Enterprise organizations across the globe are looking for new ways to boost business efficiencies and enable new innovations faster. UPM has discovered the benefits of incorporating continuous test automation to achieve their goals. They recently shared their digital transformation story at TestExpo 2018 in Helsinki, Finland


A Global Industry Leader

UPM is a global leader in the forest-based bioindustry. The $10 billion EUR business focuses on the efficient use of sustainably sourced, renewable forest biomass. From furniture to food packaging, their wood and paper materials are widely used in home and office environments throughout the world. UPM has 54 production plants in 12 countries, serving customers in 120 countries with products that are engineered for safe and sustainable everyday use.


Drivers for Test Automation

A progressive industry leader like UPM is constantly evolving as they adapt to new research and ideas, keeping their products and services at the forefront of innovation. System updates and process changes are key to these transformations. The greater the impact of change, the greater the testing effort required to maintain smooth business processes throughout their operation.

For most enterprise organizations, the resource burden of large-scale change necessitates increased speed and efficiency of testing. UPM leverages SAP for their operations and engages in new SAP releases for S/4 system upgrades annually, as well as quarterly SP levels that also require extensive regression testing cycles. In addition, mergers, carve outs and/or complex changes to their operating model could occur as often as once a year, on average. It was this landscape of change and complexity that drove the need for automation.


Shift to In-House Automation

Given the level of effort involved in each testing cycle, UPM recognized the value of shifting to automation. They determined that they had an opportunity to automate 70% of their testing and chose to transform their operation with these goals in mind:

  • Speed testing processes and significantly shorten test cycles
  • Gain business agility through progressive, immediate implementation of high-impact changes
  • Free resources previously assigned to manual testing to focus on development and operations
  • Improve test effectiveness and quality

The UPM team evaluated two paths to automation. One would require a multi-solution approach to outsource testing. This option is generally not only the higher cost option, but also limits control of the overall testing process and increases opportunities for error.

The other option was to implement test automation in house, which offered maximum control over the process as well as maximum total cost of ownership (TCO) benefits. It was the TCO of a clear business case that lead for an in-house test automation.


Methodical Approach Yields Results

Implementing an in-house solution for test automation can reap significant rewards, but those rewards can be fleeting if the organization doesn’t make a concerted effort to implement the solution strategically. When UPM chose their test automation tool they were backed by a dedicated and motivated team that executed the transition over a seven-month period with a methodical approach and ongoing support from the selected test automation vendor. This approach resulted in 808 scripts to-date, reaching a continuous automation level of 78%. UPM’s shift to automation also includes the use of a test orchestration tool that delivers centralized monitoring, test acceleration and maximum control over test order, dependencies and scheduling.


Positioned for the Future

With continuous test automation enabled at their enterprise, UPM has elevated their IT operation and paved the way for faster adoption and delivery of new innovations.  They now have the ability to drive efficiencies for library maintenance, training, infrastructure maintenance and test management. They can also execute test automation at will, which can support expedited system recovery in the event of unplanned service breaks.

Looking ahead, these efficiencies mean UPM is well equipped to support agile development, as well as a future transition to SAP S/4HANA.

For more information on the benefits of test automation: