How Are HR Renewal and SAP Fiori Changing SAP HCM Employee & Manager Self-Services? Q&A with Jeremy Masters

July 17, 2014

Thank you to everyone who joined our online Q&A on the latest on HR Renewal and SAP Fiori and their impact on SAP HCM Employee & Manager Self-Services. 

HR 2015 speaker Jeremy Masters of Worklogix took reader questions on ESS, MSS, Fiori and Renewal in this one-hour live chat on what's changing in HCM UX and UIs, and if, how and when to leverage HR Renewal and Fiori for ESS & MSS.

You can review all the discussion in the chat replay, below, along with edited Q&A transcript. 

Live Blog Renewal 2.0, Fiori and ESS/MSS: Q&A with Jeremy Masters, July 17

SAPinsider: Welcome to today's Q&A! We'll kick off our Q&A today at 12:30 ET - just about a half hour from now.

Post your questions at any time below, then join us here when Jeremy Masters joins the online chat with HR 2015 conference producer Kaitlin Searfoss.

Kaitlin Searfoss: Welcome to today’s Q&A on self-services and how SAP Fiori and HR Renewal are changing UIs and deployment of ESS/MSS.

Jeremy, it’s so great to have you here today! Thanks for taking some time to answer questions from our readers. 

Jeremy Masters: Thank you Kaitlin, it’s great to be here today! Thank you to SAPinsider for hosting me. This is such an important topic for SAP HR customers given the current environment today. SAP has thrown a ton of new functionality at us within the last few years and I hope to demystify some of it for you on this Q&A!

Kaitlin Searfoss:  I know it will be a busy discussion and we’ll try to get to as many questions as we can today. I’ll let you get started!

Comment From Guest

What will be the future of WebDynpro for ABAP? Will SAPUI5 replace that UI technology completely?

Jeremy Masters: Although not official from SAP, WebDynpro ABAP technology will slowly be replaced by SAPUI5 in upcoming versions.

Since WebDynpro is not optimized for mobile technologies (and has had some performance challenges with certain implementations), SAPUI5 is being regarded as the next gen UI technology. But , don’t fear.  WebDynpro ABAP is by no means dead – many of the existing services within SAP HCM still rely on WebDynpro. It will take time…


Comment From Clark Dennison

Any thoughts if SAP is again going to reshape is P&F technology to accommodate SAPUI5?

Jeremy Masters: Hi Clark, great question. One could assume that the Process and Forms framework would move to SAPUI5, but as of now, there has been no word of that. Of course, the approvals can be handled by the SAP Fiori workflow inbox but the forms themselves have yet to be converted. We shall wait and see.


Comment From Mauro

Considering long term visioning, is Fiori going to replace HR renewal? From a business prospective, is a combination solution HR Renewal plus Fiori the best of breed which a vendor can propose in order to obtain benefits from both sources?

Jeremy Masters: Hi Mauro,

Great question. SAP Fiori will not replace HR Renewal, but rather think about it in terms that SAPUI5 will be the unified UI technology going forward for SAP. For HCM customers, this means that HR Renewal can be the go-forward HR Professional (and ESS and MSS) self-service tool, but now the new services offered by SAP will look more and more like SAP Fiori. I predict we will see a “merging” of the concepts. SAP Fiori as a product suite should be considered now just another set of services of which HR Renewal can leverage.


Comment From Aliya, Terry, Rose and Bill (Fossil)

Hello, thank you for being here.

Kaitlin Searfoss: Thanks for joining us!


Comment From Silvio Galery

From your answer, I would like to know more about this: I have several WD4A developed in our SAP. Do you know how easy is to migrate them to HR renewal?

Jeremy Masters: Hi Silvio,

Migrating WD4A (WebDynpro for ABAP) applications to SAPUI5 may or may not be easy , depending on the complexity of the service. It's one of those "it depends" answers :) . One thing you need to be aware of is SAP's roadmap - you wouldn't want to port over an application that is already coming out in UI5 as the next release from SAP. For example, SAP is now working on making all of CATS in the SAPUI5 framework which will replace the WD4A app.


Comment From Clark Dennison

Do you have any statistics on adoption rates for HR renewals or Fiori?

Jeremy Masters: I don't have any statistics, Clark, from the adoption rates but from the buzz that I have heard at HR2014 (in both Orlando and Nice) as well as at SAPPHIRE 2014, there's a ton of interest. Also, you can always attend the SAPInsider conferences where you can discuss with fellow colleagues.

