SAP ECC – Fix your issues before the jump to S/4HANA. Improve SAP ECC updates, upgrades, and changes. Reduces issues as you move towards the 2027 S/4HANA upgrade deadline with code-free test automation.
You don’t have a lot of choices – an alternative is as much work, probably more
There is a deadline, and ECC will no longer be supported
It involves business users, QA teams, developers, project managers, consultants, system architects
It is fundamental to the business
Most likely there are integrations with other systems, internal or external
You probably have a bunch of unhelpful customizations
The future for most SAP ECC users is very clear, it most probably looks like S/4HANA. It might look like a different ERP from another vendor, but most SAP EEC users agree that migration to S/4HANA will be hard enough, without introducing another vendor and additional complications.
But whatever route you plan to take, the migration or reimplementation looks like a very substantial project. Maybe you were around when SAP was first introduced? If so, you will recognize the scale of this project which is massive no matter how you measure it. Whether you are counting dollars, man-years, duration, numbers of people involved, consultancy fees, or risk, you are into very big numbers.
Right now, it still seems a little way off with an SAP ECC imposed deadline to be off ECC by 2027. This is a good thing as most organizations are going to need as much time as they can get, especially as a lot of resources are already tied up keeping the current house in order dealing with enhancements, patches, interfaces, and customizations, let alone planning a move or a ‘new-build’. Even now in this relatively ‘stable’ world, a simple change can burn many man-hours or weeks in design, development, testing, UAT, training, and implementation. More if you didn’t get it right the first time.
This is not a project to be lackadaisical or casual about because in the end this is an application at the core of the business, an application by which the organization lives and dies. What eventually gets implemented needs to work perfectly because if it does not, any failure will be costly to the bottom line, with loss of business, customers, and good-will.
A key part of getting success will be user involvement and engagement, but they are also busy and have day to day commitments. They are the “customers”; it is their system, so they have to be involved. But equally, they will not want to be involved in multiple rounds of repetitive testing covering areas they consider to be old ground, as this is the third time they have been over this and it is still not right. The point at which ‘ownership’ moves from the users to IT, much like a smelly dog that needs walking in the rain, again!
Sometimes, sadly, the tension is exacerbated by management-imposed deadlines, a tactic that might work to motivate other teams for say a product launch or a restructure, but can badly affect complex projects, where getting it right is the most important measurement.
Because this journey is going to take years it is not possible to abandon the current house in the form of ECC as it will still need to support the business now and during the transition. Customers will not care whether you are implementing a new ERP solution, so it is not something you can use for an excuse. You must keep the current system in good shape, but somehow spend less time and effort doing it so you can free up your resources, and your best resources to work on the move.
What can you do now to reduce time and effort, especially where it will also help with the migration/reimplementation project? One of the biggest time and resources consumers is testing, which can be exponential in size compared to the development effort which triggered it. It might only take an hour to make a change, but it might take a week or more to test the impact. But this is a problem that can be solved now, to buy you time, and create assets and processes that will benefit the looming S/4 project. It is a way of getting you started on the journey and freeing up key resources.
Conceptually, having automated testing available ‘at the touch of a button’ which testing everything, thoroughly in a few hours would be a massive boon to any SAP ECC using organization. But you are probably thinking about the effort and resources to get to that point, indeed is the goal even achievable? Yes it is, with the right technology that does not require a coded approach to automation meaning you can use the resources that understand the business processes and needs, but don’t have coding skills (or desire to gain then!).
They will be able to rapidly build repeatable tests with intelligent patented AI that shrugs off changes to SAP ECC without the need to ‘fix’ scripts, and yet tells you about everything that changed that you were not expecting. We call this 100% regression testing – nothing gets through undetected: Zero unexpected errors in production.
What’s more is that because the scripts adapt immediately with self-healing to the new definition of ‘right’, there is no significant maintenance lag, meaning that you can run a 100% regression test every couple of days if that what your release schedule demanded. And it is not just for SAP ECC, or S/4 (Fiori), it will work with any of your windows-based applications – Java, Html, .net, etc.
Users will thank you as they will only have to do a fraction of the manual testing they would have done before and where that is still needed it is automatically documented saving their time, providing evidence and clarity, plus delivering the foundation for automation of that task next time.
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