Safeguarding continuous delivery and guaranteeing success in your S/4HANA-enabled program

Tricentis SAP solution

Learn how to speed up SAP testing with a AI-driven, end-to-end continuous testing platform.


Guest Contributors

Date: Feb. 27, 2024

This blog was collaboratively developed and published by our partner, Capgeminiand Robert Sherwood, Principal Solutions Architect at Tricentis.

Organizations must move away from outdated methods of SAP delivery as they transition to S/4HANA and the cloud environment. The old school SAP approaches are no longer adequate for today’s requirements. They stem from the time in the 1990s and early 2000s when the enterprise resource planning (ERP) estate remained somewhat stagnant. But the situation looks very different today when change is expected to be delivered on a daily – if not hourly – basis.

When we think about continuous delivery, the immediate assumption is a shift in our technology landscape, which is correct. But, what about the adoption of this change by the users (i.e., the business)? There is a fine balance between the desired rate of change that comes through and the engagement of the business. It’s important to understand the level at which a company wants to change and how quickly it would be willing to adapt.

The great news about today’s modern architectural landscape is that a company can drive change in a small area relevant to one business unit without having a knock-on effect on other upstream or downstream teams. This is possible by leveraging microservices and Clean Core implementation principles. Despite this architectural design, it is still true that the strength of a critical business process can be limited to that of the weakest link in the chain. Therefore, organizations need to safeguard these processes.

Safeguarding a critical business process with over 400 steps across multiple technologies that are continuously evolving may seem like a near-impossible task. However, there is a way to leverage continuous delivery principles to ensure that we can cover the full end-to-end spectrum of change.

This blog explains how to implement and safeguard continuous delivery in a way that supports S/4HANA-enabled programs.

The 10 essential ingredients for achieving success in continuous delivery

  1. Open communication is vital in a multi-vendor/partner environment for fostering strong relationships and driving collective progress. It establishes an atmosphere of trust and transparency that facilitates collaboration, the sharing of information and risk, innovation, decision-making clarity, and a shared commitment to continuously delivering business value.
  2. The organizational structure is an additional element to contemplate when evaluating the preparedness and transformation of an organization necessary to facilitate ongoing delivery. The transition from project-based to product-based organization is crucial for facilitating uninterrupted delivery. This is because it eliminates information and work silos, redirects attention and effort toward delivering value to both internal and external end users, enables quicker responses to evolving business needs, prioritizes the continuous improvement of products and services, and facilitates more effective resource allocation.
  3. Common governance and standardized processes are crucial components of continuous delivery. They guarantee uniformity, reduce risk, improve quality and productivity, and match development projects with business objectives. As stated in the first two points, a culture of continuous improvement, education, automation, and clear guidelines is necessary for effective implementation.
  4. New working procedures must be established, and this takes time, perspective adjustment, and early business involvement. People must feel supported throughout and included in the decision-making and change process. Along the road, expect some setbacks and never give up on improving.
  5. An appropriate commercial structure should be in place to support continuous delivery. The primary emphasis should be on a unified approach that prioritizes the accomplished result (which is quantifiable in nature) as demonstrated through a mutually agreed-upon set of key performance indicators (KPIs), rather than the contractual nature or the quantity of resources incurred.
  6. A shared backlog should be used throughout the program to ensure flexibility, openness, collaboration, and alignment of priorities. This keeps the development team focused on providing real business benefits. A shared backlog is essential to effectively manage work and adapt to the ever-changing nature of software development.
  7. Carefully planned and effectively executed release management is a must for the success of simultaneous go-lives that each focus on enhancing, supporting, and rolling out interdependent solutions. Understanding the planned changes, their impacts, and interdependencies is critical to the efforts of enabling and safeguarding continuous delivery.
  8. The right architecture and design principles to approach the “Composable ERP,” which in SAP entails a building-block-based transition from an on-premises monolith to a cloud composable environment, with a Clean Core serving as the foundation to enable continuous delivery.
  9. The appropriate skills and expertise are also key to guarantee that the novel organization focuses on continuous delivery functions effectively, consistently provides high-quality outputs, and adjusts to the ever-changing demands of the enterprise.
  10. Keep in mind that there is no single magical tool that can do everything. It’s very important to find the best mix that makes ongoing change impact assessment, build, integration, testing, deployment, and management easier and more streamlined.


Establishing a product-centric organization that utilizes a common backlog to control demand and an efficient management strategy to handle dependencies, impacts, and releases requires considerable time. There will be numerous interim states as the business progresses.

When transitioning from the present to the future, it is essential to question whether the business is prepared. Utilizing a maturity assessment matrix establishes a foundational framework for progressing toward a state of continuous delivery. This evaluation empowers organizations to formulate a tailored improvement strategy that facilitates the prioritization of endeavours in the most crucial areas in order to attain continuous delivery.

However, attaining a state of continuous delivery involves more than just tools and processes. For organizations to embrace the innovative processes that guarantee an effective development life cycle, a cultural transformation is necessary. But, how do we safeguard the innovation that is developed?

Pioneering quality assurance

At its core, shifting left redefines the role of quality assurance in software development. Traditionally, quality assurance activities have occurred later in the development process, often leading to the discovery of defects and issues when they are more challenging and costly to fix. Shifting left brings testing and validation into the earliest stages of development.

