Ensuring Faster SAP HANA® Projects with Less Risk
According to SAP, HANA is the fastest growing new product in SAP’s history. With this momentum, SAP’s focus on HANA is likely to continue for the foreseeable future. In fact, SAP’s entire core business suite is to be supported with HANA as the only database.
Is your enterprise ready for the road to HANA?
The SAP HANA platform represents exciting new opportunities that can have a potentially transformative impact on businesses that use SAP as their primary ERP system. Early adopters of this new in‐memory database technology are likely to reap significant competitive advantages by either moving existing SAP solutions to HANA or taking advantage of brand new solutions built from the ground up for the new platform. HANA brings new speed and new business capabilities, but it also means a new set of IT projects to take advantage of the new in‐memory database platform.
Worksoft streamlines SAP HANA projects. For existing SAP customers, HANA projects are almost all testing ‐ up to 80% of the work is testing in some cases. Because HANA requires mostly changes to the underlying database, there is very little configuration and typically few training issues, so the bulk of an SAP HANA project for existing SAP customers will be testing and business process validation. In practical terms, it means that test automation can yield even greater benefits for HANA projects than the already substantial benefits for SAP projects generally.
What you will learn in this paper: We describe how SAP customers can incorporate SAP HANA into their SAP landscape in a timely manner without disrupting their existing business operations. We explore 3 primary adoption strategies that companies should consider, outline 4 critical dimensions of quality assurance, and present a 5 step strategy to ensure success in the adoption of SAP HANA in your enterprise. A case study with a Fortune 200 company is also presented.
SAP HANA: Just another in‐memory database?
The fact that HANA at its core is an in‐memory database platform is not the most exciting part of the HANA innovation, in and of itself. What’s most interesting is the ability of HANA to combine real‐time analytics with transactional information, allowing a complete re‐imagination of business processes that have remained largely unchanged for decades. The ability of organizations to unlock this potential to enable new business models and separate themselves from their competition is the exciting aspect of HANA. These new business processes will drive the next set of technology and business innovations for those global companies ready to embrace the change.
HANA Adoption Strategies: How do you get there?
Figure 1 shows an overview of the SAP suite of applications classified into major software categories. SAP HANA falls at the ‘Database and Technology’ level and can be used as a platform for almost all SAP applications including the business suite, analytics and cloud solutions.
Figure 1. SAP Application and Technology Suite Including SAP HANA
Companies have several options to consider when it comes to introducing HANA in their existing SAP landscape. These options can be loosely classified into three main categories:
1. Side‐by‐Side Implementation ‐ Go Faster, Now
This is a good initial strategy for companies looking to get started by using HANA to solve a specific, isolated problem while leaving the rest of the SAP landscape essentially unchanged. SAP offers a number of solutions that have been designed specifically to take advantage of the speed of processing that HANA provides to solve specific business problems. These solutions include:
- SAP Cash Forecasting
- SAP CO‐PA Accelerator
- Customer Segmentation Accelerator
- Finance and Controlling Accelerator
In all of these solutions, a portion of the transactional data from the relevant SAP application is transferred to HANA in near real time. Then the HANA based applications perform the required analysis or other functions, taking advantage of the processing speed that an in‐memory database offers over traditional database systems used for transactional applications.
SAP NetWeaver Business Warehouse on HANA ‐ Simplify and Speed‐Up Analytics
The second strategy (See Figure 2) entails running some or all of the SAP NetWeaver Business Warehouse with HANA as the database and then running the SAP analytics suite of applications on top. Note that SAP now classifies this class of solutions under “Analytics” rather than the more familiar “Business Intelligence” or BI moniker. This is because the suite encompasses more than just Business Intelligence solutions powered by Business Objects. It also includes Corporate Performance Management solutions like BPC (Business Performance and Consolidation), new data discovery solutions (e.g. SAP Visual Intelligence) as well as a new class of predictive analytics solutions that are natively implemented on HANA. SAP has also had to update the underlying implementation on some of the solutions that were based on Adobe Flex to HTML5 so that they can run on Apple IOS based devices.
Gartner sums it up nicely:
“The primary focus of SAP's BI product road map can no longer be summarized as "BW plus BusinessObjects.” Hana brings huge change and the company's platform strategy now extends to more packaged analytic applications and emerging technologies.”
