Outotec takes a holistic view of Test Automation with Sogeti
With the objective of leveraging test automation and ensuring end-to-end quality in its SAP landscape, Outotec established a collaborative relationship with Sogeti. One year later, this has been expanded to cover other applications, and Sogeti is providing a holistic view of key testing processes for Outotec.
Riikka Kämäräinen and Shashank Kallole
Outotec develops leading technologies and services for customers in the mining, metal, energy, and chemical industries. The company operates in six continents, employing over 4,000 people worldwide. SAP is the main backbone of Outotec’s global business, which has established high standards for end-to-end system quality. All the internal and external customer data, both production and delivery, runs through the system, and each of the global entities uses the same SAP templates. Assuring end-to-end quality in this environment is extremely important and requires the right tooling and resources to make the processes run as smoothly as possible across all time zones and workflows.
Realizing the full benefits of test automation
In 2017 Outotec began to explore the opportunities presented by test automation, having noticed that its manual testing had become very time consuming and labor intensive. In today’s agile world, multiple enhancements and new features are added to the system constantly. This increases the importance of regression testing in assuring that the new additions don’t affect existing functionalities. In 2017 Outotec started to build test automation and rapidly noted that a comprehensive test automation strategy was needed to get the full benefits of selected approach.
“Testing takes a lot of time and resources. That’s especially so in the regression testing area, which is extremely labor consuming. It used to take us nearly 8-10 days to run one cycle with the complete scenarios. We understood that if we could automate this, we would save a lot of time.” - Riikka Kämäräinen, Senior Manager, Global IT Support - Operational Excellence/Digital Application Services, Outotec
As a solution to this challenge, Sogeti proposed taking full responsibility for end-to-end quality. This meant that Sogeti would set up the testing architecture and approach and conduct execution on demanded activities (Lights-Out testing) with a combination of both local experts and offshore subject matter specialists. In addition, Sogeti promised to provide a holistic view of the situation/process, which was also something that Outotec sought from its future partner.
“We were looking for a holistic view where everybody can see what is going on; how many test cases are executed per day, what is the execution life cycle, how it went, how many are pending and why. A clear, and user-friendly report was created to match these requirements.” - Riikka Kämäräinen
“Sogeti provided the setup that Outotec was looking for – automation for script creation using Worksoft, and Lights-Out testing using Worksoft Execution Manager, and the entire solution was on the cloud. It was also extensively integrated with the test management tool and active directory.” - Shashank Kallole, Service Manager, Sogeti Finland
"In Outotec LoT (Lights out testing) was implemented and LoT is performed every night for selected company codes, which means for entire regression pack it takes around 12.5 hours to execute all scenarios." Shashank Kallole
Integrating test automation into DevOps
After one year of collaboration, the team had managed to leverage the test automation in SAP and expand it into other applications, such as MS Dynamics, and on to PLM. Now, a team of five Sogeti experts is responsible for the test automation and test management, with two resources operating in Outotec’s office and three supporting from the Indian offshore team. In addition to regression testing, Sogeti is assisting with UAT (user acceptance testing) and training the staff on testing using the SAFe (Scaled Agile Framework) model.
“In addition to test automation in SAP, Sogeti has proactively provided tooling solutions for testing other applications as well, such as the MS Dynamics application. The set of tools used in this environment comprises Robot Framework, Jenkins for release management and JIRA for test management, which has all brought added value for Outotec.” - Shashank Kallole
Outotec uses the SAFe model and Sogeti’s Shashank Kallole is actively collaborating with Outotec’s Riikka Kämäräinen on building the test automation as an integrated part of DevOps.
“If we develop something, we need to figure out how to automate the testing of the new part. In DevOps, test automation is the operational (Ops) part of the work, so it’s important not to forget it. Think of the ‘Ops’ as being like your mum saying ‘eat your greens’ – not everyone likes it, but we all know it does a lot of good for your health. And in the IT landscape, if we ignore the operational part, the software will be unusable or fail to work correctly after a while.” - Riikka Kämäräinen
As the key cornerstones of the successful collaboration, Riikka mentions the importance of having experienced people on board:
“Shashank’s presence at the office and devotion to this project is extremely important because he is available to solve problems and share his thoughts constantly. Also, I am happy that we have an experienced team, which means that the configuration owners only have to reply to questions that are advanced and difficult to solve without their expertise.” - Riikka Kämäräinen
Committed collaboration can be seen in the results too, with no big issues turning up. According to Riikka:
“I’d like to emphasize the importance of testing and test management for the system’s stability. This is something that is extremely valuable. If we don’t do the testing well there is a risk we might break the system. So, in a way, no news is good news in testing.” - Riikka Kämäräinen