This approach involves static code analysis, unit testing, and early validation against requirements. By identifying and addressing issues as soon as they emerge, shifting left significantly reduces the chances of defects propagating downstream. Collaborative efforts between developers and testers are heightened, leading to quicker bug resolution and enhanced software quality. By fostering a culture of collective responsibility for quality, quality becomes not the exclusive domain of testers but rather a commitment shared by the entire development team.

Continuous delivery: The pinnacle of agility and efficiency

Continuous delivery centers around the consistent and automated delivery of software to production or staging environments. This practice demands the creation of a deployment pipeline that automates testing, builds, and deployments, thereby reducing the complexity and risk of releasing software updates. The heart of continuous delivery is frequent, small releases that are rigorously tested, ensuring that the software is always in a deployable state.

This approach shortens the release cycle and invites swift feedback loops, quick iterations, and an adaptive response to evolving requirements. Automated testing, monitoring, and deployment pipelines streamline the release process, significantly reducing human error and deployment-related downtime. The principle of “release early, release often” underpins continuous delivery, aligning perfectly with the Agile mindset and promoting a DevOps culture of collaboration and continuous improvement.

The convergence of excellence: Benefits of the combined approach

When continuous delivery and a shift-left testing approach are harnessed together, their combined benefits amplify the overall efficiency and effectiveness of the development process:

  • Higher software quality: Early detection of defects through shift-left practices, combined with the rigorous testing of continuous delivery, yields software with fewer bugs, enhancing user experience and bolstering organizational reputation.
  • Faster time-to-market: The swift iterations and streamlined deployment process of continuous delivery, coupled with proactive QA while shifting left, drastically reduce the time required to deliver new features, fixes, and enhancements.
  • Cost efficiency: Both approaches contribute to cost savings by addressing issues early, reducing costly fixes, and minimizing manual intervention in the deployment process.
  • Enhanced collaboration: The combination encourages cross-functional collaboration, breaking down silos between development, QA, and operations. This collaborative atmosphere fosters knowledge sharing, improves communication, and strengthens the sense of shared responsibility.
  • Flexibility and adaptability: Agile principles are deeply rooted in both shifting left and continuous delivery. This common foundation allows teams to adapt to changing requirements and pivot quickly in response to market demands.
  • Risk mitigation: Automated testing and deployment pipelines offered by continuous delivery, when paired with the early issue detection when shifting left, mitigate deployment risks and enable rapid rollbacks if necessary.

The convergence of continuous delivery and shifting left essentially revolutionizes software development, transforming it from a sequential procedure to an iterative, collaborative, and quality-oriented undertaking this approach is known to safeguard continuous delivery. This dynamic collaboration represents not only a technical approach but also a paradigm shift in culture that prioritizes customer-centricity, teamwork, and excellence. By capitalizing on this synergy, organizations can establish a strong foothold in the digital era by providing software that is robust, dependable, and exceptionally attuned to user requirements, in addition to being loaded with features.

Avoiding innovation gridlock by safeguarding continuous delivery

Testing is performed to validate that the modifications or innovations meet the requirements. However, to prevent an innovation gridlock, the following questions must be answered:

  • Where is the risk? By failing to have visibility into the precise location of the impact on our technology estate, there is a danger that we will not only expend resources validating irrelevant elements but, more significantly, overlook critical areas that, if implemented, could cause substantial harm.
  • Does it work? As a result of change visibility, you are aware of what requires testing. Why not implement an automated testing tool that encompasses third-party technologies in addition to your core (SAP), thereby enabling comprehensive end-to-end coverage?
  • Does the change scale? It is essential to ensure that the modifications you implement in your environment align with the level of performance that both you and your end users anticipate.
  • Can your analytical or financial data be relied upon? Daily, decisions are formulated using data. What transpires if the information imparted to you is marred by time or suffers a fracture en route? Are you able to bear the cost of an erroneous decision? Ensuring data correctness, completeness, and consistency are rigorously evaluated at every stage of its journey from source to target.
  • Are we ready? The fundamental question that unifies everything. Enterprise-wide test management provides the necessary understanding to assist in activating the green button to deliver innovative software.

The wrap-up

Capgemini and Tricentis recognize that many individuals face challenges regarding change management within a fast-paced continuous delivery environment. Many organizations also face challenges when trying to simultaneously implement and enhance S/4HANA, hindering their ability to go live successfully at pace. As a result, the end users are under the impression that it is identical to the old system. How do you rationalize the level of investment then? Set yourselves up for success by leveraging the core principles outlined in this blog.

Although it may appear daunting, continuous delivery is within reach if you take the following steps:

  • Put in place the right mix of governance and tooling.
  • Question whether your contractual arrangements support your goals.
  • Ensure that business and IT stakeholders are aligned around the change.
  • Be prepared to make some mistakes at the beginning. “Fail faster to succeed sooner.”
  • Be ready to encourage, sponsor, and enable change in mindset, organization, and team skillsets.
  • Remember that there are no simple answers to complex problems and there will always be room for further improvement.

Tricentis SAP solution

Learn how to speed up SAP testing with a AI-driven, end-to-end continuous testing platform.


Guest Contributors

Date: Feb. 27, 2024

Related resources

You may also be interested in...