Figure 2. SAP NetWeaver Business Warehouse on HANA
SAP Business Suite on HANA ‐ Transform your Business
Running the entire SAP Business Suite on HANA is a major undertaking. This approach involves using HANA as your only enterprise database for the entire SAP suite of transactional and analytics applications and perhaps even some non‐SAP ones.
Currently, most companies are taking a “wait and see” attitude before jumping into this with both feet. The primary concern is to make sure that HANA truly is an enterprise class database with disaster recovery, geographical redundancy, replication, and the other attributes of mature business technology. Of course, the cost of implementing HANA at such a full scale should also be considered a major factor in the decision making process.
Given SAP’s recent announcement that the full Business Suite is now available on HANA and is fully supported, this reality seems much closer than most people may think. The prudent approach is to plan and start preparing for the new HANA environment now.
Typical Steps in the HANA Implementation Process
Although no two SAP landscapes are alike or even “typical,” the steps required to implement HANA and the process generally followed will consist of one or more of the tasks described below:
- Upgrade existing SAP applications to the latest non‐HANA versions
- Upgrade existing SAP applications to the respective HANA versions
- Migrate data from the existing DB to HANA
- Set up new data load mechanisms for real‐time (Sybase Replication/SLT) and batch loading (BO Data Services) from transactional systems
- Add new native HANA applications
- Create additional and new reports and analysis based on new functionality
- Modify business processes as required to take advantage of new HANA functionality
- Perform ongoing operations and maintenance of the production landscape
- Perform ongoing operations and maintenance of the HANA database as new revisions and enhancement packages are released by SAP
From the steps above, it’s clear that implementing HANA is a non‐trivial undertaking that could require multiple upgrade projects and one or more data migration projects ‐‐ each of which has significant potential to disrupt existing operations. In addition, new applications have to be implemented and optimized for HANA. Finally, affected business processes may have to be updated to take into account the new functionality and the benefits that organizations can achieve with it.
The move to HANA brings dramatic systems changes, and there is only one way to ensure that business processes and systems function as intended. Business processes must be tested.
Ensuring Quality: Why Test Automation is Critical
Testing business processes across a complex, modern enterprise application landscape is an n‐ dimensional problem. As shown in Figure 3 below, all of these dimensions come into play when ensuring that business applications work as expected for end users on any device, from anywhere, at all times during the day or night ‐‐ whether the application is implemented on‐premise, in the cloud, or in a hybrid environment.
The Business Process Dimension
For large global enterprises, standard business processes typically have multiple variations. These variations are based on many factors such as geographies, line of business differences, material and packaging types, and compliance and legal requirements in different countries. So when testing an end‐ to‐end business process, the data that drives variation in business processes must be well understood to ensure that all the important variations are covered by testing to ensure quality. Domain knowledge is critical to ensure that these tests are effective. This domain knowledge typically rests with your business subject matter experts ‐ and not necessarily in the IT department. For this reason, the involvement of business subject matter experts in testing is critical ‐‐ and at the same time could consume a large amount of their time and bandwidth.
The Device Dimension
Most modern business systems and increasingly most SAP applications have versions that run on different mobile devices (phones, tablets and PCs) each of which may have different form factors and underlying operating system versions in use.
It’s no longer sufficient to have applications tested just once for a PC platform. Mobility introduces significant challenges when it comes to testing. For example, to test 10 variations of your business process across 8 different mobile devices, your testing load increases 8‐fold ‐‐ going from 10 tests to 80 business process tests. Performing 80 tests manually for the frequent changes in a HANA environment is practically impossible and test automation becomes a must‐have capability for project teams.
The Application & Technology Dimension
Modern business processes typically cross multiple application boundaries. For example, a single critical business process could use multiple underlying SAP and non‐SAP applications, and these applications in turn, may be hosted on‐premise or on the cloud. Effective testing needs to seamlessly cross application boundaries whether these applications happen to be on‐premise or in the cloud. Tests must be constructed so that they span the full end‐to‐end business process and include all the systems and interfaces that are required to perform the process. Problems often occur in the interfaces between applications as handoffs occur from one application to another, so testing these is particularly important.
The typical enterprise application landscape also includes custom or commercial applications that are built using software technologies like Java, .NET, Silverlight, or HTML. All of these technologies need to be supported by automated testing solutions to maximize test coverage of the business process and to achieve high levels (greater than 80%) of test automation.
