Should SAP Fiori be Freeori?


John Appleby, Bluefin Solutions makes the case for Fiori as a ‘free’ item rather than being charged for separately.

This is a guest post from John Appleby, global head of SAP HANA, Bluefin Solutions. He is writing in response to debates around SAP’s approach to Fiori pricing. We offer this as a conversation opener and not necessarily representative of diginomica’s position. 

simple UI fioriI’m in the midst of a very interesting pilot project right now with SAP that I can’t talk about yet, but I encourage you to come to the ASUG Annual Conference on June 2nd at SAPPHIRENOW in Orlando to see the presentation from Aviad Rivlin and I (assuming we get accepted!).

As part of this project, we’re moving a copy of Bluefin’s SAP CRM system onto SAP HANA, in the cloud, with the Fiori Launchpad for Sales Representative role. This involved upgrading our CRM system, getting Fiori running and then migrating it into the HANA Enterprise Cloud. Interesting times. As part of this, I came to believe after conversations with Dennis Howlett and Jon Reed that Fiori should be free. Let’s delve into why.

What is Fiori?

SAP Fiori is a set of business role-based “apps” that sit inside the SAP Fiori Launchpad, which is a container. It aims to increase productivity over the existing SAP products with the Apple iPhone philosophy: offer less functionality, but much easier to use, from anywhere. I’ve seen it for our CRM system and it is easy to use and slick. Wave 1 was 25 apps, Wave 2 is another 25 apps, and there are a further 4 waves already underway.

The Sales Rep app, for example, provides pricing, create and track orders & shipments, invoicing, account lead and opportunity management. All the basic stuff you need on the move.

So why make Fiori free?

Fiori dramatically improves the user experience

The WebUI screens on SAP CRM are OK, especially for power users, but the Fiori Sales Rep role is much more usable for your day-day users. Plus it is a responsive interface that runs on a Mobile. For other Fiori

Looking at how quickly the cloud players are moving (just look at the next-generation user interface from Workday), SAP needs to get people on Fiori, to protect the installed base from cloud attrition. In addition, SAP needs the good PR from happy customers much more than it needs the revenue from Fiori

Customers do not want to pay for in-situ innovation

Customers pay 22% maintenance for their software in most cases, and they expect to get something for this. Workday provide their new UI for free, which is what customers expect. Now, Fiori does provide benefits and so some customers are willing to pay up, but yet others aren’t, and will move to another vendor before paying their existing vendor for innovation in their core.

Fiori doesn’t always have a value case

Fiori is $150 a user flat fee, which is small change if you are using one of the bigger roles like Sales Representative. However if you are an employee, $150/user just to do approvals is a huge barrier to entry.

As a result, customers will only buy Fiori when they can implement multiple apps, or to subsets of users.

Fiori will drive end user licenses

I don’t have any facts to support this, but it makes sense from a strategy perspective. Fiori Launchpad hosts multiple Fiori apps for a given person. If I’m a sales rep then I could have approvals, accounts, and a bunch of other things. Each of these apps requires some user license of some kind – Fiori is never free.

If users are using Fiori, they will want new capabilities too, and those new capabilities have a sell-on, but only if people are using Fiori. Get customers on it, and get the account team in to sell-on.

Fiori will drive HANA adoption

One of the biggest barrier to HANA adoption is upgrades. Our system was on CRM 7.0, and needed upgrading 3 revisions to do either Fiori or HANA. This was a much more painful exercise than the HANA migration, and it required quite a lot of downtime, testing, rework and code changes. Plus, we haven’t done it in our productive landscape because there wasn’t enough business benefit.

Making Fiori free changes that equation, because I’m pretty certain our CRM business owner would love to have Fiori (but can’t justify paying for it). So Fiori drives the upgrade to CRM 7.0 EhP3, which is also the version that HANA needs. Driving customers to upgrade to the latest version makes driving HANA adoption that bit easier.

Final Words

SAP has some history of doing this, having provided NetWeaver Gateway free for many scenarios, and creating an Open Source version of SAPUI5, which is the framework for Fiori.

I believe that including Fiori in the underlying user license would be a very smart business decision for SAP. It would protect and drive core user licenses, improve the net promoter sentiment of SAP, and drive Suite on HANA adoption – all of which are key metrics in SAP’s business model.

There are people who are paid on Fiori sales who may disagree, but to my mind they should be paid on adoption, because Fiori adoption drives the underlying sales model.

What do you think?

Disclosure: SAP is a partner at time of writing.

    Comments are closed.

    1. RickBullotta says:

      The moment Fiori was announced, my immediate response was that “wow, you’re charging customers for making a relatively crappy interface usable?”  I totally agree with your assessment and that the “pull through” and stickiness justify giving it away.

    2. applebyj says:

      RickBullotta  Hey Rick.

      I’d say a corporate-centric UI into a people-centric UI. But I think we mean the same thing.


    3. qmacro says:

      Hi John

      A nicely laid out post. Let me say up front that I’m ambivalent about the charging. I’m an SAP hacker first, and a business person second, and make no excuses for that. I also must make a disclaimer, that although I work for Bluefin, and am not an SAP employee, I’m working right now on the SAPUI5 team in Walldorf (SAPUI5 is the underlying toolkit on which Fiori is built); nevertheless here, as always, opinions are my own.

      I’d like to augment the “what Fiori is” (and is not).

      What Fiori is and is not.

      What Fiori is not is just an improved UI. If the UI were just to be “improved”, then, taking your CRM example, the screens in your desktop browser would be different, easier to use, but they’d still be desktop bound. With Fiori of course they are of course easier to use, but it’s not just an in-situ UI improvement as many people seem to suggest. Suddenly you can access your CRM (and other) functionality from any device, anywhere. For a business user or the finance department considering handing over $150/user that isn’t a difference that matters too much, but for me, and for the long term productivity and support costs of the business, it is. 