Comment From Kenton

Even though Fiori is now free, it still requires significant configuration to implement. In your experience, how willing are organizations to implement Fiori and do you see a difference in willingness based on the size of organizations?

Jeremy Masters: Hi Kenton, You bring up a good point. 

Yes, SAP Fiori does require setup and configuration (specifically around SAP Netweaver Gateway) – in transaction SEGW for you techies out there.

As far as customer’s willingness to implement based on size, I don’t necessary see this is the case. Mostly I have seen customers’ willingness to implement based on their current roadmap for self-services. If they are on the cusp of a new or refresh of their self-service framework, then HR Renewal and/or SAP Fiori is a likely direction, since this has been established as the go forward direction from SAP.

Comment From Kenton: Thank you…

Comment From Marie Shively

For a company with limited resources, which product is the quickest implementation with the least cost involved?

Jeremy Masters: Hi Marie, hope you are well and enjoying your summer!

Both HR Renewal and SAP Fiori have a set of “out-of-the-box” services, and both need SAP NetWeaver Gateway. It’s hard to quantify an implementation unless we know scope. There are still many services (as of today) that are missing, so you will inevitably need to use existing WebDynpro ABAP to fill that gap.

For any services that are not delivered in either technology, you will probably want to build using SAPUI5 and not Web Dynpro ABAP, but you might run into a staffing roadblock since there are not (yet) a ton of good UI5 developers.

Comment From Kir Chern

Hi Jeremy, Hello again. My question: What does it takes to customize/enhance a UI of the latest ESS/MSS on HR Renewal or Fiori which is on SAPUI5 ? Example: add a new field, change the label etc. What skillsets or know-how is required to be competent to do the job?

Jeremy Masters: Hi Kir, It’s always great to see you on these Q&As!

As far as skillset needed for the latest ESS/MSS, a resource familiar with web services is needed on the SAP NetWeaver Gateway side (typically an ABAP developer).

As far as the front end work, you will want a resource familiar with HTML, Javascript, JSON, CSS. You can see additional information here: UI Development Toolkit for HTML5 Developer Center  

Also, check out the SAP Fiori Design Guidelines.

Comment From jags

In current implementations, employees and managers access ESS and MSS via EP. What will be the role of EP when we go for NetWeaver Gateway-based HR Renewal?

Jeremy Masters:  Hi jags!

EP - Enterprise Portal - can be leveraged as it is today for SSO, personalization, content management, knowledge management, etc. This does not need to change.

SAP now has additional options for you in terms of entry points including NWBC (NetWeaver Business Client, NetWeaver Business Client for HTML, SAP Fiori Launchpad) in addition to the SAP Portal. There are pros and cons for each. This could be a topic for entire Q&A in and of itself!

I personally feel passionate that you should stay away from NetWeaver Business Client (NWBC) thick client - not a very scalable solution.


Comment From Zubair

Are there any additional licensing costs to be considered when implementing HR Renewal?

Jeremy Masters:  Hi Zubair, No, HR Renewal is part of the standard licensing agreement.


Comment From Gareth

Does HR Renewal completely change the look and feel of ESS/MSS?

Jeremy Masters:  Hi Gareth,

Yes and No. From an entry point perspective, absolutely. The concept of “lanes” is new to most SAP folks – we are used to the portal having tabs such as “ESS”, “MSS”, and “HR Self-Service” (or something similar). The concept is similar to some other SaaS applications.

With HR Renewal, the navigation and taxonomy of the portal is different. Also, the styling is different from the previous Web Dynpro ABAP, as well as the CORBU theme from prior self-service deliveries.


Comment From Aliya, Terry, Rose and Bill (Fossil)

Which apps would you recommend for a quick start with Fiori, considering we have limited resources… for a proof of concept.

Jeremy Masters: Hi guys,

Typically I am seeing Leave request as one of the ones out of the gate that can be used as proof of concept. If you leave request process is fairly streamlined, start there.


Comment From Ida

Is it true you have to repeat all customizing from ESS/MSS if you want to use HR Renewal ? I mean not only actions for HR functions but also profiles for CATS, etc.

Jeremy Masters: Hi Ida,

SAPUI5 for CATS is coming (from what I am aware in SAP's roadmap).