The Test Type Dimension
During a HANA implementation project, several types of testing are required to ensure success. Skipping any of them exposes the organization to unnecessary process risks:
- Ensure HANA applications and reports are functional
- Verify HANA based BI reports are accurate
- Verify BI reports against data in transactional system(s)
- Verify functionality across multiple device types (including mobile devices and platforms)
- Ensure role based authorizations are respected after importing models from BW InfoProvider to SAP HANA
- Drive load against transactional system to ensure near real‐time data transfer across LT server or Sybase replication services
- Drive load against post conversion HANA based BW to ensure improved performance benefits are realized for dashboards, reports and analytics
The Worksoft Plan: 5 Success Strategies for HANA Projects
The potentially transformative impact of technologies like HANA is tempered by the practical limitations that most CIOs face in managing their SAP landscape through massive changes. The risks of project failure are business disruption, production outages, and the high cost of delays and rework when new solutions are introduced into the existing environment. Fortunately, today there are proven approaches to institutionalize the process of introducing innovation on an ongoing basis and minimizing the risk of disruption. Worksoft can provide technology, coupled with a methodology and experience to significantly shorten the innovation cycle and provide a framework for project success. This methodology is broadly outlined below.
#1: Recognize that Managing Risk in HANA Projects Implies Testing
The multiple new applications, technologies and system changes driven by HANA must be tested before being introduced into production. However, the reality is that testing is often short‐changed for a variety of reasons, introducing significant technology risk for the enterprise:
- Project deadlines squeeze the time available for systems testing and validation
- Budget pressures reduce the spending available for testing
- Reliance on manual testing, rather than automated testing, limits test coverage and the quality of testing
As discussed above, the complexity of testing grows dramatically as all dimensions need to be addressed. Without test automation, that complexity becomes nearly impossible to manage manually in a cost effective way.
#2: Take an End‐to‐End Approach
To minimize the risk of business disruption as HANA is introduced into your enterprise application landscape, your team needs to understand:
- What are the critical end‐to‐end business processes that are impacted?
- What geographic and line‐of‐business variations of these business processes exist and need to be considered?
- What business data drives that variation?
The “end‐to‐end” aspect is important. Too often, teams feel constrained by application boundaries. In large companies, typical business processes span both SAP and non‐SAP systems, and quality execution requires that the links between applications work as well as the applications themselves.
Your business subject matter experts from different functional areas of the company, like sales and marketing, HR, and logistics need to be engaged in the change validation process – in a way that is not unduly burdensome for them or for their business. Successfully introducing HANA requires testing, and testing requires that business processes must be documented and captured so that changes can be managed.
#3: Capture Critical Business Processes Quickly
Documenting business processes with MS Word or Excel is a poor choice since they are unstructured, subject to interpretation, lack specificity and require a great deal of time and effort to produce.
A better approach is for your business SMEs to “capture” their business processes in a reusable database by walking through the SAP applications that they normally use to do their work. As they walk through the process, they can also see what data is used in the underlying SAP systems for the transactions that they are using. This is exactly what the Worksoft Certify Suite of tools enables users to do.
Once business processes are captured in the database, then a number of capabilities flow from that. First and foremost, you can use the capture to create automated functional tests for your critical business processes. The data collected as part of the walkthrough can be driven through those tests to cover important variations for geographies, sites, and business units. The results of the functional tests and screen captures can also be used to automatically generate process documentation that is useful for compliance, audit, training, and other purposes. Captured business processes can also be turned into realistic load tests that ensure high system performance under real world conditions.
Maintenance and updates are simple. As business processes or applications change, business SMEs can update the capture by inserting the right changes at points in the business process where they are applied. There is no need to redo the whole business process. Changes can be added at any point in the sequence of steps and can be extensive, if required. This generates significant time and cost savings for new technology deployments or updates.
#4: Achieve 80% Test Automation for Critical Business Processes
HANA projects become a lot simpler if the push of a button verifies that 80% of your core business processes and their variations are functioning correctly. This lets project teams focus on what’s important to the business rather than spending their project cycles on manual testing to ensure that nothing is broken. It’s the high levels of automation that drive the cost savings, staff efficiency, and around‐the‐clock quality assurance of test automation software.
While manual testing will always have a place, the reality is that manual testing is slow, expensive and incomplete – and is being replaced by automation at top firms.
Test automation has come a long way. First generation, script‐based automation tools have proven fragile and unable to keep up with high change environments. Modern solutions like Worksoft Certify are specifically designed to address these problems and are already delivering high levels of automation for global Fortune 500 companies today.