      What Fiori also is, is a step change in technology. Again, not just an improvement in UI. As you know, in order to produce an “Apple-like experience” it’s not just a case of changing the colours and fonts, removing a few fields and changing around others (this is more the SAP Personas style of UI improvement). The front-end functionality has been written from scratch. From a user’s perspective, this doesn’t matter, but from an application developer team’s perspective (and working at SAP Walldorf on the SAPUI5 team I see this first hand) it matters a great deal. Rewriting applications is not trivial. And rewriting an application so that its work well regardless of form factor (smartphones, tablets and desktops) adds another dimension. 

      New front-end platform for business applications

      Fiori and UI5 (I’m meaning both SAPUI5 and OpenUI5, which is the open sourced version to which you refer above) are the new go-to UI/UX technology sets for the current future at SAP. So in my mind there’s a difference between “simple but effective UI improvements” and a new front-end platform for business applications. Having worked with SAP for over 26 years (since 1987), I’ve seen the progression of user interfaces, starting with the 80×24 green screen dynpros of the mainframe era.

      Should SAP charge this nominal sum for Fiori? In the light of what Fiori really is and represents, I would say it’s certainly not a clear cut “no”. The arguments you state above certainly point towards a “no”. But I remain ambivalent, and would like to leave you with one more thought. 

      Open Source

      I’ve been pushing SAP and the open source worlds together for a very long time (since around 2001). It’s been a tough journey, one voice against, well, not active disbelievers, but large throngs of people who simply didn’t get it at all.

      We’re seeing some parts of the future of business ever more reliant on open source. Open source from a software perspective and open source from a developer perspective – the SAP ecosphere needs to attract non-SAP developers to build out this new generation of UX/UI on the scale and quality that’s required. To this end, one thing that SAP did in Dec 2013 was to open source the technology behind Fiori – this has become OpenUI5. Giving away your software has been total anathema to SAP in the past, and comes at a great cost – the development effort that has gone into UI5 over the past 4 years. But this is an investment in the future, one from which SAP’s customers will ultimately benefit.


    4. says:

      qmacro  Thanks for the detailed reply DJ. Here’s the issue to put it into perspective. I go into a Workday demo and they talk about new functionality, we do the usual PPT drive by and then they throw an iPad at us and say: “Get on with that.” Almost – but not quite all the deskside functionality is available. 
      Then they say – here’s a URL to try on your laptop – give it a spin. 
      This is seriously scary stuff because guess what? Some analysts wouldn’t know an application if it cam and smacked them in the face. But for those that do – this is a negotiator’s wet dream. 
      Now – this all comes with the service. No messing around with new cost line items to negotiate. Nada. And you can get it into user’s hands the day the connection is established to the Workday data center with your credentials. 
      Downside?  I have to take what Workday give me (+/- – depending on security attributes etc) but then if I’m in this style of app then I’m already rethinking WTF I am supposed to be doing and what I need to get me from A to B. 
      Long story short – this is going to be a battleground where €150/user/app will grate enough to get otherwise long term customers to rethink their SAP strategy when alternatives look much more customer friendly.

    5. greg_not_so says:

      fscavo dahowlett applebyj diginomica < other than investors’ guidance, i don’t see a problem of Fiori being ‘free’.

    6. dahowlett says:

      greg_not_so except that it isn’t unless it is bundled then it’s almost…

    7. qmacro says:

      Hi @dahowlett thanks for the response, and I totally see where you’re coming from. I know that this is more of a business conversation than a technical one, and what seems to be more critical is that is this is potentially a business conversation in the hands of the customer who is seeing competition (to SAP) favourably and the $150 is perhaps the last straw. 
      But then I ask myself, what is the cost of migrating business data and processes from one platform to another? Will this really break the camel’s back? Unfortunately I don’t know enough about Workday to be able to compare and contrast. I do know about Ariba though, from the days before SAP’s acquisition, and was involved with a couple of projects to migrate major procurement operations to Ariba’s cloud platform. It was a messy and painful time all round. And as well as towards the business, my finger was tending to point mostly towards the restrictive cloud-based solution and the way the vendor handled requirements. 
      But anyway, I digress. 
      I totally agree that this will be a hard pill that customers can choose to swallow (or not), and I’m not unsympathetic with the idea that SAP should give Fiori away for free. Not just for the customers’ sakes, but for SAP’s sake too. 
      One (honest) question I have about the Workday stuff: do they offer the technology / UI platform for customers to develop their own Workday-look-and-feel-alike applications? 

    8. says:

      qmacro  Well – the current 5 year comparisons suggest WDAY can easily beat SAP on TCO. Customers are asking for those deals. 
      Shifting data from any system to any other system is always a nasty process but it would apply regardless of whether it is coming or going to any of the large players. 
      No – right now they’re maintaining (almost) complete control over the technology which is the right decision at this stage of development. However, opening up is a topic we discuss regularly. 
      We think that over time – the topic will become moot but that’s another discussion.

    9. qmacro says:

      @dahowlett – thanks. 
      As you may know i’ve always seen SAP as a development and runtime platform for business applications first, and a suite of business applications second. I know that’s deliberately contra, but it does wake people up to the reality that they otherwise might not have thought of. 
      So for me, if there’s a business suite out there that doesn’t offer the ability to write custom applications, it’s not something I personally will spend much time looking at. 
      I totally grok the cloud ‘fit your business into our app model, or fit off’ that some vendors offer, but I just don’t buy it.

    10. says:

      qmacro   LOL – in which case you may well be expressing the exact problem that SAP faces. 
      The business question is: “After X years of development, is there really anything left for back office?” 
      SAP’s answer ‘should’ be – “You’re right, now let’s talk about simplifying based upon best practices for your industry and then extending out to the new world beyond back office and/or exploiting this rock solid back office as part of finding better ways to run your business.”
      Simply saying: “We have a great toolkit” won’t sell a single new deal in 2014.

