The art of digital today: best testing practices for S/4HANA transformation projects

July 26, 2021

Evgeniia Antonova SAP

Fun fact

Do you enjoy looking at Rhein? And how about Rhein II
Yes, version control got to nature objects as well nowadays.
All jokes aside, the photograph “Rhein II”, taken and slightly digitally retouched by Andreas Gursky, is considered the most expensive photograph ever sold (about $4.3m). The contemporary arts can be, of course, controversial. One will fancy the pitch perfect proportion in the photo composition or the choice of subtle colour schema, and other will question the cultural value of several rather grey horizontal stripes. Generally, the contemporary arts aim to stimulate the thinking both inside and outside the box by trying to combine the ordinary objects and look at them under new angle.

Best Practices are very alike in that sense. They are utilised to compliment and facilitate complex implementations by providing certain standards and procedures collected from the previous comparable experiences. While it´s important to bear in mind that one cannot blindly rely on the benchmarks, both the identifying of how suitable for a new project a selected best practice is and its further tailoring to the current needs stay a fine art of contemporary.

#Testing_is_sharing time

In terms of S/4HANA transformation projects the testing community has already accumulated a number of relevant best practices. Let´s take a look at some of them. 

The golden rule stays the same: special test focus shall be put on custom code areas and interfaces to third-party systems. On the one hand in the embedded software, it doesn´t make much sense to test the standard unless it was altered, but on the other hand, as migration to S/4HANA is more a transformation project, the opportunity can be used to check the existing custom code. Maybe parts of it are already redundant as either covered by new S/4HANA functions or not used in production anymore.

The preparation for test shall be launched early. A good preparation start is a series of initial assessment workshops covering such topics as:
•  Analysis of changes between legacy and new applications, incl. functional and non-functional requirements for test. 
•  Test environments prerequisites definition, especially in regard to complex integration E2E scenarios to third-party systems.
•  Risk test coverage check.
•  Quick check assessment of applications landscape to identify the most fitting test automation tools and approach.

Early testing: the sooner testing itself is started, the better. E.g., one can start already with isolated technical and functional tests of SAP HANA Database.

Well-thought-out test data management strategy gets even more important for S/4HANA transition projects. Due to the significant changes on data base level, the data migration can face additional difficulties leading to delays and hence it´s generally recommended to decouple data verification tests from the main test phases. The test data strategy should also ensure that the selection of test data constellations is representative and dependency issues to 3rd party systems are addressed (e.g. via service virtualization, etc.) 

Functional testing:
Reports testing (incl. BI-reports) shall be thoroughly addressed due to HANA introduction of real-time analytics.
Role-based/ Authorizations testing, especially for Fiori:  
•   testing to be conducted on all compatible devices.
•  Fiori updates as well as introduction of new apps should fit to the general authorization concept and not cause conflicts with the existing authorizations. 
Due to higher SAP release frequency the automated regression testing can spare test effort considerably and potentially increase delivery velocity but must be carefully setup to achieve optimal risk coverage with minimized maintenance effort.
Non-functional testing:
•  Performance testing. Since HANA introduces real-time data transfer, the performance of customized processes shall be additionally checked.
•  Security testing, especially for Fiori mobile apps. As Fiori makes previously rather isolated SAP backend accessible both via web and mobile devices, the potential gaps in security architecture must be checked during test.

We are cutting-edge artists in contemporary testing.