ITOCHU Corporation

Tosca helps ITOCHU Corporation make the leap from a 25-year-old legacy SAP to S/4HANA Cloud

Company overview

Founded in 1858, ITOCHU Corporation (ITOCHU) is one of Japan’s leading “sogo shosha” companies, where a central trading organization handles all financing, marketing, and coordination for multiple companies in its ecosystem. With 100 bases in 62 countries, ITOCHU is engaging trading in various area, such as textile, machinery, metals, minerals, energy, chemicals, food, general products, realty, information and communications technology, and finance, as well as business investment in Japan and overseas. In 2019, ITOCHU launched overseas company core system transformation initiative built on three pillars: digitalization, simplification, and innovation.

Completing a transformation initiative within the company’s sprawling IT landscape posed a major challenge: The IT team would need to ensure the business would have no interruptions to its ability to be agile and innovative throughout several major systems changes. One of the most challenging points was Fit-to-Standard approach, which the team planned to migrate from a highly customized, on-premises instance of SAP ERP ECC 6.0 to S/4 HANA Cloud in order to transform the system to a true digital platform. The transformation project included the entire process of ITOCHU business, from contracts, logistics and inventory management to finance management.

Shusaku Harada, the IT strategist in ITOCHU Corporation IT & Digital Strategy Division, who is leading the transformation for 50 ITOCHU Overseas companies as a project manager, identified testing as one of the critical area for the project’s success. The organization’s existing, mostly manual processes would need to be modernized and unified to meet the extended scope and scale requirements of the SAP transformation initiative.

“Our testing limited us on two points,” he said. “Firstly, resources were a problem. It would take us years to test something for implementation in 50 companies. Secondly, the quality of our testing needed to be standardized,” Harada said.

Before implementing Tricentis Tosca, ITOCHU’s testing team used a standard regression suite of 120 test cases, each of which required 1.5 hours to test manually. When testing in different countries, the team duplicated this test set and modified it to meet the needs of each region. This geographical complexity led to exponential increases in the time required for regression testing, which was quickly becoming unsustainable for the team of 10 testers.
Harada knew his team would need a scalable, automated solution that would work across both the legacy and new SAP environments. “We chose Tosca for its strong connection with SAP,” he said.

ITOCHU’s team of 10 testers used Tosca to automate regression testing, which significantly accelerated the implementation phase and ensured that both new and migrated business processes worked as intended in S/4HANA Cloud.

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    • A small team of testers relied largely on manual testing.
    • Geographical complexity increased the testing burden, due to the significant testing required to account for varying business processes, currency, and taxes.
    • Manual regression testing took a minimum of 180 hours for each release (excluding confirmation review).

    Transformation roadmap

    Using Tosca, ITOCHU’s testers migrated all existing test artifacts into the Tosca workspace. From there, they used their original regression suite to create 61 customized test scenarios specific to each country. Because only the data changes within this general set of test cases, the tests are applicable to all ITOCHU companies.

    ITOCHU also partnered with a service provider based in Vietnam to automate testing for their SAP Fiori instance. The Tricentis Professional Services Operations (PSO) team guided both parties through Tosca setup and configuration, providing training and coaching for each user.

    The Tricentis team then introduced Tosca’s Test Data Service and Test Case Design tools, which enabled ITOCHU to quickly generate instances by providing logic in Test Case Design, then feeding data into those instances through the Test Data Service to enable automated testing for hundreds of scenarios.

    The Test Data Service also simplifies ITOCHU’s test maintenance and updates. When a new requirement calls for changes, ITOCHU’s team only needs to change the data or the logic.

    ITOCHU’s results were profound. With Tosca, they increased test coverage by 760%, saved 38% in execution time, and saved 70% in setup time. Overall, they reduced their total test effort by 65%.

    “We got a lot of support from Tricentis,” Mr. Harada said. “They supported our team, not just the tools. Now we can more freely manage our resources and keep the same quality of tests.”

    Migrating with intention

    “At the beginning, a lot of people thought it was impossible,” Mr. Harada said of the complex S/4HANA migration his organization underwent. “They’d been struggling to use SAP for 25 years. So for a long time, we talked in concepts – not tactics – about where ITOCHU needs to go. For a year, we pounded ‘digitization, innovation, and simplification.’ Then, when the time came for details and systems, our teams were ready.”

    Making the leap from a 25-year-old legacy version of SAP to S/4HANA Cloud is a monumental shift for any organization. ITOCHU approached the migration incrementally, transitioning 10 subsidiary companies to S/4HANA Cloud two at a time, with a sound testing strategy to ensure quality at each step of the way.

    “We learned a lot through our initial implementation wave, but by the second wave, we’d found our rhythm. We knew we’d made a good choice with Tosca and Tricentis,” Mr. Harada said.

    With the S/4HANA migration complete and the infrastructure in place to build on ITOCHU’s initial testing innovation, ITOCHU’s team plans to run test case design workshops to further improve quality and expand risk coverage across more of the organization’s most critical business processes.