    11. Jamesy_boy says:

      qmacro  Hi DJ i’m going to disagree with you there, initially from a customer perspective the initial Fiori APPS are a new UI on existing SAP functionality

      For instance the generic approvals app – UWL replacement, but not in so many words. 

      Paystubb App – Different from ESS how ?

      SRM – Shopping cart and approvals apps etc. 

      So from our perspective it feels like were paying twice. 

      We would love to have this new UI in and working now, as John says it would improve end user sentiment towards SAP no end…… 

      But for a end user with 6000 ESS accounts and four figures of MSS accounts there is not an insignificant cost involved. 


    12. se38 says:

      If someone has to pay for Fiori, maybe we should ask Jonathan Becher 😉

    13. applebyj says:

      qmacro  Thanks DJ. Your input is as always well thought out.

      I may have underplayed the impact of Fiori in my post, and I think that it’s precisely because it is a step change in user experience that it should be included in the product.

      If it comes across that I think Fiori isn’t valuable then I got that across wrong. It is one of the best things that SAP has done in the last 10 years.

      SAP has a choice: does it want to charge users for a better experience, or does it want more customers on the latest version, using the software more, being more relevant and with a bigger market share potential for SAP HANA?

      I haven’t seen the business model but as far as I know, Fiori is chump changed compared to the $1bn HANA and $12bn support revenues in 2013. If I were SAP I’d be much more worried about HANA adoption and protecting the support revenue than making a few dollars from Fiori.

    14. rmtiwari says:

      wizbongre qmacro applebyj diginomica #EnSw customer does not want to pay for UX/ to reduce on 22% but not on little innovations

    15. rmtiwari says:

      wizbongre qmacro applebyj diginomica ..current state is result of focusing/spending on the wrong end from both(SAP & Customers)…

    16. qmacro says:

      Jamesy_boy Hey James! Disagreement is allowed, you know 🙂  

      I wasn’t saying that SAP *should* charge, I’m saying that it’s not as clear cut as some people are making out. 

      And from a customer and user perspective, the initial Wave does indeed build on existing functionality. But I stand by my point about the technology and the fact that it’s more than a UI uplift.

      Certainly, with a large user install base, the sums are not insignificant.



    17. wizbongre says:

      rmtiwari qmacro applebyj diginomica It boils down to balance between features/functions and how shiny it looks – what is more important?

    18. qmacro says:

      applebyj Yep you make a very good point about the bigger picture (HANA adoption) – that’s the greater question that SAP is facing. 

      I also agree with you that Fiori (and UI5) is one of the best things that SAP have done in a long time. Second perhaps only to the ICF of course 🙂

    19. wizbongre says:

      rmtiwari qmacro applebyj diginomica (And to answer my own question, I think both in balance but I’m a consultant developer…)

    20. wizbongre says:

      rmtiwari qmacro applebyj diginomica #ENSW providers (#SAP) & their customers often have a different perspective. Do they align?

    21. rmtiwari says:

      wizbongre qmacro applebyj diginomica …why should we moan about something that we never really cared to invest on ?

    22. rmtiwari says:

      wizbongre qmacro applebyj diginomica perspective: there must be some motivation for little/big innovations for all partied involved

    23. applebyj says:

      rmtiwari wizbongre qmacro diginomica Think you guys are trying to put essays in 140 chars. There’s a blog comments section for this 🙂

    24. se38 says:

      And before I forget: everytime we talk about 150$/User/App. But it’s not only about these costs, you also have to establish a new license management, because it’s a complete new model (or are there already solutions in the market?).

    25. wizbongre says:

      applebyj rmtiwari qmacro diginomica 🙂 Fair point!

    26. rmtiwari says:

      applebyj wizbongre qmacro diginomica’s just a lot easier here and in talking style – UX/USP of twitter 🙂

    27. rmtiwari says:

      wizbongre applebyj qmacro diginomica not asking to reduce 22% rather free innovations shows the mindest of #EnSw industry to innovation

    28. rmtiwari says:

      wizbongre applebyj qmacro diginomica ..that mindset has killed any motivation/focus for innovation/UX before and might do it again!

    29. rmtiwari says:

      wizbongre applebyj qmacro diginomica ..a threat ( e.g. we get this from Workday for free) is not a “positive motivation” for innovation.

    30. rmtiwari says:

      wizbongre applebyj qmacro diginomica ..the problem: as a whole (vendor & customer) does not have a “positive motivation” for innovation.

    31. says:

      @rmtiwari  It would make far more sense for you to try set out what you’re trying to say in a single comment. I really can’t understand your points when you try make them in 140 chars.

    32. rvdmarck says:

      This is exactly the issue that SUGEN (SAP user Group Executive Network) is making. So I am in favour of Fiori for free.

    33. says:

      rvdmarck  Other user groups are saying the same. Time to ratchet the discussion with SAP?

    34. rvdmarck says:

      dahowlett Our question is already on the table officially and we expect an answer anytime now! 🙂

    35. tbroek says:

      rvdmarck dahowlett  Exciting, keep us updated!

    36. tbroek says:

      se38  Weirdest thing about Fiori licensing is that the users already have been paid for with an enterprise license. Fiori licensing is on top off 🙁

    37. rmtiwari says:

      dahowlett  my point is that customer should put forward their demands in a way that encourages and rewards innovation/good-deeds and penalize the wrong ones.

      Customers should convey that they are ready to pay for Fiori and will encourage such UX improvements in future but will not pay 22% maintenance charge for existing less than satisfactory user experience. That will be a positive motivation for SAP/Developers to invest on UX. 

      Above approach would be different compared to penalizing and de-motivating any improvement by demanding it to be free while ready (reluctantly) to pay for maintenance.