Worksoft Certify is able to do this for four specific reasons:
- Simple ‐ It’s designed to be simple enough to be used by business SMEs yet offers the sophistication for even the most advanced IT users
- Fast ‐ It delivers results in a matter of days, thus delivering a rapid return and motivating teams to continue to do more
- Resilient ‐ It is very easy to make changes as your applications and business processes change
- Complete ‐ It comprehensively covers all SAP and non‐SAP applications that are typically present in any modern SAP landscape
#5: Institutionalize a Center of Excellence
Today, many large enterprises are embracing the concept of a “Center of Excellence” and putting in place teams whose charter is to accelerate the deployment of innovation, and ensure the quality of business processes and the systems that support them. Typically, these are within an IT or Quality organization and managed as a budgeted line item. For many companies this is a radical departure from the past where business process testing and quality assurance were managed on a “one‐off” project basis – or not at all.
Case Study: Functional and Performance Testing Together
The global enterprise discussed here is a Fortune 200 technology manufacturer that operates in more than 100 countries, has more than 40 global locations, uses SAP (including BI and HANA), and has more than 50 non‐SAP enterprise systems. For an enterprise of this scale and complexity, maintaining quality business process execution and ensuring the quality of these enterprise systems is a priority.
Enterprise Application & SAP Landscape
The enterprise application landscape of the company consists of:
- SAP ECC EHP 5
- SAP SCM, SRM, and BI
- SAP HANA
- 63 non SAP Applications
- 2500+ end users
- 40+ global locations
A state‐of‐the art virtualized VBLOCK cloud architecture was used to deploy SAP. Figure 4 below shows their deployment of Worksoft Certify® software for functional test automation across their SAP and non‐SAP landscape, including HANA.
The company had a major new SAP implementation project where they were moving entirely from another ERP solution to SAP, including new HANA functionality. In the process of changing systems, the company also wanted to optimize some of their business processes and eliminate a number of custom applications in favor of standard SAP software.
The following core principles were established for the project:
- Design for the future state of the business
- Minimize customizations and stay on the vendor upgrade path
- Move rapidly to mitigate growing system risk
- Use a phased approach to realize value
- Drive cultural change and transformation
Figure 5. Performance Testing with Worksoft Certify for SAP HANA implementation
Automated Testing Approach
The project approach consisted of several steps:
- Started by using Worksoft Certify® to automate functional testing of critical SAP transactions and business processes (in the transactional systems) ahead of the anticipated go‐live phases. Both functional and performance testing capabilities had to be considered.
- Transferred selected functional tests (at transactional and end‐to‐end levels) to Certify Performance Test™
- Ran both functional and performance test runs using automated testing to test the transactional systems to ensure correct functionality of end‐to‐end business processes as well as ensure adequate system/hardware capacity for upcoming go‐live phases
- Used Certify Performance Test™ to drive high volumes of transactions in the ERP system to test the near‐real time transfer of data through the SAP LT servers to SAP HANA
- Built additional automated functional and performance tests to test analytics applications that run on top of SAP HANA
Results & Benefits
Observed benefits of Worksoft test automation for functional testing and performance testing of multiple project cycles included:
- A 60% reduction in the number of people required to do testing
- Dramatically reduced costs by cutting out a large number of outsourced resources
- Timely implementation of project rollouts by significantly reducing test cycle times
- Improved overall quality and reduced support tickets post go‐live
- Creation of a re‐usable test automation library that can be deployed across multiple projects, bringing significant efficiencies to all subsequent projects
- Improved quality: Performance testing uncovered critical problems in the SAP LT server infrastructure for transferring data over to HANA. The problems were fixed before production outages could occur and before business users were impacted.
One of the main attractions when you visit the beautiful Hawaiian island of Maui is the road to Hana. This 68‐mile (109 km) long stretch of highway connects Kahului with the town of Hana in east Maui. It takes a full 2.5 hours to travel this short distance with no stops. The narrow, winding road passes over 59 bridges, 46 of which are only one lane wide. But the journey is definitely worthwhile because of the spectacular views, waterfalls and rain forests along the way, as well as the beach that rewards you at the end of the trip. A little planning and foresight are required to make the most of the journey and also come back in one piece!
Your journey to implementing SAP HANA, although not entirely the same, can be a spectacular experience for the business results it delivers along the way. A bit of proven methodology and a lot of technology from Worksoft will go a long way toward making this journey ultimately rewarding.