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Succeeding with S/4 HANA Migration: The Power of Testing Excellence and Automation




13th May 2024

Generative AI

SAP S/4HANA is a popular choice, offering organizations opportunities to enhance agility, data intelligence, and overall performance. Central to its capabilities is the HANA database, an advanced in-memory system that boosts processing speeds, enables real-time analytics, and simplifies the IT landscape. 

However, migrating to S/4HANA involves a critical task: transferring essential business data to a new database architecture. This process poses significant challenges, considering the pivotal role of SAP data across functions such as finance, HR, and supply chain management. Risks such as data inconsistencies, malfunctioning bespoke functionality, and potential system downtimes could severely impact business continuity.

To mitigate these risks, an approach that integrates functional, automation, and performance testing is crucial. Such a comprehensive testing strategy can identify functional and non-functional issues before the go-live phase, instilling the confidence needed to promote systems to production. 

SAP suggests a year to a year and a half for migrating to S/4HANA, but many organizations take longer. Starting early is advisable to allow for unpredictable delays and potential cost savings due to possible fee increases by 2027.

This blog emphasizes the importance of thorough testing and quality assurance (QA) in ensuring a smooth and successful migration.

S/4 Migration Testing Excellence: What, Why and How?.

S/4 migration testing excellence refers to the practice of conducting thorough and effective testing during the migration process to SAP S/4HANA, the latest generation of SAP’s ERP system. This testing ensures that the migration is successful, with minimal disruption to business operations and maximum benefit realization.

  • Identify and mitigate risks associated with the migration, such as data inconsistencies, functionality issues, and system downtimes with a migration impact analysis.
  • Validate that the new system meets business requirements and functions as expected, particularly critical for SAP data’s role in financials, HR, and supply chain management.
  • Accelerate your migration with automated testing and minimize the impact of potential issues, ensuring a smooth transition to S/4HANA.

Achieving testing excellence in S/4HANA migration projects requires a strategic approach that encompasses functional, automation, and performance testing. Functional testing ensures that the system meets business requirements, while automation testing helps increase testing efficiency and reduce manual effort. Performance testing is essential for evaluating the system’s performance under different conditions, such as load and stress. 

To achieve testing excellence, organizations should develop a comprehensive testing strategy, prioritize critical test scenarios, and leverage automation tools and techniques. Collaboration between different stakeholders, including IT teams, business users, and external partners, is essential for ensuring that testing efforts are aligned with business goals and requirements.

Challenges in S/4 Migration Testing

Testing S/4 HANA migrations presents several challenges for organizations, including complexity, data migration issues, and business process disruptions.

Architecture Complexity

Migrating to S/4HANA involves complex changes to the underlying architecture, data model, and business processes. For example, transitioning from the traditional SAP ECC system to S/4HANA’s simplified data model can be challenging due to differences in data structures and storage formats. Thorough testing helps identify and resolve issues related to complexity, ensuring that the new system functions correctly and meets business requirements. 

In the World of Finance:

In ECC, financial data may be stored in multiple tables, requiring complex joins for reporting. In S/4HANA, financial data is stored in a single universal journal table, simplifying reporting but requiring adjustments to existing financial processes and reports.

By testing different scenarios and edge cases, organizations can uncover and address potential challenges early in the migration process, reducing the risk of disruptions during go-live.


Data Migration Issues

Data migration is a critical aspect of S/4HANA migration, as organizations need to transfer large volumes of data from the legacy system to the new database architecture. Data inconsistencies, transformation errors, and data quality issues are common challenges faced during this process. Testing plays a crucial role in validating data migration processes and ensuring data integrity.

In the World of HR

Data from different HR modules such as payroll, benefits, and performance management must be migrated accurately to ensure that employee records are correct and up-to-date in the new system.

By performing data validation tests, organizations can identify and correct data inconsistencies and errors before they impact business operations. This helps organizations maintain data quality and accuracy in the new system, leading to more reliable and efficient business processes.

