In the days before digital transformation, when mainframes were the defining architecture of IT and users sat in front of IBM 3270 terminals, the challenge was relatively simple: Users knew about the ponderous behavior of IT and tapped their numbers into the keyboard – without any visible result on the screen. Using the tab key, the professionals jumped from input field to input field. The keyboard buffer worked through the series of numbers and the screen masks ran behind. After a sip of coffee and a deep breath, the system was back in sync and the next data record could be processed.
Then SAP changed the user interaction: The keyboard buffer was deactivated, and data could only be entered if the input field was also visible on the screen. Backlash was immediate, because SAP’s screen masks built up very slowly and numerous intermediate steps were necessary until the end of the traction. Consequently, the processes slowed down noticeably.
With the new Fiori program interface, many things became more colorful. Did they also get better? Not at first, because the graphic embellishments of the colorful Fiori interface consumed a lot of computing power, which is not always available on smartphones and tablets. One solution would have been to give every SAP user a gaming computer with a potent graphics card, but that seems rather counterproductive in a business context.
The slow beauty of Fiori was now doubly irritating because SAP already had the fastest database available running in the background. Hana’s in-memory computing was impressively fast, it’s just that this speed didn’t reach end users.
When asked about this contradiction, SAP Chief Technology Officer Juergen Mueller explained at the DSAG Technology Days 2022 that a lot has been invested in this technology in recent months to ensure that Fiori apps do not continue to be the bottleneck between Hana and users. Thus, the next version of Fiori should be beautiful and fast – SAP users would certainly deserve it for their patience.