coverage of production data during preproduction test cycles
reduction in time spent validating data during migration as test coverage increased to the entire data set
increase in automated test coverage of critical business data
reduction in test cycle duration
Flowers Foods, headquartered in Thomasville, Ga., is a producer and marketer of packed bakery food, operating 47 bakeries producing bread, buns, rolls, snack cakes, pastries, and tortillas. Flowers Foods’ products, which include popular brands like Nature’s Own and Dave’s Killer Bread, are sold through a direct store delivery network that serves all corners of the United States and delivers nationwide to retailer’s warehouses. After acquisitions of several bakeries and other food companies over the years, the company is now the second-largest baking company in the United States.
As the business grew, ensuring stable logistics and communications became increasingly important to keep Flowers’ bakeries well-stocked and their customers well-fed on a consistent basis. To ensure the business could scale to meet increasing demands, Flowers’ technology leadership began putting the pieces in place to modernize their supply chain systems in processes, starting with a migration from a 20-year-old SAP ECC environment to S/4HANA. To ensure ongoing functionality of key business processes throughout the migration, the QA team knew they would need a more structured, integrated approach to software testing.
Previously, the Flowers QA team had mainly tested on an ad hoc basis, with no toolset equipped to support integrated end-to-end testing across a complex, increasingly digitized supply chain. With a long-term objective from the leadership team to build a scalable and consistent testing suite across their large SAP landscape, they invested in Tricentis Tosca and Tricentis LiveCompare to develop an intelligent, automated approach.
The ease-of-use of Tricentis Tosca’s codeless, model-based test automation would enable the team to scale at the pace the business demanded. According to Sundar Iyer, Sr. Director QA and Release, “Tosca, by the way it was architected, accelerated our build out of end-to-end data reconciliation and functional tests.”
The Flowers team maintains an expansive SAP environment spanning Dev, QA, N+1 and production. LiveCompare helps them perform environment-to-environment comparisons to maintain interim state design while ECC is migrated to S/4 HANA. They also use LiveCompare to perform impact analysis, to understand how each incremental change could pose risks to business processes, and to ensure those areas have adequate test coverage. Through the integration with Tosca, LiveCompare highlights which test cases to run and where there are gaps in their Tosca test library.
The team also uses Tosca to create test data through native SAP transactions to inform downstream testing. This allows them to focus on higher value projects and not waste valuable time manually creating test data. They also utilize Tosca to scale testing for their hosted SaaS and PaaS applications, such as Concur or Ariba, as well as for post-Windows patch testing.
Flowers uses LiveCompare’s Change Impact Analysis (CIA) to identify the SAP objects in their environment that are put at risk from a ChaRM change request or custom code change, and then compare that code between SAP versions to identify discrepancies. To provide insights to stakeholders on any configuration-related changes, the team built LiveCompare reports that identify changes affecting configuration and master data through LiveCompare’s Continuous Configuration Impact Analysis. This ensures that any configurations affected by the migration are identified and resolved before they reach production environments.
With a high-priority SAP migration on the horizon, Iyer and team knew they’d need to augment their testing strategy with automated data testing. There were hundreds of thousands of rows of data to migrate, and losing any of it, or having it transfer incorrectly, would put them at tremendous risk. The manual, ad-hoc testing the team had previously relied on was too resource-intensive and time-consuming to meet required migration timelines. The team needed a scalable solution that could identify data quality issues, as well as issues with the functionality of data processes, on an ongoing basis throughout the migration project.
After implementing Tricentis Data Integrity, the Flowers team fulfilled several key objectives: they were able to build automation to ensure the integrity of data as it traveled across multiple systems during the data migration from ECC to S4 cutting across several functional domains. Their automation test designer was able to build and execute the complex, end-to-end test case within a few hours, an improvement over their manual total cycle by over 60%.
Data Integrity’s model-based automated approach enabled the Flowers Automation Test Designer to rapidly build end-end tests to continuously verify data quality amid changing environments. This helped lower risk before changes turned into costly downstream consequences, regardless of data type, source, or format. An early value-add for Data Integrity arose when the Flowers team needed to map dozens of specific business units from the migration from ECC to S/4HANA. Formerly a tedious manual process since naming conventions changed for each business unit within the different systems, Data Integrity maintained the business units’ data, keeping the Flowers business operations flowing as usual. Test data updates became drastically more accessible because any data changes lived in Data Integrity and streamlined communication between the data team and the testing teams.
“As we transitioned from pre-production testing to Sustainment, we are able to leverage our automation testing framework for regression as well as daily data reconciliation for transactional data processing.”, says Sundar.