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SAP Testing - When, Why, and What Tools To Use cover

SAP Testing – When, Why, and What Tools To Use

Starting a company that works in any field is an exciting journey. We start with probably ten people and almost no user base in the initial days. But if our services are user-centric and our product solves a good problem, we will grow in both these dimensions. When our user base grows, and we expand our services, we generally ask our engineers to make our systems even better for them. For example, search should be within milliseconds even if we have millions of products (considering the eCommerce domain). We make our designs better, algorithms better, architecture better, and much more. However, in this process of making our product better, we are constantly expanding our team. Soon we realize that our team has grown to a level where manual management is no longer possible. Hence, we turn towards products like SAP that work well as long as SAP testing has been efficient and of top-quality.

This post is a structured guide for the same topic of SAP testing, analyzing what SAP is, why it is essential, and how we can make it worthwhile for our customers, mainly big businesses.

A brief introduction to ERP and ES

Before we start to understand SAP, we need to understand two concepts that are the core of the solution provided by it.

ERP, abbreviated for Enterprise Resource Planning, is a process of resource management inside an enterprise. Since resources vary according to the enterprises, ERP expands its wings to diverse domains ranging from Sales to Human resources.

ERP systems are preferred by businesses only, unlike individuals, because of their nature and the ability to work on a bigger scale. Today, ERP has emerged as the basis of resource management, and the market size of ERP has exceeded $35 billion as of 2021.

In earlier times, when data was less and resources were not so vastly expanded, a team could handle ERP systems manually. However, now we have surpassed that stage, and the amount of data and number of resources a single enterprise handles are out of the question for manual management. Hence, today, we use integrated Enterprise Software (ES), out of which SAP is one of a kind.

ES is for the enterprise to satiate its needs in various departments. An enterprise can be anything if it has many resources that need to be managed. For example, a college can be an enterprise that needs management of courses attended by each student along with their details (personal and others). Martin Flower summarizes an ES’s work: “Enterprise applications are about the display, manipulation, and storage of large amounts of often complex data and the support or automation of business processes with that data.

Enterprise software may come with a single task; therefore, you might have to combine different ES to make a more extensive enterprise system. Although some companies like SAP provide various ES under their umbrella, an enterprise can choose according to their needs. ES is a very diverse and big thing today, but this post focuses on SAP testing. If you wish to know more about ES, a book titled Building Products for the Enterprise: Product Management in Enterprise Software is a great place to start.

Introduction to SAP and SAP Testing

SAP is a Germany-based company and a big name for ERP software. If you are an enterprise and require an ERP to cater to the growing needs of your enterprise, SAP is probably the primary and most probable choice out there. In 2022, SAP celebrated its 50th birthday as it also became a company that has the world’s 99 out of 100 biggest companies as its customers. Currently trading at 83 Euros per share, SAP clocked revenue of 27.84 billion Euros in 2021 with consistent YoY growth.

From a business point of view, for an enterprise, SAP can satiate your requirements as it has a long list of product offerings. Some of the most popular ones can be the following:

  • SAP for Retail
  • SAP for Healthcare
  • SAP Banking
  • SAP Shipping Services Network
  • SAP for Oil and Gas
  • SAP Business One
  • SAP Analytics Cloud

The above ones are business software, though. SAP expands in the following areas with its multiple offering as follows:

In the field of ERP:

  • SAP S/4HANA
  • SAP CRM
  • SAP ERP
  • SAP SRM

In the field of platforms and frameworks

  • SAP Cloud Platform
  • SAP NetWeaver Platform
  • SAP Business Connector

In the field of development and testing

  • OpenUI5 – A JavaScript framework.
  • SAP GUI – A GUI client for developing SAP applications architecture.
  • eCATT – A test automation tool.
  • SyBase ASE – A database server.
  • SAP Concur – Travel and management-related services.

The above products are just a few in a list of long-range and diverse offerings in each field. In the last fifty years, SAP has undoubtedly made a footprint in the ERP market that cannot be erased in the foreseeable future.

Understanding the SAP Testing

By this time in this post, we have made it clear that an enterprise can benefit by opting for SAP per their needs. Once you are on board, you will be creating applications that are scalable and deal with data in petabytes every day. These applications are highly complex and will be handled by millions of customers all across the globe. They will handle all types of data, from shipping to inventory to resource data. Such a vast application cannot be risked even with minor bugs. Hence, we focus on SAP testing when an SAP application is in the queue.

SAP applications are not specific to a single domain, as evident by the list written above. Hence, testing it would also not be proceeded in a single direction. This means that if you have a web application, we can focus on web-related technologies and testing tools like Selenium. We can discuss something like parameterization in TestNG or isDisplayed() method in Selenium in such cases, and we are done. However, with SAP, we have native applications, ERP stuff, mobile applications, web application, and much more. Hence, we divide this post into multiple testing domains that can be used for specific application types or across various ones.

Types of SAP testing

Once the first phase of planning and requirement analysis from the technical and business side is over, we will perform the testing process. In SAP testing, we can move in the following direction.

Unit Testing

Unit testing is done to ensure that individual units of software work as expected. When the software is integrated later, and a bug is found, it is hard to pinpoint at that time. Due to this, the organization may have to bear extra costs. Unit testing saves this debugging and maintenance time by confirming the feature when it is written. Therefore, most of the time, this process is done by the developers as TDD or after writing the feature.

Integration Testing

Once we are done with unit testing, we need to integrate these units and connect them to work as one big product. Integration testing finds out whether there are any issues with this integration or not. If there are, the units are sent back to the developers with logs.

