Marstons Smooths the path for SAP upgrades

Marston’s PLC, is an independent brewing and retailing business with around 2,100 pubs and bars across Great Britain. Marston’s deploys Original Software solutions to reduce the time and cost of ensuring a high quality, low risk SAP upgrade.

The Challenge
Historically Marston’s had only been using two SAP modules: Financials and Sales & Distribution, yet it would take over six months to plan and execute the testing of each upgrade. Now the company is using additional modules within the SAP ERP Central Component solution, CRM and SRM within the SAP Business Suite, SAP BI, bespoke applications and many web applications. This increased complexity had become a growing concern for Marston’s IT department. Continuous manual testing was not a feasible option moving forward, especially with the way SAP was planning updates in its latest release. Instead of one big upgrade, patches were to be delivered in regular packages throughout the year. For Marston’s the scope and complexity of testing SAP updates has dramatically increased.

In addition to the long testing cycles, Marston’s also felt it was constrained by a lack of choice in the SAP automated testing market and required the solution it eventually purchased to fit in with how Marston’s ran its business. Marston’s has always utilised the business users as its testers, as it is they who really know how the applications are supposed to work. The business users have no IT skills, but have a more holistic view of the business processes under test. As such, the solution had to be easy to use without the need for any technical knowledge such as programming.

Judy Doust, Test Manager at Marston’s, explained: “I’d worked with one of the industry’s leading software testing systems before,” she explains. “But the problem with most test systems is that you have to employ specialist programmers, which we just couldn’t justify. I wanted a solution that was easy to deploy and use.”

An Original Solution
At an exhibition Judy came across Original Software. After talking to its experts she liked what she saw – the way the software worked and the costs. So Original Software arranged to carry out a proof of concept for SAP. The application under test was Marston’s telesales system. The project was a great success.

However, this is not the only area where Original Software’s systems are helping Marston’s. Using Qualify, the application quality management solution, Marston’s are building a robust test strategy focusing on test evidence and putting a quality strategy in place.

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