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Author's profile photo Stefan Guertzgen

Dow Chemical – Driving SAP Business Process Quality and Efficiency through Test Automation

Dow Chemical is a complex industrial enterprise with operations that span the chemical, electronics, packaging, coating, agricultural and water processing industries. They have facilities in more than 36 countries, creating more than 6,000 products. They achieved $57 Billion in sales, delivering technology-based products and services to customers in more than 180 countries. Quality is an important value at Dow Chemical.


Although already well-known for the high quality of its products, Dow was looking to improve quality with less effort. They wanted to reduce the effort and cost associated with manual quality testing of SAP business processes by reducing the time and labor associated with tests. At the same time, they wanted to reduce the number of production defects and increase the reliability of their production systems.

The biggest challenges were gaining the trust of the business and functional teams who were initially not convinced that automated business process testing could be effective. They also needed a way to expand the use of automated testing quickly, which required an effective organizational process.

Project Approach

Dow concluded that functional test automation using Worksoft as a test automation solution was the right approach. Dow especially appreciated Worksoft’s ability to create reusable components, which helped them to build the number of test automation assets faster than they would otherwise have been able to manage. The platform was easy to learn and use. The team decided to break the project into four phases, as follows:

  • Identification: The automation team worked with functional areas to create a list of candidate business functions to undergo the automation process.
  • Manual Walkthrough: SMEs (subject matter experts) from the functional areas walked the automation team through the test scenario so they understood the business process procedure and results.
  • Automation: The automation team generated the test scenarios and validation scripts.
  • Review: The functional SME reviewed the automated test result reports to ensure results were as expected.

Project Results and Solutions Implemented

Dow used HP ALM for test management and planning, as well as defect management, and its reports and dashboards were critical to project adoption.

Worksoft Certify® was used for functional test automation, including scenario generation, test execution, and result verification. The team also chose Worksoft Certify® Capture to assist in development of the test portfolio. The two-way integration between Worksoft and HP ALM enabled fast action when defects occurred.

Today, nearly 80 percent of regression testing is done using automation. This includes SAP patches and upgrades, as well as the SAP order-to-cash, procurement and finance processes. They do pre-testing of major SAP releases, and weekly production changes using this solution.

Benefits Achieved

Dow achieved impressive benefits with their project approach–nearly 80 percent of their testing is done using automation. They estimated savings of 8,000 labor hours in a single year. They also increased throughput with a 50 percent reduction in test cycle times. Even with faster cycles and fewer hands-on actions, they improved the reliability of their production systems with a 25 percent defect reduction.

In addition, Dow has benefited from the use of the reusable components to accelerate the process to additional procedures and greater business process coverage. They also use the Certify® Impact solution for risk analysis, so that they can focus their resources efficiently on SAP change areas.

Next Steps

Dow plans to continue expanding the use of automated test coverage to more applications and business functions, including non-SAP solutions. They also hope to add additional business areas and to implement “lights out” testing to enable automated business process validation at a higher frequency. Regarding innovative solutions and services for the chemical industry, please visit our SAP Global Website for Chemicals.

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