Digital transformation is trending for enterprise HCM for good reason. The 2019 SAPPHIRE NOW® and ASUG annual conference saw a heavy emphasis on HR transformations as companies across the globe are migrating their HCM operations to SaaS-based applications like SAP SuccessFactors® to realize benefits like greater operational efficiencies, streamlined regulatory compliance, and improved employee experiences.

At the SAPPHIRE NOW event, Lufthansa Group’s Programme Lead for HR IT Renewal, Beatrix Kirst shared how the German aviation company is employing intelligent test automation from Worksoft to realize its IT initiative to decentralize testing, democratize automation and modernize the HR experience for its 130,000+ employees.

Moving HR IT to the Cloud

In addition to operating the world’s 11th largest airline, which flies to more than 340 destinations, Lufthansa Group has more than 500 subsidiaries in 140 countries. The aviation giant’s global HR IT landscape encompassed a wide variety of different systems across its vast network of companies. With disparate data sources and applications, Lufthansa Group’s HR operation was unable to align its data, ensure data privacy, or extract comprehensive reporting.

They chose to adopt SAP SuccessFactors EC in the cloud, consolidating data with one source and driving the efficiencies and value that come from digitization and a common platform. To support the transition to SAP SuccessFactors, Lufthansa Group chose Worksoft for their industry leading intelligent automation platform and deep knowledge of SAP.

Why Test a Cloud App?

Even though SuccessFactors is a cloud-based application, Lufthansa Group’s rollout program has several streams related to testing. Kirst said she often asked why testing is necessary since some mistakenly assume that the cloud provider has complete responsibility and coverage for any potential issues. In addition to shared cloud responsibilities between cloud provider and customer, the sheer volume and scope of what an enterprise manages within the application dictate a definitive need for the checks and balances that only testing can bring.

“I’m often asked ‘why do you test a cloud app?’ I mean a lot of companies are using the application. You’re in the cloud so you can be sure that your provider SAP has tested and ensured that functionality is there and up and running, and if there’s a problem we as a customer have given feedback and it’s already corrected, right?” said Kirst. “But it’s more than only having an application running. You’re talking about having a Lufthansa-specific configuration with our own business rules implemented within our HR processes. We have workflows up and running, management services and employee self-services.”

Kirst added that the complexity, sensitivity and nature of the data further reinforce the need to run tests that ensure all is as it should be and mission-critical processes like payroll are executed correctly.

“We will have huge and complex data migrated into the cloud solution. This is not data about how our aircraft performs, how fast it can fly or whatever. It’s data about our main resource. It’s data about our employees.”

Keeping Pace with Change

Testing alone is not sufficient for large-scale SaaS-based HR applications like SuccessFactors. Without test automation, the frequent cycle of change can quickly become daunting for any IT operations group, requiring repetitive, resource-intensive test cycles along with a need for more skilled resources, which are already in short supply.

“SuccessFactors EC gets updated four times a year, two times with more technical updates, two times with functional changes. We don’t want our employees required to do this, every three months, for three weeks, testing the same things again and again,” said Kirst. “Not only would this create errors and frustration among the employees, but we would have to increase our teams doing IT operations.”

Test automation is enabling Lufthansa Group to position their teams to accelerate not only the initial implementation of SuccessFactors, but also to expedite testing for ongoing release cycles, while enhancing business process assurance as they navigate those constant changes.

Dealing with Sensitive Data

With privacy and security laws and restrictions on the personal data found in enterprise HR applications, operations teams can’t simply access the data.

“For testing, we don’t have the possibility to simply copy our production environment to a test environment and start testing,” said Kirst. “That is not allowed. Also, the data access for testing purposes is very, very restrictive.”

Test automation allows Lufthansa IT teams to run their routines to get the results and reporting necessary to know if their business rules and workflows are still up and running and if the data is still correct—without granting access to the sensitive data itself.

Democratization and Decentralization

One of the key benefits of implementing intelligent automation is the ability to leverage what’s already been built. Instead of reinventing the wheel for every test cycle, existing automation can be shared across the organization and teams can add their own nuances or updates as needed. Lufthansa Group is using the global template for their SuccessFactors implementation as the foundation for every implementation and rollout they’re planning, as well as a base for test automation across their subsidiaries.

“All those test cases are implemented within test automation already. This enables us with every rollout to add to the localization, topics, changes and additional functionality like additional business rules or workflows, and then to de-centralize testing,” Kirst said.

Decentralized testing saves time and empowers individual teams to have ownership and autonomy to ensure their individual processes work. Made possible by intelligent automation, this unique, federated approach to testing builds up responsible resources across teams while maintaining enterprise standards and continuity established by democratized automation. That’s why Lufthansa Group is employing intelligent automation not only within their headquarters in Frankfurt, but also throughout all their global business units and companies.

“By decentralizing the testing, the companies themselves can make sure that every process is still up and running after cutover, as they are used to and as they are needed. So they are not depending on what Lufthansa in Frankfurt tells them about how it should work,” said Kirst.

Looking Ahead: Continuous Testing & HANA Migration with Worksoft

With 83 test scenarios defined and 95% percent of the test scenarios for global organization management already proven, the global enterprise is progressing well toward their Q3 2019 cutover. Looking ahead, Lufthansa Group is working with Worksoft to identify additional programs that can benefit from intelligent test automation. They will implement continuous testing to improve test cases and further empower their IT operations to automate tests for SAP updates. Like many global enterprises, Lufthansa Group is considering moving their data to SAP HANA and Kirst said when they do, she sees “good opportunities to use Worksoft test automation to make sure everything is up and working, and also to reduce efforts for testing.”

“We are working on a long-term partnership with Worksoft to establish test automation for all of our HR IT projects and programs to be on the safe side for our future development and digitization projects.”

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