      Hope it’s slightly better explained than in 140 chars 🙂


    38. se38 says:

      I know. The Q here is how (and who) should manage the additional license. Is the license bound to you (Twan) or “one employee at Ciber”. Is it transferable to another employee? Which department is responsible? How to measure? Etc, etc. I really don’t need these problems.

    39. InFullBloomUS says:

      SAP_Jarret applebyj YES! And not just true for $SAP. If legacy ERP/HRMS custs don’t get BIG value for maintenance $$, they’ll flee sooner.

    40. InFullBloomUS says:

      SAP_Jarret applebyj And when they flee, the smart ones will consider ALL their options. So “Freeori” is a critical holding action.

    41. tbroek says:

      applebyj qmacro  Personally I feel SAP is ‘blocking’ progress and innovation at customer site by raising the licensing bar 🙁
      Same thing as with SAP Mobile Platform.

    42. says:

      rmtiwari – it’s a novel idea but one I can 100% say will not be used by customers. They’re already concerned to know what 22% brings them…why would they “encourage” innovation which has been 90% absent for 10 years – despite pleas to SAP?

    43. SAP_Jarret says:

      Excellent article John and a topic I have “tried” to beat the drum on as soon as it was announced that Fiori would come with additional licenses for SAP’s OnPremise customers.  It is especially front and center in the SAP HCM world where the 7 apps are for the most part duplicating functionality in SAP (that customers already pay for) and EVERY employee needs to be a user for items such as the Pay Slip App. While I think for a company that is using multiple Fiori apps that cost is reasonable at the end of the day it is my experience that most companies (even F100) start slow with 1 or 2 apps and if a company with 40K employes wants to start with the Payslip for example it is just a “little” hard to justify a $6 Million Dollor cost for that 🙂

      I am glad you mentioned some of SAP’s SaaS competitors as it is important that SAP stays competitive with their UI/Mobile offering especially as we have heard over the past few months that SAP is “all in the cloud” and to top it off SAP does NOT charge for this functionality in SuccessFactors for example. I have had several SAP HCM customer ask me why they are being “punished” for being OnPremise especially given the annual maintenance dollars they pay.

      You brought up a lot of great points but I few extra’s I will add.

      1. Fiori needs to be one of the cornerstones in SAP “simplification” plan if they are truly serious about it and if there is low adoption due to the licensing that how “simple” is SAP REALLY for most customers. Making it free will speed up the simplification and help SAP make a better business case and lock in some of the customers.

      2.  Consistency – SAP does not charge for UI/UX enhancements or mobile functionality as add-ons for their cloud offerings.  They are now “all in the cloud” so why are they singling out their long term, loyal, maintenance paying  OnPremise customers and requiring them to pay additional for the same type functionality.

      In todays competitive Enterprise Software landscape UI/UX is table stakes not an add on revenue item which I have no doubt SAP will see but hopefully sooner, rather than later, as they will lose customers who feel like they are either being nickled and dimed or “do nothing” and stay on an older technology stack and are “wowed” by a competitors offering that has functionality like this as part of the subscription.

    44. philww says:

      rmtiwari wizbongre qmacro applebyj diginomica #Freeori? Qu is one of market share, not principle!

    45. lukemarson says:

      SAP_Jarret  It’s like the mobility topic that you have also been vocal about for about 1.5 to 2 years. On-premise customers are footing the bill for on-premise and cloud innovation and having to pay additionally for both.

    46. lukemarson says:

      se38  If there were, it was come at an additional license 😉

    47. rmtiwari says:

      dahowlett @!/philww my view – this kind of short term, un-sustainable, so called market-share strategy of branding any UX innovation as some kind of  *compensation* represents the mindset that actually caused that problem of absent UX innovation for 10 years…

      if Fiori will be given as compensation, will there be Fiori wave 3/4 and so on? Of course, there is a threat from competitors and that may play a part ….but there won’t be any motivation on SAP’s part to carry out such improvements. 


    48. cappie72 says:

      fredverheul #FreeFiori YES! It is an strange situation when #SAP requests additional license fees for user access to their applications!

    49. applebyj says:

      SAP_Jarret  Thanks Jarret. I’m trying to ensure that I start a positive conversation with SAP around the business benefits of making Fiori free. This is the same approach I took with OpenUI5 and I think it is a language that the decision makers understand.

      From my experience at the Investor Symposium, I believe firmly that Fiori is a cornerstone in SAP’s simplification strategy. Agree that making it free would accelerate the strategy.

      A few people have made the consistency point and from a customer perspective I get it, but I don’t think it’s compelling to SAP.

      And yes, being relevant matters! I think SAP get this and I suspect they will follow the lead of OpenUI5.

    50. zuryariv says:

      I’m probably going to regret this, but I completely disagree with this position (and 100% of the responses). Important disclaimer – While I am an SAP employee, I do not in any way represent SAP in this discussion. I’ve just been doing UI stuff in SAP for the last 10 years and thus have an opinion.

      1. Fiori is a change for SAP not only in the way apps looks like, but also in the way you will be able to renovate on UI going forward. Meaning that by transitioning customers to Fiori it not just solves the immediate problem today, but rather puts SAP in a place where is can rapidly change the UI in the upcoming years. Because one of the things we are seeing most is that the velocity of UI changes is increasing. So its not enough to just fix the UI now – its all about laying the groundwork (oData, REST, etc.) for changing it tomorrow. Therefor I look at Fiori as not just a product but also as a target architecture, one which is much better suited to deal with future changes.

