Overview

Duke Energy is one of the largest electric power holding companies in the United States – providing electricity to 7.8 million customers and supplying an additional 1.6 million customers with natural gas. Duke Energy is focused on “transforming the customers’ experience, modernizing their energy grid, and generating cleaner energy to create a smarter energy future for their customers and communities.”

An important first step in the mission to transform the customer experience started with streamlining internal billing systems for a universally optimized customer experience. Duke covers multiple territories and states – Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Florida – all of which came together through a series of mergers. With these mergers, Duke was managing four different billing systems to service 7+ million customers. Existing systems were all built on legacy mainframes and technology that was 20+ years old – some of which still included greenscreens. Duke knew they needed to consolidate this complex application stack into a single billing system to create a common billing experience for every customer reaching a call center.

Duke underwent an evaluation to determine the right platform to support their reimagined business processes — for billing and all internal processes. They ultimately decided to move to a greenfield installation of SAP S/4HANA, including SAP for Utilities, SAP Marketing, and SAP Commerce Cloud. With this new digital core, Duke could consolidate the four legacy billing systems into a single engagement platform while also focusing on data and analytics, customer engagement, and meter-to-cash processes.

From the beginning, Duke’s leadership knew testing would be a critical component to the project’s success. It was clear that the previous testing approach (script-based manual testing) would not be able to keep up with the speed of innovation and accuracy Duke strived for. Streamlining the project would require a testing strategy that would maximize efficiency while minimizing risk to ensure a smooth go-live and superb customer experience.

Challenges

  • Implementing a greenfield installation of S/4HANA
  • Consolidating 4 different billing applications into a single system and output
  • Creating a better customer experience for all call center interactions
  • Ensure the S/4HANA project did not negatively impact critical business processes
  • Automating testing for multiple SAP applications – including SAP for Utilities, SAP Marketing, SAP commerce cloud, ICU, C4C, Fiori and Customer recommendation engine

Solution

IT leaders at Duke evaluated the testing market to identify the right solution for faster, safer SAP releases. Ultimately, they determined that Tricentis Tosca’s model-based testing and close partnership with SAP would help them achieve the testing excellence they were looking for: resilient test automation across Fiori, Hybris Marketing, Hybris Commerce, Customer Recommendation engine, SAP ISU, and HybrisC4C.

The team started their journey by auditing the manual test scripts they had used in the past and introducing test automation in the highest risk areas. The emphasis was placed on test cases with high business value that would need to be repeated from one release to the next. This resulted in a regression test suite of 150 test cases that run through 3 testing cycles in various environments for Duke’s weekly SAP releases. Today, each SAP release undergoes five different phases of testing — including 250 automated tests weekly. Smoke tests are executed by the IT teams as they deploy changes to ensure critical components of the system are working correctly before passing them off to the business for product and operational readiness testing.

Thanks to Tricentis test automation, Duke’s test cases run unattended overnight and are completed in less than twelve hours – something that could never be possible with the manual testing method of the past. This has also led to earlier defect detection and resulted in higher quality code being deployed to production.

One early win in Duke’s ongoing S/4HANA transformation project: Duke has already been able to release unified billing for customers based on data generated from their SAP system. This has been a huge success for the business and created the consistent customer experience they were striving to achieve for the meter-to-cash process and customer support.

Outcomes

  • Advanced from waterfall to weekly SAP releases
  • Resilient test automation across Fiori, Hybris Marketing, Hybris Commerce, Customer Recommendation engine, SAP ISU and HybrisC4C
  • 250 total test cases run weekly
  • 150 test cases run in nightly unattended execution in less than 12 hours
  • Test data is generated automatically via data finder query against SAP database
  • Test automation is used to verify business process integrity in production
  • Defects discovered earlier, enabling faster and more efficient defect resolution
  • Automated regression testing run in three cycles and five environments
  • Automated tests are being created and maintained by small groups of business users
  • Test automation is viewed as high quality, high business value