Extensibility Key Concepts in SAP Build Work Zone
In this unit, we will see how SAP Build Work Zone can be extended.
The first and most-used method to extend SAP Build Work Zone is the design and development of UI Integration Cards. They allow you to consume and interact with business information from SAP and third-party systems without leaving SAP Build Work Zone. UI Integration Cards look like widgets and inherit the branding of the corporate SAP Fiori-based theme used in SAP Build Work Zone: as a result, users get a consistent user experience across all SAP and third-party solutions.
It's good to know that SAP delivers a standard UI Integration Card called Web Content Card by default. It is available for both SAP Build Work Zone and SAP SuccessFactors Work Zone, and it is not required to perform any installation procedures. The Web Content Card allows you to embed internal and external web pages using the HTML tag <iframe>.
Besides that, SAP SuccessFactors Work Zone comes with the set of HXM-focused UI Integration Cards. It is delivered (and regularly updated) via a Content Package. The list of all available UI Integration Cards and their capabilities are well-documented on the SAP Help Portal, Working with the HR Content.
Both Web Content Cards and HXM-focused content can be used as an example of well-defined and well-designed UI Integration Cards.
Since SAP Build Work Zone comes with SAP Workflow service, the next option for extensibility is the design and development of workflows. The workflows are developed with SAP Business Application Studio and triggered from the launchpad component of SAP Build Work Zone when deployed. There are three SAP Fiori applications offered by SAP Workflow service and available in SAP Build Work Zone to work with workflows:
- My Inbox allows you to review, approve, or reject requests.
- Monitor Workflows: Workflow Definitions allow you to start new instances of deployed workflows.
- Monitor Workflows: Workflow Instances allow you to monitor started instances of workflows.
My Inbox is available from the launchpad component as well as from header bar in any page of SAP Build Work Zone. Note that My Inbox shows approval tasks generated by workflows of SAP Workflow service – it doesn't show approval tasks from other SAP solutions.
By default, UI Integration Cards and workflows play different roles and live "separately" in SAP Build Work Zone. But imagine if workflows could be enriched by UI Integration Cards as UI technology: instead of triggering and monitoring workflows with standard apps for SAP Workflow service, you interact with workflows through dedicated UI Integration Cards. SAP Build Work Zone offers an architecture pattern called Workflow Journey App and the concept of Guided Experiences.
The concept of Guided Experiences helps to improve user experience across complex business processes and various SAP and third-party business solutions. Guided Experience looks like a wizard for the end user: it has several clearly defined steps (executed in a UI Integration Card) so that the user does not get lost in the process.
As an example, SAP SuccessFactors Work Zone has the following pre-delivered Guided Experiences for HXM scenarios:
The examples discussed can help you to understand the idea of Guided Experiences better and identify your own use cases.
From a technical point of view, Guided Experiences are developed following the Workflow Journey App template. It can be downloaded from GitHub and includes both source code for UI Integration Card and workflow. The source code also contains the file
HOW-TO.md, which explains all technical details. Note that it is crucial to have past development experience of UI Integration Cards and workflows.
Sometimes, there is a need to enhance the header bar by adding global UI controls. This is where launchpad plugins come into the picture!
The launchpad plugins allow you to add UI controls to the right and left sides of header bar, user menu, and user settings. For example, user settings can be extended by including a menu about global security policies and compliance. The user menu can be extended by adding a link to report an issue or bug to SAP Solution Manager or ServiceNow. In the end, the header bar can also be enriched with custom integration with an experience management solution like Qualtrics.
The next option to extend and improve the digital experience is building and running chatbots. SAP Build Work Zone allows you to set up integration with SAP Conversational AI and interact with chatbots.
The following are important considerations:
- First and foremost, SAP Conversational AI is a separate offering, and it might require additional licenses or subscriptions.
- Chatbots are stored and executed in the runtime of SAP Conversational AI. SAP Build Work Zone does not host the source code of chatbots.
- Besides a couple of chatbot examples for SAP Build Work Zone, there are no standard or recommended chatbots for use with SAP Build Work Zone. The reason is that SAP Build Work Zone provides users with just the UI to interact with chatbots. Typically, the implementation of SAP Conversational AI (or a similar platform) and the development of chatbots are separate and independent from the SAP Build Work Zone project.
Sometimes, there might be a need to have integration with SAP Build Work Zone from the other way around: from the side of the third-party application. For example, a third-party application should be able to show a list of workspaces in its own UI or be allowed to post updates on behalf of the user. The Digital Workplace Service (DWS) component of SAP Build Work Zone provides an Application Programming Interface (API), allowing you to work with content stored and managed by this component. It includes but is not limited to blog posts, documents, links, polls, and comments in workspaces.
There is a trick. While the API is provided mostly for use by third-party applications, it can be also used within SAP Build Work Zone through the pre-defined SAP BTP destination "JAM". For example, it can be used with custom-developed UI Integration Cards, allowing users to create workspaces. Then UI Integration Card can be placed in any page of SAP Build Work Zone.
The last use case for the API is low-level technical operations. For example, it can be used to mass update workspaces based on a particular criteria (for example, add "[A]" to the title of workspaces created and updated 2 or more years ago, indicating that they are planned to be archived).
Since the API belongs to the DWS component, the communication is done through the DWS URL, which can be found in the overview page of the Administration Console.
In addition to the API, DWS provides the mechanism of webhooks. Webhooks provide a means of tracking specific events that occur in SAP Build Work Zone and then sending the event notification metadata to third-party applications which use them. For example, some customers still prefer to run two platforms in parallel – a corporate portal with official information, procedures and guidelines, and digital experience solution on SAP Build Work Zone (or SAP SuccessFactors Work Zone) with a focus on collaboration and work with business applications. In this case, corporate updates can be published as blog posts in a dedicated workspace in SAP Build Work Zone and automatically re-posted to the corporate portal using the mechanism of webhooks. Note that it will be required to develop end points and functionality on the corporate portal to handle incoming notifications from SAP Build Work Zone webhooks.
While SAP Build Work Zone offers mobile friendly UI (allowing you to work from mobile browsers) as well as two mobile applications, SAP Mobile Cards and SAP Build Work Zone mobile app, there might be a need to design, develop, and publish a custom mobile app. The typical motivation for such a mobile app is corporate branding and integration with corporate tools. SAP provides access to the source code of SAP Build Work Zone mobile app which can be adopted using the Mobile Development Kit (MDK) for SAP Mobile Services.