For those preparing for their journey to SAP S/4HANA, the complex migration can be daunting. The scale inherent to such a sprawling digital transformation means there’s a lot at stake. In a recent SAP S/4HANA migration benchmark report, 87% of respondents said the most important requirement as they migrate is minimal disruption to operations.
Many enterprise organizations are already considering or employing test automation to smooth everyday systems and processes. Engaging automation for SAP S/4HANA migration can help you prepare for, execute, and manage ongoing change related to the transformation – and come out on the other side without losing your way.
At a recent UKISUG event, Wout Jacobs, Test Automation Specialist at Dutch Railways, discussed how their team has used automated testing powered by the Worksoft platform to smooth digital transformation, reduce risk, and improve collaboration throughout their entire team.
Dutch Railways is a transportation company and “one of the most complicated railway networks in the world" with 1.3 million travelers per day, 4 million travelers abroad each year, and over 20,000 employees. With ten teams working simultaneously on various elements of their system, the move to S/4HANA was a crucial endeavor. In this blog, we’ll explore some of the key benefits of test automation leveraged throughout the company’s digital transformation, as well as how the right platform can help teams deal with changes, incidents, and defects around test automation.
Engage Process Capture Capabilities to Improve Collaboration
The highest priority at Dutch Railways is to deliver safe, comfortable transportation for their many travelers, which involves highly complex systems and teams working every day to ensure the reliability of those systems. They had several areas they wished to automate, like logistics, finance, supply chain, and procurement, and they knew how these silos could increase their risk.
Understanding is the first step to a successful digital transformation, and a weak tool that delivers incomplete insights can cause disruptions throughout an entire organization. When the company began its tool selection process, they knew it needed to deliver highly accurate visibility to ensure all of these teams could connect. They chose the Worksoft Connective Automation Platform, utilizing process capture capabilities to identify their as-is business processes and analytics to understand how each of those teams worked.
Detect Defects Early and Often to Minimize Risk
In a recent ASUG whitepaper, 39% of those surveyed said they underestimated the complexity of their migration. The solution for overwhelming complexity is strong preparation. Involving their automated testing platform from the earliest possible stage, Dutch Railways was able to detect defects and develop a strong testing foundation before their journey even began.
“One thing that’s important here was to detect defects as early as possible,” said Jacobs.
After using automated process discovery to discover their “as-is” state, the next step was to de-risk areas that needed changes before they impact end users either now or throughout the SAP S/4HANA migration. Once they moved beyond risk management, they were able to reuse the automation they'd built early in the process to optimize new systems.
“The earlier we have everything automated in testing, the more often we can use it, the more often we can get the benefits of faster testing; automated rather than manual testing.”
Run Scheduled, Automated Tests Overnight
Dutch Railways began their automation journey manually, with a testing team dedicated to developing their testing framework. They set up manual testing “the old school way,” defining scenarios and risk areas, setting up system testing, integration testing, and setting up user acceptance testing. As their foundation strengthened and they began to implement more systems, they knew they needed a trusted test automation partner to drive efficiency.
After selecting the Worksoft platform, they began using Worksoft's continuous testing to run their tests on a routine basis. They scheduled the tests to run daily overnight so that when workers arrived they could easily see what needed to be fixed, strengthened, and optimized. This empowers users with the fastest feedback possible so that any errors can be repaired long before they affect the supply chain.
“That’s all being run remotely, so we don’t have to look at it early in the morning. When we get into the office, our test results are in, all tests have been run, and we can actually see the results from that every single day.”
Create a Change-Resilient Testing Foundation from the Start
We live in a world of constant change, a sentiment never more true than in the world of technological innovation. When you finally finish a big project, you can celebrate for a day if you’re lucky, but then it’s time to prepare for the next one. The move to SAP S/4HANA is a huge step and will likely drive efficiency throughout your organization for years, but if your systems and testing framework aren’t built for continued change, you’re only creating more work for yourself.
“We have quite a good framework set up. Obviously, one of the main things we aim to achieve is to expand this framework not just within the current teams that we have, but we have a big move from SAP CRM to S/4HANA coming up as well. They can just use this framework.”
Dutch Railways recognized this early in their digital transformation and factored change into their tool selection process. They knew they needed a tool that would empower them to brace for change no matter what else happened. New automation usually works great and will do so for a while, but when change happens either via upgrades or restructuring of your actual team – members leaving, getting promoted, etc. – your systems need to be protected.
“There’s something live, it’s working for now, but we need to make sure that this actually keeps on running for many years [along with] the changes to the application itself.”
Break Down Silos with Codeless Automation
Many test automation solutions are incredibly powerful and robust but also require prior knowledge, extensive training, or both to actually use the tool. With a codeless platform, teams can get up and running quickly and confidently, as was the case with Dutch Railways. While it can seem daunting to train so many more users on a tool, a base level of understanding throughout multiple teams increases awareness and commitment.
“If a certain field test case comes in out of the report in the morning, they might understand after working with Certify for a few days where things are actually going wrong, either within your test automation suite or within the application or within the data within SAP.”
Very rarely in testing scenarios does a lack of understanding lead to a positive outcome. Rather, the more visibility teams can gain into their business processes, the more efficient the entire organization becomes. Now that their migration is through, Dutch Railways wants to focus even more energy on getting teams up to speed so they can work with reduced risk and maximum efficiency.
“What I want to keep doing is really involve the whole team. Continue to involve them right from the start. I don’t have to explain anymore why commitment is needed, but this is something we try to do every single day, really involve the whole team in the test automation process from beginning to end.”