      2. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. The best channel SAP has today to bring innovation to customer is through the account executives and through its salesforce. You can write 5 gazillion blog posts in SCN on how cool a technology is, but not one CIO/head of LoB/Decision Maker will read it. It will get all of us geeks (present company included) excited, we’ll read the specs and debate whether we will use FPM or WDA PB for our next project. But the adoption will come only from two things a) a sales rep going and pushing it to his account or b) a new app with clear value prop which uses the technology. I keep bringing up the NetWeaver Business Client as an example. Something which we have been showing in TechEd since 2008 and still the adoption is very low compared to the Fiori adoption. Another example is SAPUI5. I have been there in the inception meetings of SAPUI5 (f.k.a. “Phoenix”) and I can tell you that all of you guys getting excited about SAPUI5 is cool, since you are the early adopters. But only after SAPPHIRE last year, when Fiori was launched – did we start seeing the “Pull” from customers. Becasue they realized that SAP is puuting all of its weight and making a strategic investment in HTML5. So – If Fiori is free, it will be an IT technical upgrade decision and not an HR purchase decision and that is a very different discussion.

      3. About the price itself – I’m not a sales person (thank god!) but from what little I know, the objections here are not really based on reality. A list price is exactly what it is – A list price. And customer look at the package of 50-150 apps, and the price tag and tell the AE – We will only be using part of the capabilities and based on that they negotiate a discount. Furthermore – to the best of my knowledge, Customers who bought the license for the initial 25 apps are getting all the subequent apps (wave 2,3 and 4) as part of the same license. At what amount of new apps does a 100 EUR price tag become reasonable? 100? 200? 

      4. Last but not least – The comparison to workday or any other cloud lifecycle is wrong (I mean you, Dennis). If you want to talk about cloud, then lets compare apples to apples and not apples to watermelons. Compare the velocity of innovation we have in SuccessFactors, In Jam, in the Cloud Portal or the Cloud Platform to Workday.

      Will be heading for the bunker now.


    51. applebyj says:

      zuryariv  Hey Yariv

      Thanks for speaking out. I intended to start a discussion and was making a one-sided case. You make the other side, and it has some merits.

      And I certainly don’t mean to say that Fiori has no value. It has a lot of value, and that’s why SAP charges for it and customers are buying it. I just believe that many more will adopt if it is included in the user license, and that will bring on knock-on benefits that are much bigger than charging for it.

      I tried to structure this piece very carefully to bring the benefits of including Fiori into the user license, rather than saying it is valueless and bashing the value of apps. There is value, though I would argue that many employees in many firms only need 1-2 apps, and $150 per user in those instances is the same cost as the employee license again.

      An alternative would be a Freemium model, but I think that may be more confusing than anything.


    52. zuryariv says:

      @applebyj – I understand what you are saying. But here is my point – you have all the tools to build your own “fiori” app – You have SAPUI5, you have Gateway. Build your own app in that sense is free (for existing licensed users). So – Getting the apps, built on SAP’s understanding how you need to do things is the premium offering in this case.

    53. says:

      zuryariv  Good to hear from you Yariv and I appreciate all the disclaimers so I’ll frame this as a reflection of the disconnect I often see between those inside SAP and those outside. 
      The commercial reality in the field is that significant numbers of customer and their UG representatives see no reason to pay for a UI (their perception) when they already pay for maintenance which has consistently been held up as *inclusive* of enhancements for some years now. 
      Perception IS reality – ergo Betamax & VHS springs to mind. 
      I have to giggle when you talk innovation because if you were correct then WDAY would not be on a $1 billion trajectory by 2015, SAP would not be concerned about it, neither would it be concerned about competition in FICO, CRM or HCM. The truth is that SAP is deeply concerned on all those fronts. 
      Case in point: Flextronix – long time customer – gone. HP – long time customer – gone. Pieces of Nestlé – gone…the list gets longer by the day. These are not trivial deals. 
      Customers are increasingly concerned that they are seeing nothing by way of consumable applications innovation that delivers breakthrough value other than tweaks for back office. That’s not where they are looking for action. 
      Now – does a whole landscape view change that when it embraces HANA? Possibly.
      You talk correctly on negotiation but that’s not the point. From the customer’s perception which do you think sounds better? A: Mr Customer – we have this great UI replacement. You can have it for free. There may be some work to slot it in but the basic deal is free. Users will love it and you’ll get more value because more users will want it. That will probably mean some more licencing down the track but here you go. What’s not to like? OR B:  Mr Customer – we have this great UI replacement. It’s $150/user/app but (wink, wink) I can get you a great deal – probably down to $20. Whats not to like? 
      I have always said – I will gladly pay a premium for value which is new, clear and obvious, but I won’t pay for something I can get from a competitor that’s bundled into my price and which I perceive as a good deal. Right now – Fiori does not look that way. 
      So – if you’re saying the customer is wrong – then fine. Try convincing SUGEN and the other groups because so far that argument doesn’t wash with the people who ultimately pay your salaries.
      Now – there is an upside. Some of what I have seen with Fiori holds genuine promise to opening doors that will mean more revenue  for SAP. But…SAP has to give to get.
      Finally – I have been fielding multiple requests from end user organizations on this topic the last 24 hours. Regardless of what you may believe, customers simply do not see it the way you suggest. There’s no way around that.

    54. SAP_Jarret says:

      zuryariv  While I dont agree with your viewpoint (as you can probably sense from my comment above) and am looking at this from mostly a SAP HCM and HR competition standpoint perspective I do have a lot of respect for you bringing your personal opinion and deep expertise on this topic into a public discussion setting as that take a lot of guts.

      The only way a topic like this moves forward is to get the discussion started and hear a lot of different POV’s much like we saw on the Gateway licensing topic a few years back.

