Embracing Quality Engineering in SAP S/4 Transformation
Despite its advanced features and capabilities, implementing SAP S/4HANA is quite often complicated and time-consuming. One of the primary challenges is the difficulty in mapping the solution capabilities to business objectives. This, added to project deadlines and user adoption issues, calls for a modern Quality Engineering (QE) strategy that is built from the ground up. For any organization embarking on an S/4 transformation journey, the focus on users becomes critical to realizing the full value of S/4.
In a well-structured QE model, quality management doesn't really end just after the implementation. It continues long after the new solution is in production. Leveraging the data gathered during each implementation project phase to continuously improve the quality of future releases is paramount.
Delegation of QE responsibilities
When you start to think about incorporating QE into your SAP implementation, the first step should be to establish quality as everyone’s responsibility. Anyone who is connected to the S/4 transformation project has a responsibility towards ensuring quality; be it a project manager, a technical team member or a business user. Establishing this clear understanding at the beginning of the project is critical for a smooth S/4 transformation. It is important to have a centralized organization to help advocate and establish standard QE processes and help ensure they are being followed.
A good Quality Engineering process should start at the beginning of a project and should be designed to prevent the injection of defects into the product. It is cheaper and more efficient to prevent software defects than to detect and fix defects at a later point in the project or even after go-live.
Let's take a closer look at how a good QE process aligns with the stages in an SAP S/4HANA implementation.
During this stage, quality engineers engage with the business users to gain a clear understanding of the operations that will be carried out in the S/4 system. This helps clarify the users’ requirements and expectations. This is called business process mining, and it’s crucial as it helps to set the stage for what to look for during design reviews and test execution. It also helps to formulate the framework for UAT testing.
Having this background from the prepare phase helps with the initial assessment of the solution design from the fit-to-business workshops, and the identification of core end to end test scripts. The main role of Quality Engineering in this stage is to collaborate with various teams to ensure that the solution being designed is what the user wants and also to detect any early design flaws.
Once development begins, the QE team starts running continuous technical and end user validation. The main purpose of this stage from a QE standpoint, is to identify flaws early on in order to save time and cost. This also helps to verify that the solution is being executed seamlessly from a technical standpoint and that it fits the users’ expectations.
Once development is complete, regression testing is conducted to ensure no negative impact on existing interconnected systems. This is frequently required when adding new features or making changes to an existing SAP system.
When the project is ready to go live, Quality Engineers begin to prepare for operation readiness and cutover testing. These tests ascertain that the product is ready for production.
Continuous, targeted and automated regression testing driven by the results of a change impact analysis is carried out whenever enhancements and/or bug fixes are introduced.
Applexus QE Methodology
In order to help organizations avoid common pitfalls with S/4 migrations, special QE techniques and processes are required as discussed in the beginning of this blog. Applexus has developed a robust QE model called RunningValidation. RunningValidation is an industry-focused QE strategy for SAP transformation based on the principles of “shift left”, continuous integration and testing, and customer centricity.
Built on the SAP Activate methodology, Applexus’ novel approach keeps users at the core of any testing strategy. With Applexus RunningValidation, we get involved at the onset of the project and ensure clear alignment between the users’ needs and solution design. This helps to not just uncover implementation problems early, but also to influence decisions that can have an adverse impact on quality.
Our pre-configured content, such as pre-built automated test scripts, test cases and end-to-end scripts, also ensures that we can deliver quality services much faster. When compared to other service providers, Applexus' RunningValidation approach lowers testing costs by up to 30%.
Applexus QE engages with customers in three different ways:
Advise customers on how to migrate from standard QE to more structured QE practices
- Project Support:
Provide QE support services for migration or implementation of SAP S/4HANA
- Test Management Service (TMS):
Partner for long-term services to improve the processes for execution of QE programs on SAP S/4HANA
To know more about how your organization can leverage our bespoke QE methodology to deliver successful S/4HANA implementations, please visit https://www.applexus.com/quality-engineering.
Talk to our experts
Reach out to us to learn how to incorporate a strong quality engineering practice in your S/4 journey.