I have started to notice a trend in the questions I receive about SAP testing. Whether this is a casual discussion with a fellow customer or after speaking at a conference. Even on other continents than where I currently reside, people often ask how to get started in generating a test strategy.
Most customers will have some sort of testing practice in place, but have an appetite to mature it into something that will actually reduce the cost of operation of their SAP portfolio rather than present itself as a necessary evil. There are several places a CoE can begin this journey, but most SAP Customers start from different points and more often than not it seems, business units and corresponding modules for a single customer have varying levels of maturity, and perhaps legitimately so. Due to this, some initial evaluation needs to take place.
Hopefully you have a document repository, preferably related to your own implementation; and fingers crossed its organized with some sort of reasonable indexing to find what you need quickly. If not, this is an ideal place to begin your exercise. It may feel like a massive burden going through your folders, shared repositories, servers (yes, documentation often hangs around here too), cloud storage and emails, but it will take only a short time to collect these valuable artifacts. Bug others if you must and consider enriching product documentation with relevant pieces from the service marketplace, support portal, business function predictor etc. as necessary.
Ok, with that in place, ask yourself whether you have quite a modified ERP system/s landscape. If you do then I would recommend a starting point of getting that custom code under control. If you are an SAP Enterprise Support customer in EMEA, you should avail of the Custom Code Management Campaign that will give you visibility of your customer code, enable to you to retire or improve custom code and potentially move you closer to SAP standard (meaning you are (in theory) less-liable to side-effects of upgrades, possibly reducing (in some cases significantly) the test requirements for further innovations, not to mention the fact that if you can revert to SAP standard completely in some areas, SAP will support when something goes South). If you are not in EMEA and failed in convincing your Enterprise Support Advisor that you are, try the SAP Enterprise Support Expert Guided Implementation (EGI): Custom Development Management Cockpit. You’re likely to learn a lot more this way anyways, particularly if you perform in series with the EGI for Customer Code Quality and Clones.
So now your system looking all sparkly and having a distinct vanilla taste you are ready for the next major step, the EGI for Reverse Business Process Documentation (RBPD or Solution Documentation I). So you need to be on Solution Manager 7.1 for this. If you are not, then you must turn this roadblock into an opportunity and undertake the EGI: Basic Configuration of SAP Solution Manager 7.1. Using the RBPD service you should now be in a position to understand available business processes, perform necessary adjustments, create business blueprints and structure and configure project standards. This is also a foundation level building block for Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) and will unlock doors leading to further operational cost reductions such as Business Process Monitoring (BPMon), Change Impact Analysis and Automated Testing.
Now that the foundations are in place, your focus will be on enriching the Solution Manager repository with further solution document. This can be achieved by joining EGI Solution Documentation II: Reverse Process Documentation. You will be shown in detail how to harness the power of the Solution Documentation Assistant (SoDocA) and enable yourself to map core business processes in your Solution Manager system.
Next step on your journey is to deploy Change Impact Analysis with Business Process Change Analyzer (BPCA). This is the point you need to get to where you have now formalized your business process master list (BPML) in solution manager and now you can check the test scope for transports, support packages, enhancement packages etc. very easily which is currently by far the biggest cost saver available. It is also good to note at this point that you haven’t spent a dollar more than the cost of enterprise support (generally 5% of the 22% you pay for annual maintenance).
As you can see, SAP Enterprise Support contains many types of services that can really jumpstart a customer into becoming a best practice CoE by sweating the enterprise support and solution manager assets to get the most out of something you probably already own.
Taking this a step further you can start to think about integration of HP Quality Center (licensed separately), SAP Test Acceleration (licensed separately) and HP Quick Test Professional (Whoa! 2 Free Licenses for SAP Enterprise Support customers, afterwards licensed separately) paving the way for a top-drawer SAP Best Practice Application Lifecycle Management framework.