    55. PaulTom1 says:

      Whilst I would love Fiori to be free, I also don’t believe that SAP would of invested in it and developed the relatively good product it is, without there being a license fee attached.  We have seen with other products, e.g. SAP Portal, that if there is no license fee involved, then they do not really invest in the product.  
      However, SAP do need to be careful.  The licensing for future releases of Fiori is unclear.  If you have bought Wave 1, then you get most of the Wave 2 apps included.  It is not clear when they bring the next 1000+ screens how these will be licenced.
      All potential new customers will be shown SAP with this as the frontend, so will expect it to be part of the standard product and I can see SAP having issues if they do not bundle it in. Having said that, when SAP are selling license deals, it is amazing what they discount.

    56. applebyj says:

      PaulTom1  Thanks for sharing Paul.

      The SAP Portal was created in a world where Enterprise Portals could be sold for good money. That world is gone, and competitors are providing UI renewal as part of the core. SAP gets good money from the maintenance install base.

      Yes most of the license bundles I see include Fiori in the mix.

    57. sudhirkgupta says:

      lukemarson vlvl mixed feeling about this though. Paid is one reason lot of small customers are not have #fiori on their 2 year road map.

    58. PaulTom1 says:

      applebyj I agree that most of SAP’s competitors are providing UI renewal for free. My point is though that SAP have never charged a license for SAP Portal and have never invested heavily in it, post the initial EP6 investment. I think the same can be said for other components such as content server.
      I feel that the way SAP works is that unless there is a business case to sell licenses, then there will not be the investment in the product.  With Fiori they obviously did not think about your comment that it actually creates more backend licenses, which I agree with.

    59. sudhirkgupta says:

      lukemarson vlvl its what we call UI transformation. Don’t remember a massive doubled up per user fee for ITS to Webdynpro java journey.

    60. tobiashofmann says:

      lukemarson SAPMentors vlvl after years SAP makes for the 1st time ever a UX that is not bad and then claims success because of $$$ tag?

    61. lukemarson says:

      tobiashofmann SAPMentors vlvl It’s a good point. How do you get in front of decision makers w/o going through sales channel?

    62. tobiashofmann says:

      lukemarson SAPMentors vlvl how about: high frustration factor on client side and willing to do everything to increase EU happiness?

    63. vlvl says:

      tobiashofmann lukemarson SAPMentors that is not even remotely what I said.

    64. qmacro says:

      zuryariv  100% of the responses?

    65. PaulTom1 says:

      qmacro  DJ, I think the architecture, which is free, is the best thing which Fiori is driving.  Whilst I am not seeing many customers buying Fiori, I am seeing an awful lot of customers developing UI5 apps.  It is relatively cheap to install gateway and you’re off and running.  The awareness of this architecture has been partially driven by SAP pushing Fiori.

      Not only that, as it is based on OData and HTML5, suddenly a whole load of non-SAP developers are available to get involved.  For example the UI team I have contains UI Designers, who I specifically choose because they do not know SAP – I want them to design things that look great and have not been influenced by SAP.  In addition the UI5 developers are usually HTML5 developers who have then learnt UI5, not ABAPers who are now trying to develop great looking UI screens.  Fear not ABAPers – your contribution at the ABAP and Gateway level is incredibly important in providing the data and logic to the frontend.

      I agree that the $150 is too high, but SAP are making lots of large discounts at the moment around Fiori. In the end though, if you want to develop your own app, it really isn’t that hard.


    66. esjewett says:

      vlvl Indeed, it’s not. However the situation you describe is incredibly concerning. tobiashofmann lukemarson SAPMentors

    67. esjewett says:

      vlvl If SAP is incapable of getting improvements in front of decision makers w/o price tags, that’s a problem. tobiashofmann lukemarson

    68. andreasmuno says:

      bobcaswell there you go, Bob

    69. jhmoy says:

      Firstly, what a great blog by John Appleby!

      Just adding my thoughts and opinions …

      – The argument that SAP needs a sales channel to get new things into the hands of customers makes me depressed about the on-premise SAP world.  It hands a free kick to the cloud model, where the vendor can push out innovations at will without a sales force (or should I have said, with a SalesForce?).  Surely SAP can do better.

      – When I discussed the free or not free for Fiori argument with a colleague, he intelligently commented that ‘no change is free’.  I thought about it, and in particular for on-premise, that rings true.  Even if you do want Fiori apps, you will need to add NetWeaver Gateway to your landscape, add some server side add-ins,  open up access via internet (reverse proxys, firewall changes etc.), instantiate a (hopefully small) project or initiative to get it all done.  To leverage some Fiori apps, you may need to even upgrade your system or even put HANA underneath it! Check here for the list of apps and their dependencies.  So, irrespective of the SAP list price, implementing Fiori is not free.  

      – And it is not just about licensing of Fiori, there are licensing layers above (to the user) and below (to the application and persistence layer) you may need to add.  As John Appleby mentioned, you still need end-user licenses to leverage Fiori in addition to the Fiori app price (to my understanding it is not built into the Fiori price), you need licenses for underlying applications (of course), and for Fiori analytics apps you need HANA as the persistence, which means to take advantage of these you need the appropriate HANA license …. and be careful, I have seen a customer which paid for HANA on BW which doesn’t qualify for these apps … they were informed they would need to purchase HANA on ERP (of course, everyone needs to check with their account executive).  And finally, to improve the load performance of Fiori apps, SAP is recommending the use of Kapsel which comes with a SAP Mobile Platform license.  So customers need to have deep pockets when you add all this up, not to mention the actual implementation costs from my previous point. 

      Personally I agree with John’s arguments that Fiori should be free.  There is already enough complexity and cost that customers have to burden, the added cost of Fiori (even if small) can be what breaks the camel’s back when it comes to customer decisions about adoption.  And I don’t think SAP can afford in the long term for a slice of customers to find their own UI path in the interest of short term earnings, because this type of fracturing of the on-premise user base (where some customers go with .Net solutions etc.) in the long term will cost SAP.  


