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SAP Fiori: Positive User Experience Improves Employee Productivity at Mining Company PanAust

September 30, 2016 by Gabriele Middendorf 1453

The Australian mining group PanAust has been developing various SAP Fiori apps, and is scoring points when it comes to usability — and not only among occasional, inexperienced users.

“It all started with us wanting to simplify our software to make it easier for our non-native English-speaking employees,” explained Darren Hadfield, group information systems manager at PanAust.

The Australian gold, silver, and copper producer headquartered in Brisbane implemented the SAP Business Suite powered by SAP HANA at all company locations in 2014, including Laos, Papua New Guinea and Chile. Using SAP software, PanAust aims to realize uniform business processes, improve operations, and maximize efficiency. The software implementation has certainly paid off, since PanAust has been able to reduce its costs for shared services and corporate functions by five percent.

“SAP Business Suite powered by SAP HANA gives PanAust a robust and industry-leading platform to integrate existing business units and onboard new ones seamlessly while achieving substantial cost savings across all functional areas”, said Hadfield.

Intuitive User Interface

In order to establish a highly intuitive user experience, the mining group also opted for SAP Fiori when purchasing the ERP software. 80% of PanAust users are non-native English speakers, and are unfamiliar with SAP software. This is especially the case for employees outside Australia.

“Our focus was heavily on the usability of the tool,” explained Hadfield. “We picked SAP Fiori because we felt that even in emerging countries they all have mobile phones and do Facebook. With SAP Fiori we could deliver a similar simple user interface.”

In order to do so, PanAust used SAP Fiori Apps from the SAP Fiori Apps Library, or developed their own Fiori apps for various purchasing, maintenance and personnel administration assignments. When using the apps, the users only see the fields they require which makes it very simple to use.

With the SAP Fiori apps, PanAust was predominantly concerned about meeting the needs of employees that only use the applications occasionally. The user-friendly apps soon proved to be extremely popular throughout the company. “What we found was that that the demand for that sort of interface has exploded. Even people who have been around for a long time and are used to the SAP Business Suite powered by SAP HANA prefer to use the SAP Fiori interface,” said Hadfield.

There is demand for SAP Fiori apps in every department, which is being covered by SAP apps or in-house developments. “Our strategy is to transition as many users onto the SAP Fiori interface as quickly as we can,” the systems manager explained.

User-Friendly Dashboards for Various Assignments

There are now 17 SAP Fiori apps live at PanAust, including an app that approves vendor invoices, and another that handles maintenance orders. An additional five apps are in the quality assurance phase. PanAust can select apps from the SAP Fiori Apps Library, and have them up and running within three or four days. This is about the length of time needed to develop basic apps, such as a materials search app or a leave request approval app. The PanAust IT department typically needs three to four weeks for more complex applications. Two apps are currently being developed for business trips, the first of which can be used to book trips, and the other which manages expense claims. The travel expenses are fed directly into the SAP system, and the costs are reimbursed to the employee.

Higher Productivity and Satisfaction Among Employees

The SAP Fiori apps are not only proving advantageous for the users, but also for the company. Thanks to the intuitive ease of use, there are virtually no training costs, and employee productivity is on the increase. “SAP Fiori increased user acceptance and satisfaction, reduced training costs, and provides a powerful reporting and analytics platform,” described Hadfield.

Due to the overwhelming success, PanAust is planning to develop additional apps for mobile devices.

“We will continue to push things out to the mobile device. So, for us, our strategy at the moment is SAP Fiori as a mobility pile,” he said. The mining company is not only looking to use SAP Fiori internally, however, but also in collaboration with its partners, for example with suppliers. “We want to use SAP Fiori as digital interface for the benefit of our organization plus the organization of our suppliers.”

What initially began as a project to facilitate the work of users with English as a second language has flourished into a company-wide IT strategy involving both internal and external users.

Top image via Shutterstock

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