Effective regression testing for SAP S/4HANA
There’s a big change ahead for organizations using SAP. With this change comes a need to give the business assurance that operations will continue as expected during and after the move to SAP S/4HANA.
So, how do you instill confidence that critical processes are fit-for-purpose in the new SAP landscape? Regression testing offers a solution.
Of course, regression testing is nothing new. It’s a key component of quality assurance in today’s fast-paced digital landscape where rapid software releases and regular system upgrades are a fact of life. And the move to SAP S/4HANA is no exception to this. That’s because SAP S/4HANA is aligned with a new, more agile way of development. Thus, regression testing will become even more important as development is focused on continuous delivery of SAP-based and iterative software releases.
Identify the most critical processes
There are several considerations to bear in mind when testing SAP with a focus on regression. As a first step, it’s important to identify the most critical business processes ahead of the move. There’s no time to lose with this. It will take time to analyze and document all the critical processes – typically thousands. Only then can testers assure the business that the move to SAP S/4HANA hasn’t created new defects, or even re-introduced old ones that had previously been ironed out.
Further, regression testing should remain part of the QA and Testing operations once the SAP S/4HANA landscape is up and running. SAP is moving forward all the time and regression tests allow you to be vigilant and ensure every change is validated. And with the frequency of change, it’s no wonder that test automation tools feature in the regression testing toolkit. Automation enables frequent testing with one click – and with no supervision.
Increasing coverage with automation
Depending on the nature of the process being tested – and frequency of changes affecting that process – manual regression testing may be appropriate. But if you’re touching/changing code every day, then you need to test that code every day, and automation gives you the coverage and resources to do this. Further, with SAP S/4HANA pushing a more agile development approach, which in turn demands agile SAP testing and, consequently regression testing, the need for automation is reinforced still more.
So, the next consideration is to decide what automation tools you should invest in. There’s no single answer to this. We make recommendations based on what our clients are currently using, or what level of automation coverage they want to achieve in their regression testing. What’s important is that the automation tools and approach you select should help to reduce the implementation time and ensure that the implementation stays faithful to the initial definition of requirements.
The tools should also allow for the early discovery and remediation of errors, while a consideration of how SAP’s ‘next thing’ fits with new technology trends like cloud, Big Data and mobility is necessary to avoid any risk of data security breaches. Manual testing in these instances will not be sufficient.
4 recommendations for effective regression tests
The following 4 regression testing recommendations stem from the work that Sogeti has already undertaken in support of several clients’ SAP journeys.
- Identify and document all your business-critical processes
This is paramount and should be one of the earliest objectives before you move to SAP S/4HANA. It’s the only way to ensure your regression tests remain up to date with the new SAP testing environment. And, with businesses changing year-on-year, the documentation needs to reflect current processes, not those documented two or three years ago.
- Put the right conditions and controls in place
Master data and transactional data must be as close to the production environment as possible. There should be identical conditions between the production environment and the other environments, such as development and test. This will ensure that tests are performed with real data and meet real quality requirements.
- Improve preliminary planning and test case designs
Assign priorities to the test to identify the most important cases. And design test cases so that they either offer a greater coverage factor or create the basis for empirical testing.
- Invest in automation
Automation increases execution capacity by reusing available scripts whenever they are required. Further all the environments (dev, test, production) can be introduced to the test because you can run the execution in parallel.
It is perhaps important to add that the move to SAP S/4HANA represents a significant shift in terms of the new database and other new functionalities. The value of regression testing is that it ensures both familiar and new processes continue to work as expected in the new SAP S/4HANA landscape.
Migrations will need to be completed before 2025, so it is important to start thinking now about quality in your approaching move to S/4HANA .
Please get in touch if you’d like to find out more about Sogeti’s SAP S/4HANA Business Assurance services.