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Anton Bodnar, Automation and Manual Quality Assurance Engineer

Jan 18, 2024 16 min read

SAP Testing: A Complete Guide

This guide explores how to perform sap testing effectively, the preconditions, context, distinctive aspects, and types of testing applicable to SAP systems, emphasizing the importance of timely and effective testing for large-scale enterprises relying on SAP. 

SAP Testing: A Complete Guide

Implementing SAP (Systems, Applications, and Products) was conceived to enable clients to interact with shared corporate databases across diverse applications, offering an integrated Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system to optimize business processes. SAP testing, specific to applications within the SAP ERP framework, involves creating test scenarios to ensure the effectiveness of modifications to SAP software. This guide explores how to perform SAP testing effectively, the preconditions, context, distinctive aspects, and types of testing applicable to SAP systems, emphasizing the importance of timely and effective testing for large-scale enterprises relying on SAP. 

What is SAP Testing

Before delving into the details of SAP testing, it's crucial to grasp the concept of ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) software and its functionality. 

ERP is a software solution that manages various business processes comprehensively, including production, manufacturing, logistics, distribution, finance, CRM, sales, human resources, and more. It comprises interconnected modules that facilitate seamless data sharing between them. This interconnectivity eliminates data redundancy and efficient resource utilization across departments and business processes. 

The primary concept behind implementing SAP (Systems, Applications, and Products) was to provide clients with the capability to interact with shared corporate databases across a broad spectrum of applications. SAP is an integrated ERP system designed to optimize business processes effectively. 

SAP testing is similar to testing other software applications but involves applications within the SAP ERP framework in this context. Creating test scenarios to verify the new functionalities is crucial whenever modifications are made to SAP software. SAP testing may encompass performance testing (to assess the speed of SAP applications) and web testing (for SAP web portals). 

Preconditions for SAP Testing 

Testing is a pivotal phase in helping to ensure software quality, aimed at a detailed examination of the program code and identifying errors in system operation. One of its primary goals is to verify whether the system as a whole or individual modules meet customer expectations. SAP testing is required in three scenarios: during the system's initial implementation to mitigate potential risks, when the system is installed and operational but not without issues, and during modifications to SAP modules. 

  • The Context for SAP Testing: Typically, SAP users are large companies with substantial turnovers. The losses that businesses can incur due to improper software functioning are substantial. Instability in SAP systems or any non-standard behavior inevitably impacts business operations. In this case, the cost of an error is exceptionally high: just one hour of information system failure can result in losses of up to $400,000. To grasp the potential magnitude of damage, consider a scenario where problems in the system cause a 30-40-second delay in financial transactions for an average bank with branches in about 60 cities. 
  • Importance of Timely SAP Module Testing: Timely testing of SAP modules allows for quickly identifying code defects and enhancing system reliability and fault tolerance. It, in turn, helps prevent financial and reputational losses. 

Effective SAP testing is imperative for large-scale enterprises relying on SAP systems. Proactive testing ensures the detection of potential issues, fortifying the reliability and resilience of systems and, ultimately, preventing financial and reputational setbacks.

Distinctive Aspects of SAP System Testing 

SAP, renowned for streamlining business processes and resource management, presents distinctive challenges in testing due to its less user-friendly interface. This overview explores the intricacies and solutions associated with SAP software testing systems. 

SAP isn't User-Friendly 

SAP is one of the best systems for automating business processes and enterprise resource management, but it needs a more intuitive interface. SAP comes with numerous intricacies and non-obvious features that can be challenging to grasp. To master the system, companies often hire SAP consultants or training specialists who assist employees in acquiring the necessary skills. Without the appropriate expertise, difficulties may arise for personnel during the implementation or configuration of SAP, potentially causing delays in the operations of entire departments. 

To aid its users, SAP software testing has created a free platform for massive corporate online courses called openSAP and a cloud-based platform, SAP learning hub, providing access to educational materials and virtual classrooms (with a free trial version). Users can purchase specific SAP solution courses from the SAP education catalog for a more in-depth understanding. SAP certification is available for skill enhancement or expanding knowledge in a particular area. However, this approach may only sometimes work, as each company and industry has specific requirements. 

In most cases, customers require customized configurations, necessitating an individualized approach to training. 

Complex SAP Architecture 

SAP boasts a sophisticated architecture designed to automate and manage various internal enterprise processes, such as accounting, trade, manufacturing, finance, human resources management, warehouse management, etc. Each internal process is represented as a distinct module, with popular ones including SAP ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning), SAP CRM (Customer Relationship Management), SAP HCM (Human Capital Management), SAP SRM (Supplier Relationship Management), SAP RE-FX (Flexible Real Estate Management), SAP EWM (Extended Warehouse Management), and others. Currently, SAP encompasses over three hundred software products. SAP consultants typically specialize in one or two modules, making finding experts with knowledge spanning multiple modules challenging.

SAP also offers comprehensive solutions for all business processes across industries, including procurement and networks, customer engagement and commerce, analytics, finance, human resources management, and more.

