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By Wayne Ariola
Tricentis recently surveyed 848 SAP project leaders to assess enterprises’ top SAP transformation priorities and testing challenges for the next 2 years. We focused on 3 core questions:
What are your organization’s top 3 SAP initiatives?
What do you think will be the top software testing challenges for SAP environments?
What is your general prognosis for SAP test automation?
Key findings from the responses include:
SAP S/4HANA is the top SAP initiative, followed by agile adoption for SAP projects and moving SAP workloads to the cloud. We believe the emphasis on these interrelated transformations is largely driven by organizations making SAP S/4HANA the centerpiece of the “intelligent enterprise.”
The top 3 testing challenges are end-to-end testing (SAP apps and beyond), S/4HANA testing, and moving from manual to automated testing. Again, these top 3 concerns are closely related. As organizations move to S/4HANA, they connect it to all the applications, devices, and users involved in transactions that promote digital transformation. This has distinct impact in terms of testing speed and scope.
For respondents who already migrated to S/4HANA, end-to-end testing and automated testing remain the top 2 concerns, but migration from legacy testing tools rises from #6 to #3. This suggests that once S/4HANA becomes a reality, many organizations find their legacy testing tools aren’t ideal for their new interconnected and rapidly-changing environment.
A staggering 76% of respondents predicted that test automation would become increasingly important for organizations using S/4HANA. In addition, 88% of respondents believe that automation remains a priority or will become a greater priority in the next 2 years.
Prioritizing SAP S/4HANA Migration, SAP Agile, SAP Cloud, and SAP Fiori Initiatives
To examine what’s driving investment in SAP, we asked “What are your organization’s top 3 SAP initiatives for the next 2 years?“ The results were:
SAP S/4HANA as the Top Priority SAP Initiative
SAP S/4HANA migration emerged as the top priority for the next 2 years. This was not unexpected, given SAP’s decision to “sunset” support for SAP ECC in 2025. However, we found that the move to S/4HANA is being driven largely by increased C-level focus on digital transformation and the business committing to S/4HANA as the centerpiece of the “intelligent enterprise.”
Based on respondents’ comments, SAP SAPPHIRE NOW conversations, and prospect/customer feedback, organizations moving to S/4HANA are not doing so only to run the latest versions of their SAP applications. Rather, they see S/4HANA as the platform for digital transformation. Their ultimate goal is to connect all the applications, devices, and users involved in their business processes.
The decision to use SAP as the platform for digital transformation has far-reaching consequences. In fact, there are really four distinct transformations involved in this move:
Digital transformation:The selection of SAP S/4HANA as the platform for enterprise digital transformation.
Agile adoption/scaling: Adopting agile processes to prepare for (and keep up with) the rapid, iterative changes demanded by the SAP platform and the maintenance of a digital enterprise.
Business process rationalization: Rationalizing existing business processes for the new platform. Most organizations have spent years customizing their SAP instances by modifying ABAP code. With S/4HANA, the more customizations in place, the more difficult it will be to achieve the desired speed of change. This slows upgrades—and ultimately digital transformation. Reworking these custom processes to more closely follow the standard SAP implementation is essential for speeding up the process.
Cloud migration: When you move to S/4HANA, your architecture becomes much better suited to support a cloud transformation. For example, the installation for an SAP ECC module like the SAP Finance app takes 593GB. Moving that application to a third-party cloud, where you’re renting space, would be very costly. The equivalent module for SAP S/4HANA is only 42GB. SAP has not only sped up its transactions, but also made core applications much more compact—enabling you to move that workload to the cloud.
S/4HANA Migration Challenges– Expectations vs. Reality
We also asked about the top challenges anticipated over the next 2 years. The top answer overall was end-to-end regression testing for SAP apps and beyond. When an organization decides that S/4HANA will serve as the centerpiece for digital transformation, they connect it to all the applications, devices, and users involved in transactions that promote digital transformation. This has a distinct impact in terms of testing.
It is interesting to note the different challenges faced by respondents who indicated they had already migrated to S/4HANA:
Here, Migration from legacy testing toolsrises from #6 to #3. This suggests that once S/4HANA becomes a reality, many organizations discover that their legacy testing tools aren’t ideal for this new interconnected and rapidly-changing environment.