      John Moy

    70. says:

      PaulTom1 Just a quick comment (thanks for putting your informed stances into the thread). 
      When you say: “I feel that the way SAP works is that unless there is a business case to
      sell licenses, then there will not be the investment in the product. ”
      You could well be right. And THAT is something that I personally believe needs to change from a business case perspective. It has to do with how you get buy in and market share in the so-called digital economy. I have in mind a blog post to get into some of the reasons for this, which apply well beyond SAP.

    71. zuryariv says:


      Hi Dennis,First of all – can we agree to stop with this “disconnect” theme? As someone who speaks to customers and developers on a daily basis (and hears what they think about our UI on a daily basis), being told that i’m disconnected just because I happen to be an SAP employee is simply out of order. You hear things from customers, I hear things from customers. We can all come to whatever conclusions we want from the things we hear without being labeled “disconnected”.
      Second – I agree to your point on the two approaches, but what i’m hearing is actually approach C: Hey Mr. Customer – You have all the tools you want to fix your UI (GW, SAPUI5, etc.). They are FREE. Do you want new apps? New UX paradigms on top of your existing business process? Here is the price tag.
      Which brings up another point that I think gets lost in the heat of discussion. Fiori is not just about new look and feel and different colors of buttons. Most of the work around Fiori is about decomposing the business processes into tasks which are relevant for *users* today. To illustrate – I was sitting with a long time SAP customer and the basis admin told me – i’ve been doing Order to cash for 20 years. You wont convince me that this is an easy process or a simple one. And the answer is – correct. but there are certain tasks within this process which can be decomposed and simplified. That customer ended up adopting Fiori for the sake of one app – which is Invoice Approval. Becasue for them – the ability to make invoice approval easy and accessible to all of their middle management was a novel idea. It not just about making the FI/HR/CRM processes with a better UI for the FI/HR/Sales professional. I think there is a lot of value here and I dont understand why someone would expect to get this value for free.
      @qmacro – Sorry. You are right. The vast majority of responses 🙂

    72. applebyj says:

      PaulTom1 applebyj  So yes, SAP did charge for the Portal. I’m not convinced it was ever a serious revenue stream but they did indeed charge for it.

      On the latter point, success in SAP drives product development. Most of the great products have started with a small SWAT team (think HANA, Fiori, River) and not a huge Engineering team (think PCUI, ByDesign). This supports your point.

      And that’s just it, SAP needs to understand there are other indirect success metrics, like adoption. These are important to the long-term success and not the quarter. Maybe this is the change that needs to occur more than anything.

    73. applebyj says:

      zuryariv  Yariv, we are not going to agree on this, but I applaud your candor. It’s good to stand up for what you believe in.

    74. SAP_Jarret says:

      zuryariv dahowlett  When SAP announced Fiori 7 of the first 25 apps were HR based which tells me it was considered an important strategic area and they are the following:

      Approve Requests
      Approve Leave Request
      Approve Time Sheet
      My Leave Request
      My Time Sheets
      My Pay Stub
      My Benefits

      I keep coming back to seeing your pay stub is not a process SAP has reinvented and many of these HR ones above are not “reinvention” which makes the per employee pricing for SAP HR customers a VERY tough pill to swallow.

      Also great comment jhmoy especially about the sales channel and one would also think that channel would also be happy to show their customers new offerings that dont come with a price tag to help support the many that do.

    75. applebyj says:

      SAP_Jarret I always believe that the best blogs happen when the best stuff happens in the comments. It’s not my blog any more 🙂

    76. edhammerbeck says:

      esjewett vlvl tobiashofmann lukemarson if vendor isn’t up front about price, assume we can’t afford it or somebody is hiding something

    77. SAP_Jarret says:

      applebyj At least I am consistent as have been beating the same drum from the day they were announced

    78. applebyj says:

      jhmoy  Thanks for the kind word John and you make some good points. I love blogs that have a mind of their own and where the good stuff happens in the comments.

    79. kumarrk21 says:

      SAP_Jarret applebyj I don’t get the comments on process simplification. Thought Fiori was about UI simplification; there is a subtle diff

    80. says:

      zuryariv – No-one is saying that value doesn’t have a price. What is being said is that UI refresh with a price tag is not appreciated and especially when it’s handled unevenly, depending on the tech SAP is deploying in the customer landscape. 
      Perception wins, every time.

    81. jhmoy says:

      One thing that perplexes me is the argument that value has a price.  On one level, I can understand why a vendor can argue this.  But with SAP, customers have been receiving enhancement packages for the price of their maintenance dollars for years.  So on another level, charging for Fiori could be argued as double dipping by the vendor.  If I deconstruct ERP Fiori apps technically, they run with SAPUI5 and APIs via NetWeaver Gateway.  Yet SAP released HR Renewals in recent years which included the HR Professionals landing page, again based on SAPUI5 and APIs via NetWeaver Gateway.  Here is an example below which I grabbed from this blog by @SAP_Jarret

      This initiative was to improve the user experience for the end user, in this case targeted at HR Professionals. yet we should not forget that SAP released this without any additional licensing cost.  So, from that perspective SAP customers seem to be getting contradictory messages from SAP.  And understandably SAP customers should be asking why.



    82. Duncanwjones says:

      Kudos to zuryariv for replying, but talking to career SAP implementers and developers is NOT talking to customers. Customers are the CXOs who desperately need to free up budget for vital projects to win and retain their customers. Customer firms have already paid for Fiori several times over. Yes, it is valuable, but insufficient in itself to justify the millions of Euros that customers have already paid for it. The question isn’t Free or Not Free; it is Pay Once or Pay Twice.
      SAP customers, and customer advocates like me, have to help it transition to the new world: the SaaS mindset, whether or not you are SaaS deployment. In this world software providers must invest in current offerings to retain their existing revenue stream, not merely because they think they can package the result as a separate SKU. I agree with John, that it would be in SAP’s interests as well as in its customers’ interests to correct this mistake.

