The most important Success Factors for sustainable and efficient SAP Test Automation
Once companies start thinking about making their SAP quality assurance better and more efficient, they can´t get around the topic of test automation anymore. In order to make use of the benefits of automation supported testing to its full extent, some important success factors have to be considered.
The following blog post is based on several customer conversations, their retrospectives and our decades of test automation experience.
Pains and Objectives
The underlying cause for every change is an unsatisfying initial situation. With respect to quality assurance of your SAP systems, these can be various aspects which lead you to a desire for change and efficiency improvement.
- Too many errors occur in the productive operation and as a result cause great consequential costs for your company or even reputational damage?
- Do the test cycles engage all your key workers for weeks? Does the daily business, hence the lost sales or the decreasing service quality suffer because of the testing efforts?
- Are your external costs for the quality assurance that high because of the lack of testing knowhow in your company? Or because the tools are not intuitive enough enabling you to maintain your test cases yourself?
These or similar concerns are the reason for companies contemplating about adjustments in their testing strategy towards test automation or rather a radical change of their test automation solutions which are neither implemented efficiently nor sustainably.
The decision for automation-supported testing has great impacts on the quality assurance and the testing process. The benefit achieved through test automation solutions depend on important strategic considerations which you should face BEFORE your decision.
Questions and Success Factors
Let us attend to the essential question and issues which determine success or flop in test automation.
High Usability or Installation only by Experts?
In addition to quality and function range of the solution, a key aspect regarding your automation strategy choice has to be whether the applied solutions can be implemented by your own team or if you need massive external support.
Parameters involved are the increased implementation costs (project costs), great costs for knowledge transfer between experts and test automators as well as a planning dependency on external resources.
Keys to success of a test automation are the high usability and the intuitive setup of the automation solution. Thereby the internal experts are capable of setting up and maintaining the SAP test automation entirely on their own and in fact without any additional external intervention.
Stable Test Cases and Minimization of the Maintenance Costs being the Key to long-term Benefit
Often test sets are automated and work, virtually brand new, according to plan. However over the time, the number of functioning test cases recede and thus greater maintenance efforts are needed in order to correct the instable selections and to keep the automation machine running.
Parameters involved are the increasing maintenance costs for test automation solution which eat up the benefit of automation compared to manual testing and the engagement of internal and external resources which have to take care of the unnecessary high maintenance of the solution.
Key to success is testing business-critical systems such as your SAP landscape with highly specialized automation tools that are, regarding to the technologies in use, far more stable by definition as the generalized solutions which offer a broad technology support.
Don´t stop in the middle of the way – make the finishing line!
The automation of your SAP processes represents a great ease for your testing team. However, this is only the midway! Your testing team has still to make sure that the test data is correct before each test run, is up-to-date and not already consumed for each test case.
Parameters involved are unused potential savings in the testing process, error impacts which ascribe to incorrect test data, lost resources for daily business due to unnecessary high absorption of resources in the testing process.
Key to success is the full automation! Rely on solutions which in addition to process automation provide a fully automated test delivery! Unpopular and disliked test data searching belongs thus to the past and your experts can attend to the important daily business instead of repetitive, monotonous test data searching.
Don´t let you strategic investment end up in the basement covered with dust!
Mere process automation solutions are used cautiously because each run causes the already mentioned test data provisioning. As a result, the number of the test cycles arise hardly in comparison to manual testing and thus the possible improvement in quality will not be utilized.
Parameters affected are a delayed return on investment, automation solutions which are maintained poorly (since scarcely used) and none-usage of the full potential of test automation.
Key to success is, as already mentioned above, the full automation! You can achieve a great increase of test cycles since no extra manual effort is needed for additional test runs! Use your automation solution as often as you like and maximize thereby the benefit of your strategic investment!
Utility Maximization by using different systems and Stages
You invest in test automation, create a test automation set, and it is too complicated to use it in different systems? Do you use it only in your Q-environment?
Parameters affected are unused potentials by usage in merely one stage (often Q) and unnecessary efforts for the adaption of your test sets for other mandates, company codes, …
Key to success is once again the full automation as well as the parameterability of the test cases. Due to full automation, your experts have automated your processes by their own as well as helped configurate the fully automated data provision. And how does that do for you? All of a sudden your developers are able to run fully automated, functional tests on the DEV-Stage without manual efforts whatsoever. The system searches test data, regardless on which stage, and runs the automated test cases. Thus, you benefit from the great quality gain on the DEV-Stage before the developments go to the Q-environment.
Provided the test cases are parameterizable, you can thus run the test set on different mandates, company codes, … without unnecessary configuration efforts, not to mention duplication of test cases.
All these and many other considerations help you to maximize the benefit of your SAP test automation and not to fall into traps which minimize your benefit or even potentially nullify your investments.