Case Study: How a Queensland Government Agency in Australia Leverages SAP Screen Personas for Improving the User Experience of HR Resources

  • by Eric Wood, SAP ERP HCM/SuccessFactors Solution Architect, Presence of IT
  • September 14, 2016
Discover how you can improve the user experience of your on-premise SAP system using SAP Screen Personas. Get an inside look at three real-life HR use cases designed and built for HR professional users at the Department of Transport and Main Roads, part of the Queensland Government – Australia.
Learning Objectives

By reading this case study, you will learn:

  • About SAP Screen Personas and its place within SAP’s user experience (UX) strategy
  • The different types of personalizations that can be done to SAP ERP HCM transactions and screens with SAP Screen Personas
  • About three real-life HR use cases for SAP Screen Personas, implemented at the Department of Transport and Main Roads (part of the Queensland Government – Australia)
Key Concept
In SAP Screen Personas, a flavor is a specific personalization of an SAP transaction. A flavor is built on one SAP transaction, but any particular transaction may have multiple flavors. Personalization of screens within a transaction in a flavor can include a variety of changes, including simple adjustments like hiding unused screen elements, changing text labels and colors, or repositioning elements on the screen. More advanced personalizations can also be performed involving additional script processing and merging data from multiple screens into one.

User experience (UX) has long been a challenge for companies using SAP on-premise systems. While the SAP ERP HCM suite provides tools for managing HR tasks with tight integration across normally disparate business processes, the UX of the solution has typically taken a back seat to other key functionality and features of the product. While SAP provides a robust architecture for managing HR data for employees, common transaction codes, such as PA20 or PA30 (for displaying and managing employee data) that are used by HR professional users, are not overly intuitive and user friendly. In today’s world, however, UX is increasingly important. SAP has responded by introducing new cloud solutions and their home-grown Fiori platform and design principles. While SAP cloud solutions and Fiori show great potential and provide a breadth of new functionality, not all on-premise customers are prepared to invest the time, effort, and resources required to implement these new technologies in the short-term.

So what can a company that is currently running an SAP on-premise system do if it wants to improve its SAP UX in the short term, but is not currently considering more major technology moves, like moving to the cloud or implementing SAP Fiori? This is the situation that HR professionals at Transport and Main Roads (TMR), part of the Queensland Government (Australia), found themselves in as they had recently begun an HR project to improve their current SAP HR on-premise investment. Part of this initiative was to look for ways to improve the usability of TMR’s current SAP ERP HCM environment. While moving to the cloud for HR was not feasible in the short term, and with an implementation of SAP Fiori enticing, but more of a long-term goal, TMR was left looking for more short-term, value-add ways to improve the usability of its key HR processes and transactions.

Technology is not the only factor to consider when making the decision to move to the cloud or implement SAP Fiori. Companies also have to determine their own internal strategies for things like deploying mobile applications, providing proper security, and streamlining HR processes. Additionally, this is not a decision that has to be made immediately, as current planned support for SAP ERP HCM on premise runs through 2025. SAP’s graphical user interface (SAP GUI) currently provides more than 10,000 transactions, across an estimated 400,000+ screens, for users to perform their day-to-day actions. It’s unrealistic to expect that every transaction or process is going to be rebuilt by SAP with a new and improved UX.

With this in mind, TMR investigated using SAP Screen Personas for its professional HR user group. While SAP Screen Personas was introduced at the end of 2012, it tends to not have as high a profile as SAP Fiori and cloud applications. For companies like TMR, however, SAP Screen Personas provides tools to improve the usability of SAP GUI transactions and screens quickly and efficiently. SAP Screen Personas also leverages the existing on-premise solution, all while enabling companies to tailor UX in ways they couldn’t before. In this article, I look at TMR’s implementation of SAP Screen Personas for HR and the use cases identified and realized during its initial implementation.

Eric Wood

Eric Wood is an SAP ERP HCM/SuccessFactors Solution Architect at Presence of IT.  He has 11 years of experience in corporate and consulting roles, focused on the strategy and development of HRIS solutions, specifically SAP ERP HCM. Eric has worked across a range of HR modules, both on-premise and in the cloud, for clients across various industries while based in the United States and Australia.  Eric is also a frequent conference speaker at SAP conferences in the U.S., Europe, Australia, and Singapore.

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5/1/2017 12:05:16 PM
Jeff Wible

This article is exactly what I was looking for in relation to a starting point for Personas for SAP HR. All of the prior RDS and other examples were related to Finance and procurement so this should be very helpful as we begin to evaluate the use of this tool. Thanks!

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