Using Extensibility Options for SAP Work Zone

Objectives
After completing this lesson, you will be able to:

After completing this lesson, you will be able to:

  • Know which options exist to extend the standard capabilities of SAP Work Zone

Introduction to Extensibility Options for SAP Work Zone

Many of the SAP Work Zone capabilities we’ve covered throughout this unit allow you to create engaging experiences in a true no-code style, for instance, by using our interactive page editor. However, sometimes you will need to integrate different business application data into SAP Work Zone or connect a Conversational AI chatbot to your setup; in these instances, no-code elements alone are not sufficient.

In this lesson we will have a look at the different extensibility concepts that exist for SAP Work Zone, but we won’t cover them in greater detail given the pro-code developer focus that most of these options have. In any case, these extensibility options will nonetheless connect to the different building blocks like homepages or workspaces, as those are what you would use to bring them to life regardless.

Given that the UI Integration Card concept has a low-code dimension to it (in addition to more pro-code elements) for more complex requirements, we will cover this option in more detail than the other extensibility options.

Extensibility Overview

Now that we’ve covered why extensibility options are important as additions to the central building blocks of SAP Work Zone, what options are relevant to you (in collaboration with pro-code developers and other IT professionals)?

First, you can create and integrate UI Integration Cards. These cards can be understood as micro-applications for displaying business critical information from SAP as well as from third-party systems. To ease the development of these cards, SAP provides a ready to use framework for creating them – both as a low-code and pro-code experience. We will provide more details later in this unit.

The next area of SAP Work Zone extensibility are workflows that leverage SAP BTP workflow. This allows you to leverage already-created workflows from SAP Workflow Management and/or create new ones that are directly accessible from within SAP Work Zone.

If combined, those two elements allow you to create so-called Guided Experiences. Technically speaking, the UI Integration Card acts as a wizard-like experience to trigger a complex workflow in SAP Workflow Management, providing a unified multi-step experience for the user that connects to different SAP and third-party backend systems.

In case you need to make more substantial changes to the SAP Work Zone global navigation header, the Launchpad (Shell) plugins are the way to go. These plugins enable you to add additional icons or other modifications to the header so as to reference to another application, security/compliance document or other pieces of information. They are a powerful mechanism that even allows role-based visibility of these extensions.

Furthermore, SAP Work Zone offers an integration with SAP Conversational AI allowing you to connect to one or multiple chatbots. SAP Work Zone users can then interact with the chatbot(s) to address many innovative scenarios for HXM, procurement, or even IT self-service requests (such as requesting system access).

While the previous extensibility options primarily focus on adding extensions into the system user interface, the last extensibility option has an even broader range of use cases. Like with any modern cloud-based application, SAP Work Zone offers an extensive list of modern APIs to read data from and/or push data into the system. Typical use cases for the APIs include – but are not limited to – creation of user records, extracting data for external reporting purposes or uploading data into a workspace from business applications.

UI Integration Cards

Since the focus of this learning journey is to explore the exciting options of the no-code / low-code realm, we won’t cover the pro-code developer focused extensibility options for SAP Work Zone in this unit. However, we do want to look at more closely at the UI Integration Cards, given that they can be created – albeit with a restricted scope – in a low-code experience. As a reminder, UI cards can be understood as micro-applications for displaying business critical information from SAP as well as from third-party systems. SAP provides two experiences for creating these UI Integration Cards.

The first one depicted on the left-hand side of the graphic shows the low-code approach for creating cards. It enables citizen developers and IT professionals alike to create these cards with only a minimum of IT knowledge required. While you need to have a basic understanding of OData APIs and the ability to work in SAP Business Application Studio, for instance to maintain the manifest.json file as the core of the card, you do not need to know other – more advanced – developer skills like JavaScript, C++ or other programming languages.

SAP does provide a selection of templates for different UI Integration Cards such as list, chart, or table. By selecting the desired template directly in Business Application Studio, you will only need to configure / maintain the manifest.jsonfile, add your required data source such as SAP S/4HANA or another backend system and finally deploy the card into SAP Work Zone – either directly from Business Application Studio or by exporting/importing the card. It can then be leveraged in the page builder across the different homepages and workspaces.

In case there are, however, more specific, or complex requirements for extensive business logic to be executed within the card, development becomes more of a pro-code developer activity. If so, you will want to create an SAPUI5 project that supports custom JavaScript and CSS code. The result will be an even more powerful and complex UI Integration Card that can then be used in the same way as the SAP Work Zone page builder experience.

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