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SAP Fiori Apps: A valuable addition to the BI landscape of hospitals and nursing homes

How SAP Fiori Apps reduce manual work for healthcare analytics

The turn of the year is approaching and several annual changeover tasks are pending in your BI landscape. Many tasks can be automated, but there is one unpopular task that most people are not spared: requesting, creating, and importing various flat files into the BI systems. The work is as time-consuming as it is error-prone: errors creep in every year for work that only needs to be done infrequently, especially if the files to be created are extensive and complex. If the files contain errors, a game of ping-pong begins between IT and the specialist department.

Files are often created manually because the information is not available in a system that could be connected to SAP BW as a source.

How can the process be improved here?

One proposed solution for recurring, extensive work is the creation of an SAP Fiori app. This could be used to enter the data in a S/4HANA or BW system. These can be created using templates (Fiori Elements) and standard components and adhering to the Fiori design specifications via an SAP UI5 framework. However, SAP Fiori apps can be used for more than just data collection. Once you have gained initial experience with the apps, you quickly realize that there are a large number of application scenarios: The mapping of complex processes or the visually appealing display of the results of SAP BW queries.

SAP Fiori apps - what do they do?

SAP UI5 apps are applications that support companies in their processes and represent customized and adaptable solutions. They are usually part of a broad business solution.

If these apps comply with SAP’s Fiori guidelines and therefore have a standardized and user-friendly user interface, they are referred to as SAP Fiori apps.

SAP UI5 apps use ODATA services as interfaces between the SAP system and apps. ODATA (Open Data Protocol) is an HTTP-based protocol for data access between software systems. There is a strict separation between business logic (front end) and data provision (back end).

While SAP Fiori apps are an integral part of an SAP ERP solution, they are rarely used in the analytics environment. This is despite the fact that technical expertise in the development framework is often available within the company. SAP Fiori apps offer the advantage of a consistent user experience and adapt to different screen sizes – including mobile devices – thanks to their responsive design.

A distinction is made between the following types of apps:

  • Transactional apps: allow you to carry out your business processes in a simple way (e.g. creating master data or an order)
  • Info sheets: allow you to display the most important information and aspects of an object (e.g. a customer)
  • Analytical apps: are used to display your company’s key figures.

Here you can find types of SAP Fiori apps and database requirements in the SAP documentation.

In this blog, I would like to present developments that we have discussed or implemented with customers from the healthcare environment. These customers all operate a ‘traditional’ data warehouse system from SAP (BW on HANA), to which a large number of different source systems are connected. Analytics applications/evaluations are made available via the FIORI Launchpad, among other things.

  1. SAP Fiori app for entering missing master data
  2. SAP Fiori apps for mapping complex processes
  3. SAP Fiori apps for monitoring and starting process chains
  4. SAP Fiori app as a front end for evaluations

1. SAP Fiori app for entering missing master data

Initial situation:
Many different files are created and imported because they are missing as a basis for evaluations in the source systems of a data warehouse.

Pain Points:
The solution (file import) can be implemented quickly, but is very time-consuming to operate:

  • Changes in extensive and therefore confusing files are prone to errors.
  • There is no process to guide the user through the data entry process.
  • Checks in the file cannot simply be carried out. Therefore, values can be entered that are not correct.
  • Special characters or different code pages repeatedly cause problems when importing data into the data warehouse system

Solution:
SAP Fiori apps can be created for data entry, which store data either in an SAP ERP system or directly in the data warehouse system.

As this form of master data entry is an application, the user is guided through the process. The user interface is simple and intuitive to use. There are value help and checks for data to be entered (e.g. checks for overlapping periods). An upload function can be implemented so that initial data can be transferred from existing files.

If the data is saved in an SAP BW system, the start of a process chain can also be triggered to reload the data that has just been entered.

Application examples:

  • Recording the opening hours/subject assignments of operating theaters
  • Recording beds and bed blocks (see screenshot)
  • Recording customer-specific service catalogs and groups that are relevant for evaluation purposes.
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Erfassung von Betten und Bettensperren (Protoyp, NÖ LGA)

2. SAP Fiori apps for mapping complex processes

Initial situation:
When analyzing an evaluation request, you discover that the required data for an object

  • is available in different systems (often only as files)
  • the data content has different characteristics (no master data harmonization)
  • and different information about the object is available.

Pain Points:
The basic data for an object must be created and harmonized in time-consuming, manual steps.
The effort is particularly high if individual information on an object is not recorded in a source system and is therefore not available. Either the data can be supplemented to a reasonable quality through queries or the data cannot be evaluated comprehensively.

