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OMV takes hybrid approach to S/4HANA

Overview

OMV is a multinational integrated oil, gas, and petrochemical company and is one of the largest listed industrial companies in Austria, with close to 17 billion euros in revenue in 2020. With sustainability being a crucial component of their corporate strategy, OMV has a commission to support a lower-carbon economy while becoming the leader in a circular plastics economy.

In mid 2019, OMV leadership made the decision to migrate from their legacy installations of SAP to S/4HANA. This decision was based on the specific benefits the new system would provide for streamlining oil and gas processes and the ability to easily publish new SAP applications through the Fiori interface.

There is no “one size fits all” migration path for every company moving to S/4HANA. Each organization is faced with the decision either to migrate their existing code and processes to the new system (brownfield) or to build out a “fresh” instance with new customizations to fit their business needs (greenfield). After careful consideration, OMV made the decision to move to a “bluefield” installation of S/4HANA. This approach would allow them to extract parts of their existing configuration to move to the new system while customizing new components to enhance business processes and leverage functionality available in S/4HANA to create better business outcomes.

“The big challenge was to make it possible that the same processes running on our old SAP system would also run seamlessly on the new SAP S/4HANA system landscape.”

A project of this magnitude was not taken on lightly. Leadership knew the transition needed to occur quickly while mitigating any issues to the system that managed all critical business functions. The traditional manual approach previously used for testing their SAP system would hinder their ability to achieve this.

“This was leading to quite a complex project set in the end. It was decided we needed automation support in the testing of the project. There were so many parts integrating into each other, we wanted to ensure if we introduced code in one area of the new system landscape that we didn’t destroy another taking its place,” says Michael Gahler, S/4HANA Technology and Quality Manager at OMV. An evaluation of tools available in the marketplace quickly took place. OMV was focused on identifying an automation tool that could not only handle the complexities and customizations that came with ERP systems but could also be rolled out quickly to the team to avoid delays.

Challenges

  • A complex bluefield migration to three SAP S/4HANA systems
  • No room for error with migration of critical business processes
  • Traditional manual testing would hinder the speed of the project
  • Domain experts had no test automation experience  
  • Testing the entire system after every change would lead to project delays and cost overruns

“We couldn’t afford to have just have spot checks on the system. We needed to have frequent checks of the system changes and new features introduced and understand how they would impact the core processes that are mandatory for our business.”

Bringing test automation onboard to expedite success

Tricentis Tosca was chosen as the tool to lead the automation project forward, with the decision to purchase Tricentis LiveCompare a short time after to support impact analysis for SAP.

To kick off their automation journey, OMV partnered with Tricentis to automate a small test portfolio over a six-week period. This project, alongside an onboarding workshop, provided support to introduce the capabilities of Tosca, demonstrate how it benefited the project roadmap, and scale expertise of test automation for OMV’s SAP domain experts quickly. The team was able to institute a structure for test automation that would be both maintainable and sustainable over the long term. The initial project was considered a success by internal stakeholders.

The team turned their focus to automating testing for the most critical SAP business processes. Once those processes had corresponding automated test cases, they began working on branching out automation to include full end-to-end testing.

“We have quite a lot of processes in our system that start in SAP and interact with other tools as well as the other way around. We knew this chain of processes would need to be automated to ensure our critical business processes could function properly,” says Gahler.

OMV has achieved 80% test automation of all business-critical processes with Tosca. Automation has introduced quality at speed and allowed for 90% of all code on three separate S/4 HANA systems to go live in approximately 18 months. The team now supports monthly major releases of new functionality, while also maintaining weekly small fix releases.

Results

  • Migrated to three bluefield installations of SAP S/4HANA in 18 months
  • Achieved 80% test automation on all business-critical processes in under a year
  • Reduced testing time with impact analysis by 50%+
  • Achieved greater visibility into defects and increased collaboration with SAP developers with Tosca integration to SAP Solution Manager
  • Successfully upgraded new S/4HANA version during installation project with no impact on project timeline

Guiding smart testing decisions with impact analysis

During the project, the team struggled to identify critical areas impacted by the changes to the system. This created the need to retest the entire system after each code introduction, which dramatically impacted the project delivery time and budget. With a project scope of this size, consistently retesting the entire system with each change was not an option OMV could afford.

It was at this point the team decided to leverage an impact analysis tool to guide their testing activities and make their SAP testing more efficient. The team chose Tricentis LiveCompare because its AI-powered impact analysis exposes the risks to critical business functionality posed by any standard or custom object change. By pinpointing the most at-risk areas to be tested, the team would be able to reduce testing timelines while still ensuring 100% risk coverage to their SAP environment. When paired with Tosca, LiveCompare would provide even more value to the team by automatically creating the optimal test plan for any SAP update, identifying the best test cases to run in Tosca as well as any tests that need to be created. This meant the OMV teams could leverage their existing automation suite in Tosca to ensure future changes to their S/4HANA systems could go live faster and with less risk to the business.

“Before we send a transport live, we run an impact analysis and execute coordinating test cases in Tosca. Defects from the results are created in our solution manager to be worked on and re-integrated back into the transport management system again,” says Gahler. “This process allows us to verify upfront before we release something that could affect our live systems negatively.” LiveCompare has significantly reduced the testing time required for each major release in OMV’s three installations of S/4HANA. Instead of taking up to six weeks to test each instance, the team now needs only two weeks per instance. This not only increases the pace at which OMV can release updates, it allows domain experts to spend more time planning future releases instead of testing the current one.

Pivotal decisions on SAP S/4HANA upgrades

There was an unexpected decision for OMV to make during the project phase that could have potentially impacted the timeline for go-live. SAP had released a newer version of S/4HANA. The team had to decide to either move to the newer version now or finish their implementation of the older S/4 system and upgrade afterwards. With the help of LiveCompare, the team made the decision to upgrade during the current project phase. Gahler explains, “LiveCompare told us which objects, which new functionality, and which custom code was affected by the new program. We could easily identify where we needed to re-test and where we needed to concentrate our efforts to guarantee this upgrade would not impact our timelines.”

Product mix

  • Tricentis Tosca
  • Tricentis LiveCompare