To answer your questions, it's hard to say a definitely yes or no, but rather it depends on what you have customized. Some of the new UI5 apps have already included additional functionality that might address gaps that you had previously customized for.


Comment From Jen

Does this apply to non-HR WD4A as well, or would that be a question for someone else?

Jeremy Masters: Hi Jen,

I cannot speak for SAP, but I do think the plan for SAPUI5 is pretty universal from SAP regardless of module. Directionally, this is where they need to go in order to make their applications "run simple" and mobile-friendly.


Comment From Satish

Which technology - HR Renewal or SAP Fiori - can be best used in SAP Enterprise Portal for SAP UI5 experience on existing Portal?

Jeremy Masters:  Hi Satish,

Both technologies can be consumed by the SAP Portal. Some would claim that HR Professional (with its use of “lanes”) would be the better option for the portal, while Fiori apps would be best served up using the new SAP Fiori Launchpad.

Check out the SAP Fiori Launchpad option here.


Comment From Tarun Sarpal

Is it more prudent to advise clients going to HR Renewal by next year to wait for some time to see how everything unfolds? Then they have better visibility on which way to go - Fiori or HR Renewal.

Jeremy Masters: Hi Tarun,

Good question. I am not sure waiting will help. I say this because SAP will be constantly innovating and coming up with a newer (better) technology (or so it will try to convince us). It is clear that SAPUI5 is here to stay, whether you consume that via HR Renewal/ESS/MSS or via the SAP Fiori apps.


Comment From Connie

Could you provide a link to SAP's most recent roadmap?

Jeremy Masters: Hi Connie,

Geez, I wish I could get my hands on that! The best way you can do this is to attend the HR conferences, read blogs, listen to podcasts.

For our part, we did a pretty neat webcast during HR2014 in Orlando with Todd Middlemis, Brandon Toombs, and Justin Morgalis. You can check it out here.

Comment From Guest

How does Adobe Forms fit in within UI5, if at all?

Jeremy Masters: Probably not at all :( I can't imagine SAP going back to retro-fitting P&F Adobe technology into SAPUI5.

Comment From Ernest

Do all PA30 user exits or dynamic actions still work properly under HR Renewal?

Jeremy Masters: Hi Ernest,

At the current time, dynamic actions are not leveraged using these technologies (duh!), even on the Roadmap forms. (For information on what Roadmap forms are and how they different from FPM or Adobe forms, click here.)

However, including dynamic actions as part of Roadmap forms is currently on SAP’s roadmap, but I don’t know when it would become generally available to customers. Something for us to keep our eye out for...


Comment From Guest

Are there any infrastructure or system changes needed to support UI5? Browser requirements?

Jeremy Masters: UI5 works best on modern browsers. Check out the UI5 toolkit for specifics, as this will change as we move forward.


Comment From Silvio Galery

What is the minimum version of EhP for HR Renewal (SAP ECC)?

Jeremy Masters: Enhancement Package 6.


Comment From Geoff Williamson

Hi Jeremy, can you tell me what the user experience looks like for clients running Employee Central and the UI enhancements coming with HR Renewal?

Jeremy Masters: Hi Geoff,

You hit on a BIG item - how will the user experience be for customers who run two different systems such as SAP and SuccessFactors? There are a few ways to make this transparent to the end user, but it requires knowledge around single sign-on (SSO) as well as “mashups”.

By “mashups”, I mean a concept in which you can pull in content from another system. So, for example, if you are logged into your SAP Portal, you can pull in screens (via SSO) to SuccessFactors cloud app. It can work the other way too, where you can pull in SAP screens (e.g. WebDynpro ABAP, SAPUI5, etc.) into a page within the SuccessFactors UI. What you will need to work on is the branding, the look-and-feel, as well as of course the SSO.

Not something out of the box, but can and will be done for customers having both solutions.


Comment From Alfonso

Licensing costs: All content, in servers and apps, and in a standard SAP system without portal, will be free in terms of licensing costs? So there will only be fees for consultants’ services but not for the product licenses?

Jeremy Masters: That's correct, Alfonso. SAP Fiori and HR Renewal are included within the SAP licensing.


Comment From Alfonso

Talking about mobile solutions, would it be better to adopt only Fiori? Is HR Renewal ready to show the screens correctly in mobile devices?

Jeremy Masters: Hi Alfonso,

Great question. HR Renewal is not fully mobile friendly yet because some of the links will take you to a WedDynpro ABAP application. However, SAP Fiori is not the answer necessarily, since there are only 7 HR apps currently available. Isn't this fun?!

