online activities.
  • Excessive employee frustration. Fighting with software on a daily basis can certainly lead to increased job dissatisfaction.

While there have always been ways to improve software usability, they generally required highly skilled and expensive experts in computer programming, database management, or back-end system integration.

But the challenge that many organizations face is that in the realm of enterprise software, there is no one-size-fits-all solution; each business has unique needs based on its industry, products, and processes.

Companies should now take part in a user experience renovation process that focuses on the fact that different roles use information in different ways. A salesperson and a shipping clerk may both need to access the data related to a sale, but they each want to see different fields to perform their job functions.

The first step in a user experience renovation process, as with any IT project, is to identify people’s needs. Using a design thinking approach works best for this, as it allows people to follow a structured method to balance desirability, feasibility, and viability to reach an innovative solution (see Figure 1). Steve Jobs captured the essence of this in his address at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference in 1997: “You’ve got to start with the customer experience and work backwards to the technology.”1

Once you have a goal, it’s time to take the next step in the user experience renovation process.

A design-thinking approach

Figure 1 — A design thinking approach helps bring experts together to focus on improving the user experience

Personalized, Easy-to-Use Screens

SAP has recently introduced a fast and easy way to modify screens that is accessible to both IT managers and line-of-business users. SAP Screen Personas allows you to quickly and easily simplify SAP GUI screens to align the transaction with specific user roles. Every person in an organization can see the specific information they need to perform their role effectively and efficiently. 

SAP Screen Personas lets you personalize the screen for each user so he or she can be more focused and avoid visual distraction. Because it is so easy to use, it reduces the time and cost of personalizing SAP screens and cuts the ramp-up time that new users require to come up to speed on SAP software.


SAP Screen Personas lets you personalize the screen for each user so he or she can be more focused and avoid visual distraction. It reduces the time and cost of personalizing SAP screens and cuts the ramp-up time that new users require.

SAP Screen Personas provides access to SAP systems through a browser, eliminating the requirement to install SAP GUI on every desktop system. While this capability has been available through the web GUI, what makes SAP Screen Personas unique is that it allows editing of individual screens (subject to proper security and authorization rules) to simplify them.

The solution also gives you granular control over every item on the screen. You can hide fields you don’t use, move elements around to fit your workflow, change colors, and add your own graphics. You can simplify complex screens through pre-filled fields and pull-down menus, saving time on data entry. You can merge tabs together to streamline workflows and automate keystrokes using a powerful macro engine. Best of all, most controls are drag and drop. Even scripting is as simple as  recording your keystrokes and attaching them to a button.

Scripting allows you to streamline transactions and execute dozens of actions with a single click. You can even bring information from several transactions onto a single screen. Customers can increase employee productivity by creating dedicated screens for each role that contain the specific information they need for their transaction — nothing extra and nothing missing (see Figure 2).

Because SAP Screen Personas is built into the foundation of SAP software, it installs quickly, leverages existing security settings, and follows the standard transport process to bring new screens into the production environment.

SAP Screen Personas

Figure 2 — SAP Screen Personas allows customers to increase productivity by easily modifying screens based on roles and responsibilities; this example replaces SAP GUI for a technology company that uses it across several locations

The Many Benefits of Simpler Screens

SAP Screen Personas allows customers to make their screens more intuitive, improving the user experience. With a simplified user experience, companies have been able to:

  • Boost call center productivity by 233%. A manufacturing company used SAP Screen Personas to simplify screens for its call center staff. Now, operators enter all information on a single screen (transaction IW51 in SAP ERP), rather than multiple screens and tabs. This allowed them to reduce the time it takes to create a notification; each person now handles 20 calls per hour, up from six. In addition to the productivity improvement, the company also saves money on training.
  • Simplify the sales quotation process from eight screens to two. The sales reps for a medical technology company use transactions VA21, VA22, and VA23 in SAP ERP to generate quotes for their highly configurable systems that include hardware, software, and regional preferences. Before SAP Screen Personas, they were frustrated by the number of clicks required to get this done. Now, using a streamlined process that they built using SAP Screen Personas, they were able to reduce the number of screens from eight to two.
  • Increase user efficiency by up to 500%. An entertainment technology company wanted to provide quick and intuitive access to the most commonly used transactions, simplify the user interface, and eliminate non-value-added data entry. The company used SAP Screen Personas to reduce the steps required for one of its most common transactions from approximately 30 to only five.
Learn More

Customers now have the power to simplify SAP screens to drive productivity through personalization. SAP Screen Personas provides a fast, easy, and cost-effective way to deliver the right information to the right person at the right time.

For more information about SAP Screen Personas, visit Or, join the conversation at

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Peter Spielvogel
Peter Spielvogel

Peter Spielvogel ( is Senior Director of Product Marketing for SAP Imagineering, the team that created SAP Screen Personas. He works with SAP customers to explore disruptive technologies across cloud computing, mobility, big data, and user experience. Peter has more than 20 years of experience in marketing, product management, sales, and software development.

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