Accelerate SAP S/4HANA Projects with SAP S/4HANA Interface Testing Service
Whether its Large Enterprise or Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs), SAP customers integrate their SAP solutions with partner applications or third-party applications to achieve their growing business needs. Though such integrated systems offer lot of flexibility to customers in meeting their business requirements, it also comes with its own challenges to smoothly operate and manage the business continuity considering the complex, heterogeneous landscape and different release cycles of these SAP and Non-SAP applications.
Business applications within the integrated system landscape use APIs/Interfaces as a medium to send/receive intended information which then commands the behavior of the target system.
For instance, a manufacturing industry customer, whose supply chain enables the procurement of raw materials until movement of final products from source to market is achieved by the integrated systems. These integrated systems facilitate the collaboration and establish a business model between manufacturer and with multiple suppliers, distributers, retailers, and end consumers. Communication along the supply chain is being commanded by electronic messages (EDI, IDoc, SOA) and hence these electronic messages drive the business for all the stakeholders including manufacturers, suppliers, distributers, retailers and the consumer.
As interfaces and electronic messages are critical for business operations, the next obvious questions/concerns from customers would be;
- What if the electronic message breaks and stop working?
- What if these electronic messages carry incorrect message content due to changes done via upgrade/migration done to SAP systems?
- What if these electronic messages were not tested?
These questions are relevant as it implicates business continuity and disrupt the supply chain. This puts more emphasis on safeguarding APIs/interfaces and validating electronic messages during the change event. Trigger for change event is often considered to be migration, upgrades, patch updates, bug fixes etc.
Change events are not disruptive in nature, rather meant to infuse latest innovations and technology to the business applications. With this, customers can gain competitive advantage by consuming these latest innovation which are being offered via migration/upgrade/update activities. Such innovations can be fast rolled out and be easily consumed only through cloud deployments. However, customer needs confidence and assurance that these change events don’t break their integrated business processes.
A large group of SAP’s on-prem install base customers have built custom processes uniquely for their businesses needs over the years. Many of those customers wants to still keep custom processes to utilize a tailored fit cloud ERP, so that they can take advantage of what they have already built while still getting the benefits of what cloud provides. SAP offers and onboards such customers with SAP S/4HANA, private edition.
What are some of the typical challenges for customers in SAP S/4 HANA projects?
- The movement from SAP legacy ERP to SAP S/4HANA is time-intensive
- All business-critical integrated scenarios must be safeguarded
- All business documents generated through integration scenarios must continue to work as they were before the move to SAP S/4HANA in the private cloud
- Interconnected third party systems in the landscape require the involvement of resources from third party for testing and this will incur huge project cost
- Manual testing is time-intensive and is restricted to only few sets of test data due to costs and available timeslots
All SAP customers are Intelligent Enterprises where business processes running on their SAP systems span across multiple other systems. Those can be EDI providers or B2B partners who send EDI messages (Sales Orders, Advance Shipping Notifications, etc.), third party logistics providers (3PLs) who send delivery confirmations, material movement confirmations or any legacy applications as shown in figure below.
In a typical SAP S/4HANA project there would be a large SAP team who needs to test the project deliverables, but this team needs a lot of help from the colleagues operating the legacy applications or B2B partners. What happens if legacy applications or EDI partners are not available during some of the early SAP S/4 HANA project testing phases (development, string integration testing, etc.)? There is a high risk that the whole project gets on hold or delayed which would also impact the go-live schedule. This would negatively impact the customer satisfaction.
How can SAP address these challenges and support customers in SAP S/4HANA projects?
ECS CAS Managed Testing CoE has come up with a completely managed, outcome-based service offering “SAP S/4HANA Interface Testing”, to address these concerns. The service is designed to safeguard integrations during onboarding & operations of SAP S/4HANA projects in the private cloud. RISE with SAP allows customers to change not only once, but to continually transform. SAP S/4HANA Interface Testing service utilizes SAP expertise to support a successful migration from SAP legacy ERP to SAP S/4HANA in the private cloud, continuous upgrades, and the subsequent operations.
SAP S/4HANA Interface Testing Service is powered by Int4 Suite, which is an SAP S/4HANA certified ABAP add-on. On one hand the interface test automation framework will allow to virtualize all non-existing legacy applications and B2B partners and on the other hand it will allow SAP functional test teams to continue testing SAP S/4HANA integrated business processes by providing robust API test framework designed specifically for SAP systems.
Service virtualization being implemented on API layer (transport layer like SAP Process Orchestration or SAP Integration Suite) which allows to remove any third-party dependencies for integration testing of SAP S/4HANA in the private cloud. This would also mean, no additional hardware setup required for service virtualization.
SAP API testing which allows to automate any SAP business process utilizing IDOC messages, Proxy messages or any other SAP APIs. Historical messages running on SAP iPaaS solutions can be used to quickly create all possible automated test scenarios which eliminate the manual creation of test messages.
SAP S/4HANA Interface Testing Service not only facilitates the successful movement from SAP legacy ERP to SAP S/4HANA in the private cloud and continuous operations mode but also brings in following benefits:
- Virtualization mechanism shall remove the dependency of connected third party systems and thereby reducing the overall project costs
- API layer as a gateway for rapid SAP interface test automation which accelerates the upgrade/migration projects and regular change deployments with shortened QA cycles
- Validation of SAP transport layer (SAP Process Orchestration and SAP Integration Suite) and SAP S/4HANA, private cloud would be covered
- Field level (business objects) comparison of reference business document with the actual would increase the accuracy of the validation
- Very short test execution phase during conversions / upgrade projects
For SAP customers seeking to execute complex S/4HANA projects who are dissatisfied with the project delays caused by dependencies on external non-SAP systems and EDI providers, SAP S/4HANA Interface Testing Service provides a unique SAP API testing and service virtualization solution that provides a scalable solution for covering all relevant interfaces and business scenarios. It eliminates external dependencies and can be set up in weeks. No additional hardware required for service virtualization and test automation framework as it can be configured on existing customer systems. With this service your S/4HANA projects can be delivered and tested on time and within budget.
Testing impact the quality of all SAP deployment.
Will SAP consider bundle in this service and include in as part of S/4Hana basic package ?
Yes, we agree that testing is a critical piece for any solution deployment including SAP S/4HANA. Generally, project team would plan to carry out testing in different phases of solution implementation.
However, SAP S/4HANA Interface Testing service is quite unique and complements the tests planned by project team. This is because the focus of test service is not on UI layer, rather on API layer and offers interface test automation using service virtualization. For now, the service is being offered as optional and not included by default in basic package. This can change over time if more and more customers give us similar feedback after realizing the value add of the service.
Great blog post Akshay. Another highlight for the Cloud Application Services portfolio which offers many flexible options for customers to choose from when moving to S/4HANA Cloud private edition.
Thanks Terry Turner.