The testing engineers' primary objective is to perform testing of software modifications for any SAP module or entire complex, regardless of business specifics. The goal is to ensure system stability and performance efficiency. To achieve this, testers must thoroughly understand the infrastructure from both the standpoint of SAP architecture (manual and administrative settings) and the business perspective. 

Testing from Scratch 

Sometimes, the project team has to establish the testing process from scratch. It happens when a company works with SAP, but testing is not treated as a separate process—developers are trusted entirely, and independent testers are not consulted. As a result, the process becomes less transparent, leading to problems. Developers typically focus on ensuring the stable operation of the system they are creating or implementing, so they may not objectively assess the code quality. Even when developers find bugs, they may conceal their findings. As a result, the customer ends up with a system containing errors that can manifest at any moment. 

An external testing team is needed to objectively view the main system errors and take necessary measures to improve corporate software. The critical goal of testing engineers is to ensure the minimum number of defects in the production environment. 

Types of Testing Applicable to SAP Applications

Here are the types of testing applicable to SAP applications:

Unit Testing 

Developers primarily carry out this testing phase. Experienced white-box testers may also perform this testing. The testing involves interfaces, conversions, enhancements, reports, workflows, and forms developed primarily using ABAP code. Development object testing includes security authorization testing, data transfer rules, reconciliations, and batch scheduling assignments. BW (Business Warehouse) testing is also part of development testing. 

Integration Testing 

This testing involves combining SAP application components to ensure their proper interaction. It is usually done in the QA environment using realistic test data. 

Regression Testing 

Regression testing helps to ensure that new changes do not negatively impact existing working code. SAP R/3 updates such as OSS notes, transports, configuration changes, and new development interfaces can have significant cascading impacts. Regression testing is typically performed by a testing team using automated testing tools. 

Performance Testing 

This testing evaluates the performance of SAP applications under expected workloads. It includes load, volume, and stress testing to identify system bottlenecks. The goal is to enhance the reliability of SAP applications and assist in deploying systems capable of handling anticipated high loads with zero performance issues post-production. Testing involves checking business processes that may cause stress due to large transaction volumes or packages. It is usually carried out using automated tools, involving collaboration between the database, infrastructure, and testing teams to monitor test results. 

Functional Testing 

Functional testing ensures that your SAP implementation aligns with your business requirements. Functional testing is crucial given SAP's configurable nature and ease of integration with other applications or third-party tools. It eliminates uncertainty regarding business use cases and ensures quality. It involves checking project documentation and creating testing artifacts, including test requirements, testing scenarios, and test sets. Functional testing is typically performed by a team with expertise in a specific SAP module. 

User Acceptance Testing (UAT) 

Following functional, system, and regression testing, UAT ensures end users can use the SAP system. End users independently execute acceptance test cases, including testing business processes, functions, documentation, etc. Through UAT, users can feel comfortable in the new business environment and fully control the system. 

Security Testing 

Security testing is conducted to ensure the security of SAP applications. It covers high-risk areas such as portal security, network security, product security, access control, and code audit to ensure security. Typically, this involves collaboration between the database, infrastructure, development, and testing teams. 

Portal Testing  

These methods involve SAP testing portals in different browsers and verifying business processes. As SAP systems incorporate numerous portals tailored to organizational needs and business processes, it is vital to conduct comprehensive testing for each portal's functionality. In addition to performing functional unit testing within SAP, quality assurance testers routinely assess the portals across browsers and operating systems to ensure thorough validation. 

Exploratory Testing 

Exploratory testing in the context of SAP applications involves simultaneous learning, test design, and execution. Testers explore the system with minimal predefined test cases, allowing for a more dynamic and adaptive approach. This type of testing is valuable in uncovering unexpected issues and validating the system's behavior under diverse scenarios. Testers leverage their expertise to interact with the SAP application, identify potential weaknesses, and assess user experience, ensuring comprehensive coverage beyond scripted scenarios. Exploratory testing complements other testing types by providing a flexible and creative way to discover vulnerabilities and enhance overall system robustness. 

What is SAP Automation Testing 

SAP automation testing is automating the testing of SAP software applications. It employs test automation tools and techniques to validate SAP applications, modules, and functionalities. 

