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Heraeus

Heraeus drives cloud-first SAP innovation 60% faster with codeless test automation
60%
faster test case/module creation
15%
more efficient testing in projects (reduction in man days)
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Overview

Heraeus, the technology group headquartered in Hanau, Germany, is a leading international family-owned portfolio company. The company’s roots go back to a family pharmacy that started in 1660. Today, the Heraeus group includes businesses in the environmental, electronics, health, and industrial applications sectors. Customers benefit from innovative technologies and solutions based on broad materials expertise and technological leadership.

In order to support continuous innovation across this diverse product portfolio, the company’s IT team must deliver frequent updates across an extensive set of business-critical applications, including a complex SAP landscape that spans SAP ECC, Fiori launchpad for mobile, SAP Hybris, a decentral extended warehouse management system (EWM), and the company’s HR systems. With a recent move from on-premise to a multi-cloud environment in AWS and Microsoft Azure, delivering these updates at speed has become a critical priority for the organization.

“The add-ons and bolt-ons are also important to test, for example the tugger train routing system which runs with web integration and is based on JAVA integrated to two SAP systems (ECC and decentral EWM). For this we start a test from ERP, go into JAVA and web application, end up in Fiori, and get the test results in one test module. This capability has been unlocked only because we use Tricentis Tosca.”

Automating SAP testing for increased efficiency

Testing this complex, evolving SAP landscape proved to be an enormous undertaking that consumed almost 35% of the project budgets, and required significant manual effort. With a migration to SAP S/4HANA on the horizon, the team is aware that scaling test automation is key to success.

Testing had previously been accomplished through a combination of manual testing and test automation with Solution Manager leveraging component-based test automation (CBTA) scripts. “The scripts were not user-friendly. We wanted to move away from coding in a scripting environment” says Patrick Rockel, Head of Competence Center Logistics Services at Heraeus. The team knew scaling test automation across the enterprise was the best path towards increasing speed and quality of releases—and ultimately, innovating faster. However, leveraging scripting knowledge of the CBTA framework hindered the ability to scale existing automation.

In addition to the struggles of maintaining test automation with CBTA, unique scripts needed to be created for each environment that new code moved through across the delivery pipeline. Before a single piece of code is introduced into the Heraeus SAP landscape, it is tested in development, quality assurance, pre-production, and production environments. Because CBTA scripts are limited to a single instance or landscape, it was not possible to automate once and leverage across environments. The team was unable to accomplish end-to-end testing that touched adjacent applications, such as Java, web services, or SAP Fiori. Patrick set out to identify a solution that could eliminate these barriers and enable automation at scale, while also cutting project costs.

Challenges

  • 35% of project costs were tied to testing
  • Considerable manual effort made testing time-consuming
  • Available test automation required specialized scripting knowledge, limiting resources  
  • Test automation was limited to a single environment, without capabilities to test adjacent areas
  • Inability to automate end-to-end testing—both within SAP and across integrations with other applications

Tosca looked easy to use. We learned you would not need to code using Tosca, which was a key advantage. We explicitly looked for a codeless frontend tool, to convince stakeholders that investing in test automation would help the organization to go beyond.”

Exploring a no-code approach to test automation

Patrick pulled together his team to define requirements; ease of use topped the list. The Gartner Magic Quadrant provided a good starting point for researching available options and led to a conversation with a contact at Tricentis. “We were looking for a solution that would be handy and easy to understand. Tosca convinced us with its easy appearance and SAP specific features. Then through conversations, we confirmed we wouldn’t need to code when using Tosca, which was a critical advantage,” he says.

Heraeus made the decision to move forward after a successful proof of concept (POC), which demonstrated Tosca’s ability to scale test automation without specialized scripting knowledge. Tosca would also extend automation’s reach from basic testing to verifying quality across complex, end-to-end processes that touch multiple applications. During the POC, the team identified additional time savings using Tricentis’ SAP Accelerator packs, now known as rapid deployment assets. This package is part of Tricentis’ industry-leading SAP technology support and is designed to rapidly increase automation speed, saving time and effort in order to reach a faster ROI.

Automating core test cases delivers quick wins

The team defined a project plan for the software rollout, created project roles, and enlisted the support of Tricentis partner T-Systems MMS, who coached them on the architecture and advised on challenges.

“It is and was important for us to work with a clearly defined project order to manage expectations and capacities for the Tosca enablement,” Patrick says. After the team’s initial success, “We have significantly ramped up the scope and are going bigger with Tosca—and we know the business value will increase tremendously.“

A team of testers built a set of guidelines for Tosca and selected 10 core test scenarios to automate. Using a risk-based approach, the team prioritized testing based on business-critical functionality.

“Delivering true business value by mitigating IT risks for our global business units was one of the main motivations for increasing automated testing,” Patrick says.
Rather than focusing initial automation efforts in a single area, the team selected test scenarios that touched on a wide scope of business functions and applications—including business processes spanning SAP ERP, Java Web Services, and SAP Fiori. This choice offered the team an opportunity to demonstrate the benefits of test automation to a wide range of business and technology stakeholders. By using Tosca’s test case design, the team achieved 60% faster test case creation, driven by the rapid adoption of Tosca’s easy-to-use, codeless interface.

“We have multiple system landscapes to test on, including sandbox, development, quality assurance, pre-production, and live system. We wanted a test tool that could run the same script in all the systems irrelevant from where it was initially used. That was a convincing factor for Tosca as the test automation modules can be run in various systems.”

Scaling test automation to support cloud-scale innovation

To build on their initial success, the team is now transitioning its existing regression test suite into Tricentis Tosca, where they will leverage scheduled test execution. SAP import bundles will then be tested in a pre-production system with scheduled test execution managed in qTest, and will likely move away from a monthly import scheme to more frequent imports over time.

Next, they will focus on scaling test automation quantity-wise to support updates to the existing SAP ECC system, as well as testing for the company’s future S/4HANA migration. The team plans to use Tosca to integrate test plans and implement UAT testing that is GxP-proven with an add-on that ensures traceability and digital signatures.

A move to cloud

During the initial enablement phase, a business decision was made to move the Heraeus landscape from on-premise into the cloud. Server rooms were torn down, and SAP and its HANA DB were moved into AWS, while other applications were moved to Azure. This forced Tosca servers that had already been installed on-premise to move into the cloud as well. The move was accomplished easily with the use of a Heraeus testing architect.

Outcomes

  • No-code test automation enabled rapid adoption by testers and business users
  • Increased efficiency with test modules that can be reused in tests across applications and environments
  • 60% faster test case creation
  • End-to-end coverage across a complex application and business landscape
  • Tosca servers are available in Azure as part of the company’s cloud first initiative
  • Risk-based testing now identifies which business-critical functionality to test first
  • Investment into Tosca is expected to drive greater ROI of test automation