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Responding to testing times in SAP business assurance

Getting your end-to-end testing wrong puts your business is at risk. That’s not scaremongering but rather one of the discussion points in the new SAP Business Assurance Study produced by Capgemini, Sogeti and Tricentis. In our series of blogs on the Study, we’ve been looking at the different aspects of how enterprises are responding to disruption in the SAP landscape as it continually evolves. We’ve seen the importance of a business assurance strategy for SAP and discussed the use of technology and automation in SAP testing.

In this article we consider the challenges faced by organizations when implementing SAP business assurance, notably in terms of the integration of SAP and non-SAP applications. The findings set out in the SAP Business Assurance Study are the result of a survey of SAP customers across the world, along with expert opinion and desk research.

No enterprise wants to experience a system crash. But, as our Study reveals, it’s among a host of challenges faced by organizations trying to embed SAP end-to-end testing tools and techniques into their implementation process. Others include downtime, lack of expertise and prohibitive costs — and it’s the potential for disintegration of SAP and non-SAP applications that can cause the entire system to crash. However, it’s not all doom and gloom. SAP is a hugely popular ERP system for a reason and many organizations are already putting in place practices to mitigate the risks and maximize the benefit of transitioning to the S/4HANA Cloud.

Security remains the top challenge

First, let’s take a look at the challenges enterprises face when implementing SAP business assurance/end-to-end testing services. It seems that security (largely information breaches) is the biggest challenge, with 32% of the survey respondents citing it. A key reason for this is the need to secure the vast amounts of data captured, stored, and shared by all organizations. In terms of business assurance, testing teams face constant pressure to install and maintain robust systems to prevent unauthorized access and minimize risk to sensitive data.

Besides security, other operational and business-related challenges that affect the SAP business assurance process include inaccuracy in identification of defects (29.8%), a lack of available expertise (29%), and communication gaps between testers and business teams (29%).

Measuring and mitigating the impact

These challenges lead to gaps and loopholes that can cause severe business impact. Indeed, our survey found that a large number of organizations (35.6%) had witnessed severe downtime or loss of productivity because of gaps in SAP testing. Some organizations (34%) said they had experienced delay in task completion, while others had issues with data harmonization (28.3%), security failure (27.9%), and reputational loss (10.5%).

While it is true that these impacts are alarming, the fact that they are being addressed is reassuring. 31% of our survey respondents said they focused on strengthening internal testing environments, specifically ensuring robust internal capabilities, teams, structures, and processes. If internal teams can’t manage, external help is at hand and 24.8% of organizations partner with external firms providing robust end-to-end business process testing services.

Integrating SAP and non-SAP applications

Or course, most IT landscapes feature a combination of SAP and non-SAP applications, along with IoT devices, and without proper integration organizations cannot fully capitalize on the benefits of a robust ERP system. Efficient testing, however, appears to be a key concern, with several obstacles standing in the way. This includes the incompatibility of SAP and non-SAP applications, which mainly occurs due to differences in technologies used for on-premises and cloud-based integration. This was cited by 56.5% of respondents as their biggest testing problem during integration.

One challenge is how to take into consideration the requisite flow of data between applications. According to the experts interviewed for the SAP Business Assurance Study, there are differences in terminologies, definitions, and structures used in SAP and non-SAP applications. Any change/update may require complete synchronization; and ensuring error-free integration is extremely challenging. We recommend a robust system integration testing regime, for both SAP and non-SAP applications, which would help to identify potential defects and confirm that all applications work as per expectations without disturbing the functions of other existing processes.

Find out more

The SAP Business Assurance Study offers further insight into this integration challenge and provides examples of how enterprises have addressed it. To find out more, download the study.

 

Download SAP Business Assurance Study here

 

Stefan Gerstner
Stefan Gerstner
VP, Digital Assurance and Testing, Sogeti
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