The solution uses SAP Hybris Cloud for Customer (C4C) to capture and centralise HR ticket information for the entire employee population. Tickets can be raised via integration with SAP HCM, via direct emails into the system or simply by agents manually keying in details, but all of these have flaws.
Enter SAP HANA Cloud Platform!
SAP HANA Cloud Platform (HCP) is an open platform-as-a-service that provides unique in-memory database and application services, which sits (as its’ name suggests) in the cloud. As with other cloud solutions, SAP therefore look after the maintenance of both the hardware and base software, which makes the platform a cost effective, scalable and low risk option for hosting business applications. SAP and partners provide various SAP applications as standard, including the SAP Cloud Portal. Other bespoke applications can also be developed and deployed to the platform as required. HCP also provides configuration options to easily allow integration with other cloud and even on premise solutions. The platform therefore creates a single place where users can securely access a variety of business applications and analytics.
SAP HCP, together with SAP Cloud Portal was therefore our tool of choice to develop an integrated frontend UI solution to enhance the effectiveness of the existing SAP C4C investment. We decided to build bespoke UI5 Fiori-like tiles, each of which allows managers to initiate a specific HR process. They were designed such that a minimal number of inputs were required, vastly simplifying the process for the end user, yet by utilising master data stored within C4C, a fully completed ticket can be created and then routed to the appropriate team of HR agents in the back office.
The ease with which the Cloud Portal can be adapted within the standard framework is excellent, and integration with C4C (achieved via OData) was straight-forward to HCP also provides a sound basis layer with for instance integrated single sign-on and an API which can be used to assign appropriate access roles. Access via mobile devices also comes pretty much for free, and as most managers have iPads, they have much more flexibility as to when and where they can submit tickets. Status of tickets can also be reviewed at any time, and updates and attachments added. Even photos of documents can be submitted with ease.
SAP HCP has it's challenges however, some of which are outlined below along with a handful of implementation tips:
- The solution is very flexible. This is good, but if you don’t have a nailed down specification, expect to spend time iterating through test cycles
- Integration with C4C was via a single technical user (as we didn’t want to maintain thousands of users on C4C), which meant we needed to build our own proxy
- The solution is new, so updates are being applied every two weeks or so. It’s good that fixes and improvements are being added, but it can be difficult to keep up with the changes
- Single sign-on uses your SCN logon as standard, however switching to your company’s own IDP is fairly straight-forward, however some work was needed to create an application to derive the correct role assignments for end users
- Use standard SAP UI5 elements
- Ensure that you have purchased JAVA units for your proxy
- Use extension fields in C4C when dropdown lists are required in your HCP interface. This allows the business to maintain their own lists without the need for a developer
Despite the above, the solution was delivered on time and was very well received by the user community, with very little additional training required. It has greatly improved the user experience; allowing managers access to create tickets much more efficiently, but also has reduced the administrative workload on agents, allowing them to save on average 3 minutes per ticket. With well over 100k tickets raised during the first few months of operation, it doesn’t take an accountant to work out the cost savings already achieved.
The solution is seen as so easy to use, that we have already extended the solution scope for employees to directly raise tickets where appropriate, so further improving efficiency. We have also rolled out to another subsidiary in a fraction of the time.
Overall, SAP HANA Cloud Platform and Cloud Portal is an excellent solution to develop front-end tools for any solution, and especially the rest of SAP’s cloud landscape. This example alone shows the massive efficiency improvements and cost reductions which can be achieved, alongside improved user experience and solution adoption.