The UI represents a missed opportunity, in my opinion and shows how SAP’s Not Invented Here approach can cause problems for the firm. I kept wondering where is the real AJAXy goodness? Hitting F5 repeatedly is hardly the key to few clicks.
I was surprised to see a search for a particular report require the user to hit the search button. Why not just have interaction between front and back end, and pop up the report names as the user types?
Today, the story has changed. At SAP TechEd Community Day, Elvira Wallis, SVP product development NetWeaver responded to my question about the lack of AJAX goodness when she said:
We are working on an AJAX implementation. Looking at Business ByDesign and the UI, you can actually be more general and can say the UI is decoupled from the services so you can use enterprise services to the fullest extent by creating a completely new UI within weeks from scratch...AJAX is going to be the icing on the cake with advantages for speed and so forth.
Not quite a definite 'yes' but a firm indication that SAP recognizes the importance of getting the UI right. It is one more tick in the box for SAP transforming into a customer centric vendor.
As an aside: I wasn't actually at TechEd but was able tune in courtesy of a uStream.tv broadcast organized by Craig Cmehil, fellow Irregular and SAPper. The full recording of the executive session can be found on Craig's blog at the SAP community.