Comment From Chetan

Is it possible to use the UI5 applications available in the SAP Fiori in the new HR Renewal landing page? Let me give an example: We do have Timesheet application developed in UI5 in SAP Fiori wave1. However we do not have anything on the UI5 front in ESS or HR Renewal. So can we utilize the SAP Fiori application in HR Renewal, as both the systems do use the Gateway and Odata concept?

Jeremy Masters: Yes.


Comment From Nakul Subramaniyan

What is the suggested option with regard to the Gateway? Should it be local to HR or a satellite gateway? What are the advantages/disadvantages of either?

Jeremy Masters: Nakul, that's a great question for the techies out there. This depends on how much you will use the Gateway with other modules. If only HR will use the Gateway, then it should probably be local since it would require more infrastructure on another server. If other parts of your business will use oData, SAP Fiori, SAPUI5, etc. , then it's technically more scalable to have it in its own server /farm with the capability to scale up.


Comment From Sowmya

What is the future for ESS/MSS as we have SuccessFactors also available from SAP? WIll ESS/MSS with its new technologies ever stop and SAP will one day offer only SuccessFactors as a viable solution? A bit of a concern here, as we consultants need to be on top of technologies that SAP offers for the HR space. This is more of a generic question regarding ESS/MSS.

Jeremy Masters: Hi Sowmya,

Both solutions (Core HR) and SuccessFactors will exist for years and years to come. No one should let the 2020 date fool you. Customers will have a choice to use both systems, depending on their current investment, priorities, budget, etc. So, to sum up, SAP ESS/MSS is here to stay.


Comment From Jason Busiek

I am getting ready to start on a new project that will be implementing SuccessFactors, HR Renewal, and Fiori. The customer is keeping their core HR with PY and BN on premise, but everything else will leverage SuccessFactors. This seems like a very confusing situation to keep switching UI and navigation. With your knowledge of the roadmap, would you have any suggestions on how to best utilize this combination for employees and managers?

Jeremy Masters: Hi Jason,

Great question. I touched on this in a previous question. The answer is that you can manage both, though it's not as straightforward as we would want it. You can establish so-called "mashups" between the two systems (in either direction), and manage the SSO between them. Sounds like a fun project. :)


Comment From Guest

What strategy would you recommend for companies that are using ESS MSS WDA in NWBC HTML (not using UI5 yet), but want to provide mobility to the managers?

Jeremy Masters: Ugh! Tough one!

Find one or two apps that are the most used (approvals, time sheet, leave request?) and leverage the SAPUI5 app. Unfortunately, I don't think you can do a whole lot with WD4A in terms of beautifying the mobile experience. Lots of "pinch and zoom" sadly....


Comment From Andre Sousa

Hi Jeremy, nice to meet you again! Do you think SAP moving towards UI5 design with SAP Fiori means WebDynpro ABAP and SAP NWBC for HTML will become obsolete in the near future? Do you think they will still deliver solutions for HCM in WD ABAP?
Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

Jeremy Masters: Hi Andre!

I wouldn't say in the near future. WD4A will still have a long tail, but I don't think there is any further development work going on from SAP at least. They are now focused on SAPUI5, and how they are merging HR Renewal, SAP Fiori, and the current ESS/MSS frameworks.


Kaitlin Searfoss: We’ll have to wrap up today’s Q&A here. While we couldn't get to all the questions today in the hour, I want to thank everyone for joining us! 

For more from Jeremy, you can view his past Q&As and interviews on ESS/MSS and other SAP ERP HC topics on our HR channel. I also hope to see you at SAPinsider’s HR conference in Singapore October 13-15, and we’re already planning all the sessions – including Jeremy’s – coming up at  HR 2015 in Las Vegas, March 3-6.  

And a big thanks to Jeremy Masters of Worklogix for joining us today. Jeremy, thanks again!

Jeremy Masters: Thanks for having me SAPInsider! A quick (shameless plug) for my upcoming SAP PRESS book on HR Renewal, ESS, and MSS. You can find that here

Also, I will be speaking at SAPInsider in HR2015 - Kaitlin is pulling together an  amazing show!  Hope to see you there. And please follow me on Twitter @jeremymasters and check out my website blog.

Kaitlin Searfoss: Thank you, Jeremy - looking forward to seeing everyone in Vegas!

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