Functional Testing

SAP can produce a huge product for you with hundreds of functionalities. Sometimes people have to hire SAP experts (specific to a tool like Ariba) to help them move ahead. These functionalities must be thoroughly tested for their work as a minor bug can increase the feedback cycle from product experts to their clients to SAP developers and back. This can increase the budget and extend the timeline. Therefore, analyze each function and the task it achieves and test them accordingly.

Regression Testing

Regression testing ensures that the current changes you did do not impact the existing features. For instance, you develop a new module for your inventory, and the associated database starts interfering with other modules. Such issues can be rectified through regression testing in SAP testing.

Performance Testing

The whole point of having ERP software is to improve the performance of lookout operations and resource management processes. Failing at this basic requirement can be cost-heavy as SAP applications hold a large amount of data which can slow down operations if not implemented smartly. Hence, performance testing helps judge our SAP application’s performance and analyze weak areas that need improvement.

Security Testing

Finally, at last, we conclude SAP testing with security testing. Since SAP applications contain extremely sensitive data (as it is ERP) about the enterprise, protecting it from intruders is very important. So, we hire security experts that can find loopholes inside the network, connections, or application itself. It helps us analyze certain things outside of our application that other types of SAP testing do not.

Apart from these types of mandatory SAP testing, you will find a few more, like UAT, Bottleneck, Portal, ETL testing, etc. However, these are optional and depend entirely on the type of application you are building. Since SAP makes a variety of applications, each of them cannot be discussed in this post. Let us know in the comment section if you wish to know about any other type in our future posts.

SAP testing tools

Performing the above-mentioned testing types requires efficient tools that work specifically in their specialized domain for the best results. For this, SAP itself offers a few tools along with third-party offerings that we will discuss in this section.

Testsigma

If your SAP application is web-based, you can take advantage of Testsigma’s strength of using English as the script language. These English-based tests are then converted to appropriate actions using natural language processing. Therefore, you not only save a lot of time but cut costs in hiring experts in programming.

With Testsigma, all you need to do is sign up on the platform for free and start writing test cases. This platform will also work to perform SAP testing for mobile devices.

HP ALM

HP ALM stands for Application Lifecycle Management, and its work is very well understood from its name. HP ALM works for all the players involved in the project and records their activities. This helps in clear communication between teams and tracking the progress of each of them. HP ALM hosts the best release management features.

Panaya

Panaya is one of the tools available for SAP testing that you will come across. Unlike ALM, Panaya focuses just on the testing part and covers the majority of the mandatory testing types. Similar to Testsigma, this tool is also available over the cloud, which helps in collaboration and reduces redundant communication time.

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Made with a unique real-time visibility feature, Panaya can perform system testing, functional testing, integration testing, regression testing, and much more on your SAP application.

eCATT

Developed by SAP, eCATT is abbreviated for extended Computer Aided Test Tool. The tool can be used for test automation and efficient SAP testing on applications and modules developed by SAP. It helps combine the business aspects of the SAP application with the technical aspects and can facilitate test suite creation by anyone on the team. eCATT also excels in parameterization and recording of test cases. The one problem with using eCATT is that it uses the ABAP language, which is also developed by SAP. So, if you are into eCATT, you have confined to ABAP-based software only.

SAP Testing – Best Practices

Alright! The final thing we need to discuss before wrapping up this post is a couple of best practices to follow while performing SAP testing. These practices will help you complete the testing phase faster and in the best way possible.

Shift Left with SAP Applications

The first thing that will be an excellent methodology to have in your quiver is shift-left testing. The process of shift-left testing defines the initialization time of the testing phase. Generally, testing is done after the application is developed. But this increases the feedback loop and time to delivery. In addition, bug finding and maintenance add to the total project cost. Shift-left testing methodology changes that. While it involves testers at the start of development, the bugs found are very easy to rectify as the product has not been completed.

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Shift-left testing is an ideal practice to follow in SAP testing because of the depth and complexity of the product involved. The more extensive and complex the product, the harder it becomes to maintain.

Look beyond UI

Another practice I would advise you to follow in SAP applications is to look beyond user interfaces and invest most of your time in functionality and other tests. This is because SAP is an ERP software tailored for businesses and not for regular users like an eCommerce application. These users generally do not care much about the user interface as long as their work is done. They will use the software if they are trained and are accustomed to it. Also, since we know that businesses will use XYZ systems or ABC-inch laptop screens, we need not care how our app would look on different types of devices.

That said, it does not mean we should skip UI testing altogether. Basic UI testing is mandatory to observe the behavior of the software under various circumstances. For instance, everything should be within the boundaries of the device, and all movable things should move without disturbing neighboring elements, etc. However, this can be achieved manually easily.

Conclusion

SAP is non-arguably one of the best ERP software available in the world. Used by most big and small businesses, SAP’s reach has expanded to various types of companies across different geographical regions. This makes it a perfect choice if your resource management has been taking a toll on employees’ time in charge of this system. But your responsibilities do not end by opting for SAP. You must make sure that the application works smoothly, efficiently, and bug-free all the time. This calls for rigorous and mandatory SAP testing.

SAP testing is a comprehensive process involving various types of testing. This is because your SAP application can belong to any of the domains, and different types of testing would focus on different areas of the application. Hence, sometimes you may need UAT testing, and sometimes you won’t. This post focuses on SAP, its current stand in the market, types of SAP testing, and the tools that help us accomplish that. At this point, I hope you have become familiar with SAP, which will help you in your next project. Thank you for giving this post your valuable time.


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