Ensuring SAP HANA Delivers: The Need for Functional and Performance Testing

Shoeb Javed, CTO, Worksoft Inc.

SAP HANA holds enormous promise and offers a big data strategy that effectively addresses the “three Vs” of big data: volume, variety, and velocity. To get there, companies need to embark on a transformation journey that affects many IT projects and a lot of technology across business units—but without disrupting existing business processes. Success in enterprise SAP HANA deployment means your team will need to complete two very important steps:

“With all the changes happening to your environment, you need to check the integrity of your business processes and data regularly.”

Functional validation: Making sure that every business process functions correctly both before and after SAP HANA implementation.

Performance validation: Verifying that business users will experience all the speed and responsiveness promised by SAP HANA.

Both of these steps require a considerable amount of work from IT and business teams. However, automated business process testing can significantly reduce the burden and accelerate SAP HANA deployment and adoption.

Step 1. Functional Validation

Unlike most other SAP projects, implementing SAP HANA primarily affects the underlying database, so projects can involve relatively little configuration and end-user training. However, SAP HANA projects do require extensive functional testing–which can represent up to 80 percent of the total project effort. This functional validation ensures quality in two major areas.

Business Process Quality

As you move to SAP HANA, your team will need to validate that every critical business process works before, during and after the implementation. Typically, companies begin by building their test automation portfolio on the existing SAP system. Once that is completed successfully, the company then runs that same automation on the applications and data using SAP HANA. With automation in place, this can be accomplished in a matter of minutes for each test cycle, compared to days using a manual approach. Worksoft automated business process validation shortens overall project timelines and doesn’t require special programming skills because business users can engage directly.

Data Quality

Data quality is paramount to SAP HANA migration—because successful adoption requires business users to have high confidence in their new system, and assurance that business processes still function correctly. Automated business process validation helps you uncover any data transfer problems and system issues before they affect your production systems and users. This is accomplished because automated business process testing will detect any data discrepancies between BI and source ERP systems, providing a mechanism for you to identify any data quality or reporting issues.

It’s not just about performing these validations once and moving on. With all the changes happening to your environment, you need to check the integrity of your business processes and data regularly. After the implementation, regularly validating data transfers across the various enterprise systems that feed SAP HANA will remain important to ensure that every business process functions properly. With the speed of big data, you may find that your validation frequency will increase. For example, if you have new analytics capabilities that speed up your reporting from monthly to daily, you need to change your validation from monthly to daily to ensure your data is accurate. Without automation, this would be an extremely resource-intensive process.

Step 2. Performance Validation

The best way to ensure that your SAP HANA implementation will deliver the performance, speed, and user experience that you need is to test it on a typical maximum workload, analyze the results, identify the bottlenecks, and optimize the hardware, systems, and network infrastructure, if needed.  

Here’s how one leading company approached performance and load testing of SAP HANA. Using three analytic systems, the company tracked their computing, network, and storage tiers specifically for SAP HANA – all while monitoring the performance of a virtual SAP HANA system while applying a large production workload.

Automation software was applied for performance and load testing, using SAP financial month-end closing processes as a benchmark. The workload simulated more than a thousand simultaneous users placing orders, viewing stock availability, performing shipments and other functions - all while running resource-intensive MRP jobs in the background for consolidation, and creating tens of gigabytes of SAP HANA logs for data replication at remote sites. Their hybrid cloud capabilities were also tested.

Conducting these tests, the company was able to confirm that the deployment would perform as planned, and see in advance what effect a wide variety of business activities would have on SAP HANA performance. With automation, the company was able to do so in a quick, cost-effective manner that would help them establish confidence in the new system before going live.  

Automate for SAP HANA Project Success

With the pace of change in big data, you can no longer afford to rely on manual effort to ensure quality and performance. Automation is the new standard for business process testing and performance validation. For SAP HANA projects, automation will help your company avoid business disruption, ensure data quality and deliver faster, better technology deployment. Companies can accelerate SAP HANA projects and ensure performance across every end-to-end business process touched by SAP HANA. 

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