9 key areas for testing SAP

Often when I introduce myself as a SAP test manager, I get the question: why are you a SAP test manager? What is so special about SAP that you need to specialize in it, because after all testing is testing, right?

The difference

In a way, they are right, but it made me (and my colleagues) think: “what is really so different about testing in a SAP environment”? As I found out the answer for this question wasn’t that easy. Each and every colleague of mine had something to add to this. Some examples of what came up:

Specialization in modules or application areas

SAP is very large and divided in many specific modules or application areas. These modules and applications are also very large and have different capabilities. Specific module knowledge is essential.

SAP = End-to-End testing

The integration of the different modules and applications is very important as any activity in SAP generally leads to a change in the whole process van beginning to end. Understanding how standard SAP functionality integrates across modules and applications, is a very big advantage.

Standard versus enhancements

SAP has two types of "development": Customizing standard functionality and Customizing enhancements (custom build functionality). The integration of these two types of development are of great importance.

What to test vs. what not to test

As SAP is a proven and standard ERP package, focus on testing standard SAP functionality is very limited. SAP and many other SAP customers worldwide have already tested that and this resulted in best practice functionality. A SAP test consultant will know what to test but also what NOT to test – this being most effective with the always limited time for testing.

It took quite some hours and effort to get all of this complete and it led to the development of a new SAP testing methodology. 

PRACTICES

The developed methodology is called “PRACTICES”, a test strategy and approach for SAP landscapes. It describes 9 key areas to keep notice of when you’re testing SAP.

In the SAP world, there is usually one specialized team or at least one SAP specialist responsible for implementing the customization in these areas below. This means high probability of interpretation errors and hence requires automatic extra attention during testing.

  1. Processes - Business processes are leading!
  2. Reports - Everything that is being sent of the customer has to be 100% OK
  3. Authorizations - Authorizations have an important role in SAP process handling
  4. Customizing - Understand the intended behavior that is achieved through customizing
  5. Transports - A mistake in a transport can cause serious issues
  6. Interfaces - Testing interfaces is a multi-discipline activity
  7. Conversions - Verify (early) if the processes can handle the converted data
  8. Enhancements - Enhancements require extra test attention and effort
  9. Screens - SAP Screens can be heavily modified

Practices directly relates these 9 areas to:

  • Quality attributes
  • Test base
  • Test activities
  • Test level/ Variety (& environment)
  • Test design techniques
Curious to learn more of the new PRACTICES?

Ronald de Haan is a senior SAP test manager