Senior executives frequently consolidate operations following mergers. Amalgamating each business’s main departments increases efficiency, lowers operational expenditure and boosts earnings growth. Moreover, with end users relentlessly demanding better and faster applications, IT directors often seek a flexible cloud-based ALM software platform, creating a scalable infrastructure that delivers continuous value.
Two multinational FMCG companies recently faced these challenges when integrating their application landscapes during a merger. Both organizations managed their core business processes with SAP Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software and numerous non-SAP applications. The merger doubled IT operations and triggered a large-scale integration project.
The new business wanted to integrate and rationalize its IT landscape without business disruption, creating a consolidated environment for the new organization.
“Managing application testing throughout the integration project was a major client concern,” explains Maarten Lor, senior manager, Accenture Amsterdam, Advanced Technology & Architecture – Test Services & Innovation.
“A robust testing regime for both SAP and nonSAP applications would identify any defects introduced during the software development and configuration processes, remove any potentially damaging faults and ensure a smooth migration to the new environment.”
SAP ERP Central Component (ECC) and approximately 200 non-SAP applications are at the heart of the client’s business. The application suite supports all critical business processes including purchasing, manufacturing, logistics, finance, sales and marketing. During phase one of the project, the client asked Accenture to integrate the business processes of operating companies in over 20 countries into the core application suite.
Ronald Krabben, managing director, Accenture Amsterdam, supervised the IT integration work. “This testing program involved large geographic scope, a high volume of testing, structural planning and continual risk management,” says Krabben.
“The key to success comprised two critical components; the robust ALM on SaaS solution from Micro Focus and the Accenture ERP Testing Strategy and testing capability. This strategy involved a ready-to-use solution containing a pre-built ALM configuration, a pragmatic defect workflow, real-time progress and quality reporting, training materials and a test support model.”
Lor continues: “ALM on SaaS is ideally suited to large-scale projects that manage the scope of testing a complex ERP implementation with multiple geographies, business functions, and a large volume of configuration requirements. “We built our ERP Testing Strategy around this intuitive, easy-to-use platform due to its reliability, excellent reputation and ability to scale up and down on-demand without onsite installation.”
After establishing testing and migration strategies, part of the Accenture team was dedicated to application test management. In Phase One of the project, more than 500 people simultaneously conducted tests and, over a six-month period, a worldwide community of more than 2,000 people used ALM on SaaS. Testers conducted approximately 30,000 test cases to migrate more than 20 countries onto the central SAP system.
In Phase Two of the project, local operating companies in 10 more countries were migrated from their legacy systems and integrated into the central SAP ERP system. Over 100 non-SAP applications were migrated, rationalized and connected to the central system in an exercise that involved more than 2,000 IT and business testers who executed another 25,000 business test scenarios.
A global regression testing approach was put in place, re-using the ALM set-up and test scenarios created during previous releases, mobilizing business users from the existing 20 live operating companies to prepare and execute regression tests, mitigating the risk of adding 10 more countries to the central system. In order to alleviate business regression test efforts, more than 500 business test scenarios were automated using Unified Functional Testing software, Business Process Testing, ALM and SAP TAO. This set was run nine times to mitigate the risk of regression in multiple system releases.
Using ALM on SaaS ensured every country employed consistent systematic testing processes regardless of location. Before the integrated applications went live, frequently referred to as ‘a big bang’, all the business solutions were tested in a highly structured manner. IT personnel initially tested the solutions, followed by the business users. The Accenture ERP Testing Strategy combined with ALM test and requirements reporting capabilities enabled mature risk management, allowing the merged company to make well-founded decisions at every stage.
By adopting ALM on SaaS to support its ERP Testing Strategy, Accenture successfully completed the IT integration project, satisfying the client’s tight deadline requirements. Inherent to this success was the training of the client’s business and IT testers and their subsequent adoption of the test strategy and tooling.
“We clearly demonstrated that our testing methodology had successfully assessed all of the important processes across the client’s entire business model,” adds Lor. “There were no disrupting incidents during and after the SAP and non-SAP go live dates, which is quite an achievement considering the exceptionally short implementation time.”
After migrating over 30 countries, the client is undoubtedly benefiting from running its integrated business processes on the consolidated IT environment. In addition, the organization now possesses a mature application lifecycle management and testing capability, which keeps adding value to subsequent system releases. This proficiency also increases delivery efficiency, aids risk management and accelerates time-to-market. “We’re looking forward to continuing with our client on this test industrialization and automation journey. Utilizing and further expanding this testing capability towards future releases, we’ll continue to speed up the testing process, increase application quality and lower the cost of defects globally,” concludes Lor.