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Room for improvement in end-to-end SAP testing approach

The evolving SAP landscape, in which SAP now supports full cloud-enabled digital transformation, creates both opportunities and challenges for IT and business leaders. The inaugural SAP Business Assurance Study produced by Capgemini, Sogeti and Tricentis discusses the implications for business assurance and asserts that organizations implementing SAP are still evolving in terms of their approach, use of technology, and readiness for automation.

This assertion is based on a study of 759 enterprise SAP customers, along with expert opinion and research. The approach taken to SAP adoption is typically shaped by the budget and it is interesting to see that more than two thirds of organizations do not maintain a separate budget for end-to-end SAP testing. According to the Business Assurance Study, this suggests that a focused strategy for it is still lacking. Even those that do have a dedicated budget aren’t spending heavily, with about three quarters of them allocating less than 15% of the overall department budget for SAP end-to-end testing. According to the industry experts interviewed as part of the study, one possible reason for maintaining this low budget could be that internal IT teams mostly perform ERP tests and replicate the same testing scenarios based on their past experience.

Use of early-stage testing grows

Despite the lack of a dedicated budget, there is growing maturity in the approach to SAP business assurance testing, with about half of the surveyed organizations conducting SAP testing at project preparation (51.4%) and business blueprint development (51.3%) stages. Introducing SAP testing in early phases of the implementation lifecycle like this helps companies to identify and mitigate critical issues and risks early to minimize the costs and delays that may occur due to late-stage corrections. This fact is clearly recognised, with some 62.1% of those not currently performing SAP testing at project preparation planning to do so over the next 12 months.

Build an automation business case

Despite expert consensus that automation is a critical success factor for meeting dynamic SAP testing needs, its use is still low. Just 26.6% of organizations have an automated SAP testing system in place, while 29.9% of organizations still rely on a manual approach. It seems that adoption is being inhibited by a number of factors, including cost constraints, lack of resources to build scenarios or develop test data for an automation system, and lack of understanding among top management of the potential value that automated SAP testing can generate.

The experts argue that the key to increase the use of automation is to build a strong business case for benefits against cost and to have a more focused strategy at top management level. A business case might include, for example, the estimation that, on average, a large organization can save up to US$ 15 million per year by deploying fully automated SAP testing processes.

Intelligent testing yet to take flight

We have seen a growth in the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML)-based tools within the broader software testing segment. However, the same does not apply for the automation of SAP testing. Only about a quarter of surveyed organizations currently use AI/ML to automate SAP testing. This low uptake is attributed to a lack of required technical expertise, limited understanding of benefits against costs, and the absence of success stories/examples around the usage of AI/ML in SAP testing. We are perhaps back to the need to build a business case here, one that spells out the benefits, including greater accuracy, business process improvement, and identification of critical risk areas.

Find out more

The SAP Business Assurance Study notes that despite the market availability of numerous tools and solutions for end-to-end SAP testing, it remains a complicated process for many organizations. To find out more about the challenges and how best to optimize the available testing solutions, download the study.

 

Download SAP Business Assurance Study here

 

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