    83. Krisgo says:

      I am rather surprised that this discussion is taking place in the age of self-driving cars, intelligent robots and learning thermostats. Calling a responsive web page an application sounds preposterous, and charging for it outrageous.

    84. qmacro says:

      Krisgo  I’m sorry but I’m not sure I get your point. A responsive web page can be an application, within or outside of the Fiori context. On what basis are you declaring your outrage, exactly? 

      I’m also confused at the current “likes” on your comment, if I’m to be completely honest. Perhaps there’s something I don’t get.

    85. qmacro says:

      @applebyj SAP_Jarret  John, it was never your blog; it might have been your blog POST, but that’s a different matter.

      Yours pedantically


    86. SAP_Jarret says:

      qmacro Krisgo  Since you asked about why I “liked” his comment, I find the fact that a company with 80K employees (one I was recently at) would have to pay 12M USD to have their employees be able to view their pay stubs using Fiori “preposterous” & “outrageous”

    87. dahowlett says:

      InFullBloomUS OUCH !!!!

    88. dahowlett says:

      InFullBloomUS in fairness – @appllebyj licked the ball into play

    89. dahowlett says:

      InFullBloomUS kicked – not licked (typos R me….eeek)

    90. InFullBloomUS says:

      dahowlett Got it. Credit where it’s due. I’ll check out his post too.

    91. dahowlett says:

      InFullBloomUS That was John’s story – we just acted as the platform and moderated both the story and comment threads.

    92. dahowlett says:

      InFullBloomUS BTW – and don’t tell anyone – we plan more of those kind of things 😉

    93. InFullBloomUS says:

      dahowlett My bad. I leaped into the post and comments and missed that intro. What a day!

    94. InFullBloomUS says:

      dahowlett Mum’s the word 😉

    95. dahowlett says:

      InFullBloomUS np – it has been a bit of a moderator’s “challenge” day – but all good – convo has been top quality IMO

    96. sergiothefrank says:

      I like so much the “Freeori” term and I’m supporting it.
      Underline technology is one of the best have never been proposed but comparing proposed functionalists with those in the Business Suite is like comparing a drop with the ocean.
      Half of Fiori Apps in wave 1 are about workflow that at the end I do not see so popular at customer site. Then, I think is a bit odd to count three for Create Sales Order, Update Sales Order and Track Sales Orders and three for the same on the purchase side.
      Wave 2 probably adds 10 interesting functionalities and hundreds more dependent upon HANA.
      I see the terrific power of SAP Fiori but in terms of effort, at the time of WDA, we got similar new opportunities for free (e.g. Lean Sales Order WDA).
      Enhancing a SAP Fiori App is not so easy as most people thinks but from my personal experience, the most critical issue is that expectation about good responsive adaptation to smartphone is not so sure. Have you never tried the MySpend App from an iPhone?
      In add, I got bad feedback about the login process and the missing feature to save user/password into the device (e.g. settings).
      To me SAP Fiori forever but as templates to be finalized at customer site in fast running projects.

    97. Krisgo says:

      qmacro Krisgo  
      Application – something that solves a problem fully
      Web page (Responsive or not) – a partial view into the solution to the problem

    98. qmacro says:

      Krisgo qmacro  I’m very sorry, but I still don’t get the point you’re making. Either I need to drink the kool-aid, or you need to be patient enough to explain how “application vs web page” is directly relevant to this debate. Also, I don’t particularly agree with the distinction you’re making. Perhaps that’s part of the issue I’m having. Ah well.

    99. qmacro says:

      SAP_Jarret qmacro Krisgo  his comment, at least to me, rather misses the point – it’s not responsive web page vs application. As I mentioned early on in this thread, I’m not saying a definite “yes SAP should charge” but I am saying it’s a lot more than a ‘responsive web page’ debate. Details matter.

    100. PaulTom1 says:

      SAP_Jarret qmacro Krisgo  Trust me, a 80K employee company would not be paying 12M USD for Fiori.  It’d be closer to 3M USD if they negotiate it correctly (this is based on my experience on what SAP are offering my large customers).
      However, this is where the whole thing falls down – why would you pay that amount of money, when you could develop your own suite of UI5 apps, meeting your exact requirements and a better UI, for less?
      Not sure about the responsive web page comment, this debate is simpler than that, should improved functionality be charged for by SAP or not?

    101. says:

      PaulTom1 SAP_JarretqmacroKrisgo
      You’re right, app or not, enhanced or re-engineered its irrelevant. I slightly disagree with last sentence. Question is whether SAP should charge for enhancements Once or Twice.  Either charge for them via Maintenance subscription, or unbundle enhancements from support fees and sell add-on apps separately, but not both. The commercial model of subscribing for unspecified future enhancements is obsolete IMO.

    102. jhmoy says:

      Interestingly today, SAP posted this …

      It relates to new HTML5 user interfaces provided for payroll in ERP as part of HR Renewal 2.0.  As per the blog … “This will be the first wave of UX and process innovation for payroll”.  Yet interestingly, similar to my point above, customers get this as part of Enhancement Package 7.  So (to my reading) no additional licensing.  That’s more like it.  But it reinforces my point about how SAP customers seem to be getting contradictory messages on the licensing argument here.

      Have a look at the screenshot below, and tell me that doesn’t look like Fiori …

    103. says:

      Thanks John for the interesting post. Heated discussion is just awesome. I’ll avoid it and will comment on the first paragraph, which was missed out in the talkback 🙂
      Happy to be the reason you started the Fiori project at Bluefin. It will be very interesting discussion at SAPPHIRE. Hope we’ll be able to share the details of this pilot soon for the early feedback and raise the bar of the Fiori value for the end users. 


    104. SAP_Jarret says:

      Great to see the CEO of SAP largest user group ASUG join into the “debate” with a strong opinion

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