Business Process Disruptions

Migrating to S/4HANA can disrupt existing business processes, leading to potential downtime and productivity losses. For example, changes to business processes and system interfaces can impact how users interact with the system and perform their daily tasks. Testing helps mitigate the risk of business process disruptions by ensuring that the new system aligns with existing business processes and meets user expectations. 

In the World of Supply Chain

Changes to the data model and reporting requirements may require adjustments to demand planning processes and inventory management strategies.

User acceptance testing (UAT) allows organizations to validate that the new system meets user requirements and functions as expected in a production-like environment. This helps minimize the impact of changes on users and ensures a smoother transition to S/4HANA.

Thorough testing is essential for addressing the challenges associated with S/4HANA migration. By identifying and resolving issues related to complexity, data migration, and business process disruptions, organizations can ensure a successful migration to S/4HANA and realize the benefits of the new system.

Automation in S/4 Migration Testing

Thorough testing is crucial to validate the accuracy and functionality of the migrated system, requiring sufficient time and resources to avoid post-migration issues, whether adopting a greenfield, brownfield, or hybrid approach. Automation is necessary for efficiency and accuracy, leading to reduced manual effort and faster testing cycles.

Regression Testing

Regression testing involves retesting the existing functionalities of the system to ensure that new changes or updates have not adversely affected them. In an S/4HANA migration, automation can help automate the regression testing of core business processes. For example, in a manufacturing organization, automation can be used to test the end-to-end process of creating a production order, including material availability checks, order confirmation, and goods issue posting.Tricentis Tosca is a widely recognized tool for automation in regression testing, offering advanced features that streamline the testing process and ensure comprehensive test coverage.

Data Migration Testing

Data migration testing involves validating the accuracy and completeness of data migrated from the legacy system to the new S/4HANA system. Automation can be used to automate the validation of migrated data against predefined rules and criteria. For example, in a retail organization, automation can be used to validate the accuracy of product prices, inventory levels, and customer information migrated to S/4HANA. Tricentis Livecompare and Tricentis Data Integrity are highly regarded tools for automation in data migration testing, offering robust features that ensure data accuracy and integrity throughout the migration process.

Performance Testing 

Performance testing is essential for evaluating the system’s performance under various conditions, such as load, stress, and scalability. Automation can be used to simulate user interactions and generate load on the system to test its performance. For example, in a banking organization, automation can be used to simulate multiple users performing transactions simultaneously to test the system’s response time and scalability. Tricentis Neoload is a leading tool for performance testing automation, helping organizations simulate real-world scenarios and identify performance bottlenecks in their systems.

Overall, automation in S/4 migration testing can significantly enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the testing process, enabling organizations to identify and address issues early in the migration process and ensure a successful transition to S/4HANA.


Best Practices for Automation

Implementing best practices for automation is essential for maximizing the efficiency and effectiveness of S/4 migration testing. 

Selecting the Right Automation Tools

Choose automation tools that are well-suited for the specific requirements of S/4 migration testing, considering factors such as compatibility, scalability, and ease of use.

Integrating Automation into the Testing Process

Integrate automation seamlessly into the overall testing process, ensuring that it complements manual testing efforts and enhances overall testing efficiency.

Establishing Clear Metrics for Success

Define clear and measurable metrics to evaluate the effectiveness of automation, such as test coverage, defect detection rate, and time saved in testing activities.


Ensuring Testing Excellence and Leveraging Automation for Successful S/4 HANA Migrations

Testing excellence is paramount for successful S/4 HANA migrations, as it helps mitigate risks and ensures that the new system meets business requirements. A well-executed testing strategy not only minimizes the impact of potential issues but also instills confidence in the new system’s functionality and reliability. Additionally, leveraging automation in S/4 migration testing offers numerous benefits, including increased efficiency, reduced costs, and improved accuracy. To achieve testing excellence and reap the benefits of automation, organizations are encouraged to explore automation solutions tailored to their S/4 migration testing needs.