Headquartered in Ittigen and employing roughly 20,000 people, Swisscom is one of Switzerland’s top telecommunications and IT companies.
Here, Jochen Kranzdorf, solution architect for SAP Fiori and head of Web User Interfaces at Swisscom Enterprise Customers, discusses how SAP Fiori is helping the company transform its internal employee portal into a modern and on-the-go user experience.
Q: Your team recently rolled out a new internal employee portal featuring the SAP Fiori launchpad and more than 50 new SAP Fiori apps. How did this project come about?
A: The Human Resources department at Swisscom wanted to simplify and modernize the employee experience. Our previous internal portal was built for desktop and hosted around 250 links. Navigating the portal could be quite time consuming and difficult to do from a mobile phone.
We were also facing more pressing problems with some of the tools that we used for time recording or for travel expense management.
We saw the urgency in addressing these issues, and our project to revamp the entire employee portal and build mobile apps grew from there.
Why was it important for Swisscom to invest in the employee user experience (UX)?
At Swisscom, we have a strong UX mindset when it comes to our customers, and we wanted to carry this over to our employees so we could improve our internal operations.
One sales employee we interviewed during our research phase framed the risk of poor UX in business-to-employee (B2E) quite well. Something as simple as time recording could be cumbersome, time consuming, and sometimes not at all possible while on-the-go. We can easily address these issues by equipping employees with software that they are happy to use and that fits their on-the-go lifestyles. This was the core of the business case for us. It’s not about quick wins.
For me, the most efficiency is won at the intersection between humans and computers —where errors and misunderstandings exist, and where time is most often wasted. If we can reduce these negative experiences, we have done a good job.
What drew you and your team to SAP Fiori?
The SAP Fiori design concept focuses on simple, mobile-first experiences. This was a critical aspect for us. We found the design system easy to use, as many things were available out-of-the-box, and we didn’t necessarily need to add designers to our team. Instead, we included architects focused on requirements engineering and human-centered design facilitators supporting us early in the design thinking phases. The user interfaces (UIs) were built directly by our developers, who relied on iterative feedback loops from end users.
Designing and developing with SAP Fiori was very simple. I appreciated the fact that all SAPUI5 controls were consistent, that I could drag and drop the different controls directly into the SAP Web IDE layout editor and work iteratively using user feedback. We could have designed our own layouts, but this proved unnecessary as it would not have produced a better UX than what was provided by the existing frameworks.
The SAP Fiori launchpad for Swisscom employees went live a year after the project kickoff, with more than 50 SAP Fiori apps for HR ESS/MSS built end-to-end by Swisscom’s team of SAP developers.
How did Swisscom employees react to these changes?
We received two types of feedback: those who were excited about the changes and immediately sang the praises of SAP Fiori, and those who would curtly say “this and that function or app is missing.” Quite often we were able to solve those specific problems by coming up with a solution using SAP GUI for HTML and Web Dynpro for ABAP.
In the end, the overall feedback was overwhelmingly positive, and we owe this to the fact that we used a human-centered design approach, involving our users in essentially every step of the project.
What surprised you the most about this project?
How quickly employees adapted to SAP Fiori once the portal migration was completed. Soon after the migration, word spread across the company and employees from warehouse management requested that their use cases also become “Fiori-tized.” This isn’t yet within our scope, but it speaks to the success of the SAP Fiori brand adoption among our workers. People are excited about it! To them, SAP Fiori is hip and innovative, and for us it’s been exciting to have built apps that spark joy and get our employees excited about their work.
What’s next for the Swisscom B2E experience?
We have many requests coming in to build further apps. We’ve had to grow our team to meet this demand. So far, we’ve been building with SAP Business Suite powered by SAP HANA and our journey toward SAP S/4HANA will bring even more SAP Fiori to our employees.
This interview was translated from the German and edited for length and clarity. A special thanks to Jochen Kranzdorf from Swisscom for his openness and the great discussions, and to Michael Falk, product manager for SAP Fiori, for visiting Kranzdorf on site in Switzerland to facilitate the interview.
What Swisscom Employees Have to Say About SAP Fiori
“SAP Fiori has shown itself to be a very stable portal and there have been virtually no system outages since its deployment, which is a key priority for line managers and HR staff when it comes to initiating or managing HR Self Services.”
– Nadine Stettler, professional lead for HR Operations,
Swisscom (Switzerland) AG
“Thanks to SAP Fiori, Swisscom employees are able to initiate HR orders at any time and independently of the HR Advisory opening hours. And thanks to multi-device access, they can easily and simply be forwarded via smartphone to HR.”
– Nicole Füllemann, head of HR Operations,
Swisscom (Switzerland) AG
“We showcase our SAP Fiori developments at recruiting events to make it clear to our applicants that SAP development can be hip and innovative.”
– Andreas Gäng, head of SAP Development and Integration,
Swisscom Enterprise Customers
“During a customer visit, we discussed travel expenses and I showed the customer our productive SAP Fiori on my phone. The customer was so excited that he went on to evaluate the development of an SAP Fiori landscape for his company.”
– Marco Wahler, head of SAP Solution Architecture,
Swisscom Enterprise Customers
Andrea Waisgluss works in SAP Design.