Solution:

Creation of several SAP UI5 apps that guide you through the collection of the necessary master data and transaction data. This harmonizes the recorded data right from the start. Data that is relevant for comprehensive evaluations is entered as mandatory fields in the application. An authorization and blocking concept can also be integrated for more extensive apps. It is also possible to link to other systems so that information available there can be viewed.

If the data is stored in an SAP BW system, the recorded data can also be processed and evaluated immediately via process chains.

Application example:
Study management app: recording/evaluation of clinical studies and scientific work
The SAP Fiori Launchpad is used to call up the recording of master and transaction data as well as evaluations.

SAP Fiori Launchpad mit den unterschiedlichen Apps

The data on the studies can be recorded in a standardized and clear manner. Harmonized master data, e.g. for persons and organizations, is a central component.

The data for the studies is entered via a multi-part data entry mask:

Erfassung Daten zu einer Studie

Further information can be found under CubeServ Study Management App – CubeServ.

3. SAP Fiori apps for monitoring and starting process chains

Initial situation:
The process chains are monitored by people who generally do not work in the backend of the data warehouse system and are therefore not permanently logged in there. In addition, the status of the most important loads should also be clearly displayed on large screens in the IT area.

Pain Points:

  • Logging into the backend can be cumbersome if there is no single sign-on for monitoring the process chains.
  • It should be possible to monitor the process chains both on mobile devices and on large screens (e.g. flat screens on the wall in the IT area)

Solution:
Creation of SAP Fiori apps (tiles in the SAP Fiori Launchpad), each of which shows the status of a process chain. By clicking on a tile, you can see details of the process chain run. To display this data, OData services were set up on the log tables of the process chains.

Application example:

Darstellung des Status von Prozessketten (umgesetzt mit NÖ LGA)

4. SAP Fiori app as front end for evaluations

Initial situation:
For data that is processed in a BW data model and then made available via BW queries, there is no visually appealing display in the front end. The basic data for this BW data model should also be recorded via an app and displayed graphically.

Pain Points:

  • The customer did not have a BI front-end tool (e.g. SAC) designated as strategic by SAP.

Solution:
Creation of an SAP Fiori app that is future-proof, as it can also be made available in parallel to SAC evaluations, for example, due to its similar ‘look and feel’.

BW queries or CDS (Core Data Services) views can be easily connected as the basis for SAP Fiori apps, thus enabling the efficient and customized development of the apps. The necessary OData services can be generated from a BW query/CDS view, which significantly reduces the effort required to create the interface between the SAP Fiori app and the database.

Application example:
Overview of ongoing IT projects in the individual locations of a hospital network. This project was implemented with the Lower Austrian State Health Agency (NÖ LGA).

The background is to recognize the additional burden on employees/patients/processes due to ongoing projects. The projects are divided into 4 phases: Preparation Phase, Hot Phase, Go Live, and Aftercare.

Authorization-dependent links have also been placed behind display fields in the data entry, so that individual users can jump to master data processing, for example.

Erfassung von den einzelnen Projektphasen (NÖ LGA)

The phases for the individual projects should be displayed graphically in a GANTT diagram in order to have a chronological overview of the projects as soon as they are recorded.

GANTT-Diagramm zu den Projektphasen (NÖ LGA)

A dashboard, which was also created using SAP Fiori Apps, is offered for evaluating the projects. The different projects/project phases are displayed in bar charts and on a map at a key point in time.

Dashboard zum Projektrolloutplan (NÖ LGA)

Conclusion

SAP Fiori apps are a valuable addition to the BI landscape in the analytics environment – and not just in the hospital environment. They are particularly interesting when there is no ready-made solution on the market for data collection and analysis requirements and an application needs to be created specifically for the customer.

The advantages are:

  • The SAP UI5 framework for creating SAP Fiori apps is familiar to many companies, as these apps are an integral part of S/4.
  • SAP Fiori apps are technologically future-proof.
  • SAP Fiori Apps are not a cloud application. This is important if there is no internal company approval for cloud products.
  • SAP Fiori Apps can be used to capture data as the basis for BW data flows and display it in a graphically appealing way.
  • Query results can be connected particularly easily, as it is possible to generate OData services from BW queries.
  • SAP Fiori elements (templates) simplify access to app creation. Apps can be generated from the metadata of an OData service, which significantly speeds up the creation of apps. There are currently five templates for the ‘Floorplan’.
    SAP Fiori Elements | SAP Fiori for Web Design Guidelines
  • A large number of standard components are available for creating a FIORI app.
  • By adhering to design rules, the user interface is intuitive to use and clear.

CubeServ Fiori Launchpad Extensions

The examples of SAP Fiori apps shown are called up from the SAP Fiori Launchpad as the central entry point. There are several extensions for this SAP tool that have been developed by CubeServ. You can find more information on this under CubeServ Fiori Launchpad Extensions – CubeServ.

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Expert Team