5 Things to Improve Your SAP EHSM Move to UI5 

Developers working on code in an office

SAP Environmental Health and Safety Management (EHSM) comes packed with features to track everything from incidents to safety observations. At ConvergentIS, we often work with our clients to bring the most important features to UI5. Here are some of the things we’ve learned along the way that can help when implementing a UI5 solution. 

1. Get the design right—up front 

While it can be tempting to jump in and copy all of the fields available on the current user interface to the new application, take this opportunity to simplify and streamline both the application and processes surrounding the app. Throughout the lifetime of the app, different requirements can emerge that necessitate mandatory fields; as more time goes on, these requirements become outdated and irrelevant. We hear clients say things like, “We’re forced to enter that field, but we don’t use it anymore”. 

We work to gather stakeholders as well as both frequent and infrequent users of the app to understand the entire picture. After that, we move quickly from the current state and begin mapping out where want to be. 

Ultimately, there’s always a trade-off between what details need actually be reported and the speed at which the data can be entered. 

2. Define the platform 

Once the problem is understood, it’s important to consider how incidents and other safety observations will be tracked. Some important questions to consider are: 

  • Will users always be near a connected computer or will an offline application be required?  

  • Will there be experts who help scan or enter in physical cards or can that data be entered on a user’s own device?  

3. Plan how to get the data to the application 

The Business Object Processing Framework (BOPF) that is the programming engine under the hood and it is extremely powerful. However, anyone who’s worked with the BOPF can attest to the challenges of getting up to speed and learning how to use it most efficiently. 

It’s important to take time to map out how the BOPF data structure will map to your oData. Consider building out reusable components so that custom code isn’t required for every single dropdown or lookup and build your oData so it can be expanded to future requirements. While it can be a large amount of up-front work, mirroring the structure of the BOPF will pay off in the long term. 

Shameless plug: If you don’t want to build the BOPF to oData mapping, we have an accelerator package that helps manage all of the locking, errors, creation and saving in oData. 

4. Take a look at how things can be pre-populated for users 

Out of the box EHSM doesn’t auto-fill too much. We’ve found that we can accelerate the entry of something like an incident by defaulting information (country or location) and reducing choices (i.e. time zones) so that the user doesn’t have to filter through hundreds of options. 

A developer coding a program

Also, we’ve found that systems with a HANA backend can support a fuzzy search using ABAP CDS views in order to speed the users’ lookups. On systems without HANA, consider sending and caching frequently used fields. 

5. Guide the user through the process 

For EHSM experts, filling out an incident can come as second nature. For infrequent users, this can require a lot of training which can be easily forgotten when it’s time to report their own incident. Also, there can be many fields that require explanation. Keep it simple for those users by adding features to your user interface: 

  • Include progress information: Simple guidance can help show how much of an incident has been completed and how much is left—information users greatly appreciate when filling out long forms 

  • Have a ‘save’ option along the way:  Similar to showing the user their progress, it’s important to not lose partially completed data, so either store it locally or allow users to save a draft copy on the server 

  • Give the user reminders to follow up on activities. For example: 

  • Send email reminders to complete the incident 

  • Create a dashboard for health and safety teams to complete the data 

  • Add contextual help: Add more descriptions to the fields 

  • Review the data at the end: After filling out a lot of data, it’s a great idea to check things through. This can be in the form of a summary or a quick set of questions such as “You’ve listed the following people as involved. Would you like to include more?” 

Summary 

An EHSM migration to a more user-friendly interface can be daunting, but we’ve seen a huge improvement in the speed to enter and reviewing incidents from investing in the right approach and design. By spending the time up front to test different approaches, we can rapidly find the best solution. This involves looking for opportunities to simplify, pre-fill, and guide the users to help them quickly complete their work. Many of our users have gone from dreading the process of data entry to actually enjoying it!  

Alex ChanU15, SAP, ux, design thinking