Key achievements of SAP test automation: 

  • Higher Quality: Automation enables the simultaneous execution of numerous test cases, validating multiple business processes, user interactions, and system integrations. It enhances test coverage and ensures a higher quality of SAP applications. SAP test automation enhances efficiency by automating repetitive tasks, allowing testers to focus on more complex scenarios. 
  • Reduced Risk and Cost: Automation testing tools automate repetitive tasks, allowing comprehensive test scenario coverage in less time. It minimizes manual effort, mitigates the risk of human errors, and reduces cost, enabling testers to focus on critical tasks. SAP automated testing is a strategic choice for organizations seeking to streamline testing procedures and improve overall software quality. 
  • Increased Testing Efficiency: Automation reduces manual effort, accelerates testing, and enhances test accuracy by eliminating the potential for human errors. Tools like Testsigma can make the testing process up to 5 times faster, facilitating quicker product releases. 
  • Faster Testing: Automation, exemplified by tools like Testsigma, significantly expedites the testing process, allowing businesses to test faster and expedite product launches to market. Implementing SAP testing automation significantly reduces the time and effort required for comprehensive testing of SAP applications. 
  • Easy Test Maintenance: Test maintenance becomes simpler when supported by tools that streamline maintenance activities, ensuring the long-term sustainability of automated tests. 
  • Accelerated Release Cycles: SAP testing automation provides faster feedback and shorter release cycles. Continuous testing, where tests run in parallel with development efforts, provides prompt feedback to developers, facilitating rapid bug fixes and deployments. 

SAP Testing Automation Tools 

Several automation testing tools cater to different aspects of testing within SAP environments. Here are some of the SAP testing tools.

eCATT (Extended Computer-Aided Test Tool)

eCATT is used to create and execute functional tests for SAP. eCATT is an embedded tool bundled with SAP, designed for automated testing of SAP business processes. It tests transactions, reports, scenarios, invokes BAPIs, checks authorizations, tests remote systems, updates, checks parameter settings impact, and system messages. 

QTP (Quick Test Professional Tool)

QuickTest is a keyword-driven automation tool supporting various environments, including SAP. It is a reliable, multifunctional, and user-friendly tool, a market leader in automation tools with a significant market share. It is a commercial tool with excellent vendor support, the preferred choice for SAP automation. 

SAP TAO

SAP introduced the SAP TAO automation tool. It integrates QTP and QC, where QTP serves as the execution engine, and testing scenarios are created and managed from QC through business components. SAP TAO automates the generation of test components for E2E scenarios. Configuring SAP TAO and HPQC has advantages over other testing tools, providing extensive corporate support for HP and SAP software products. 

The SAP TAO client application performs three functions: checking transactions from the SAP server, exporting transactions to the HP Quality Center, and consolidating components or scenarios from the HP Quality Center. 

testRigor

testRigor stands out as the latest and most sophisticated AI-enhanced tool designed for conducting functional, regression, end-to-end, and performance tests specifically tailored for SAP. Its user-friendly interface facilitates the effortless creation of tests in plain English, eliminating the need for coding. testRigor excels in managing intricate SAP testing scenarios, ensuring that tests are stable. 

With built-in record-and-playback functionality and autonomous test generation for new projects, testRigor offers a comprehensive testing solution. Additionally, it boasts excellent documentation and provides customer support across all paid tiers. 

Tricentis LiveCompare

LiveCompare empowers SAP teams with AI-driven analytics and insights, significantly reducing the risk, time, and cost associated with implementing and supporting changes to SAP systems. Simple to set up and operate, LiveCompare continually monitors your SAP delivery pipelines and production systems, identifying potential issues that could jeopardize your business. LiveCompare provides developers, testers, release managers, and support teams with the real-time information necessary to swiftly and effectively eliminate both potential and existing defects.

Featuring DevOps-friendly capabilities that enhance quality and speed across your SAP practice, LiveCompare facilitates accelerated releases, optimized operations, and confident innovation delivery. SAP automated testing tools provide a strategic advantage for organizations seeking high-quality assurance and reliability in their SAP software implementations. 

Performance Testing of SAP Applications 

Now, let's delve into how to perform SAP testing. Testers must focus on the integration points, and data flows within the SAP landscape, ensuring that individual transactions and modules interact seamlessly. This approach guarantees end-to-end testing effectiveness. 

To grasp how to do SAP testing, it is essential to focus on SAP's distinctive features, such as customizations and configurations. Testing in SAP encompasses verifying these configurations, ensuring they align with business requirements and industry standards. 

In the realm of SAP testing, the question of how to do SAP testing extends beyond functional aspects. It includes performance, security, and regression testing, contributing to the overall quality assurance of SAP systems. 

Performance testing of SAP applications is performed to verify their speed, scalability, and stability. SAP performance testing helps: 

  1. Meet service level agreements (SLA). 
  2. Optimize software configuration settings. 
  3. Reduce hardware overconsumption. 
  4. Confirm that the system will not fail or crash during seasonal high loads, helping to avoid corresponding financial losses. 

The choice of a performance testing tool for SAP depends on the underlying SAP application being tested. Below is a list of SAP performance testing tools and their areas of application. 

Open Source/Free

  • JMeter: (Performance testing for SAP Business Objects BI Platform) 
  • OpenSTA: (Performance testing for SAP portals) 

Commercial: 

  • Load Runner: (Performance testing for SAP ECC among other SAP applications) — Recommended by SAP 
  • IBM Rational Robot: (Can test a wide range of SAP applications) 

Benefits of SAP Software for Your Business 

Discover how businesses can use SAP software in their technological framework with the following benefits: 

01

Perfect for Any Business: SAP offers tailored solutions suitable for enterprises of any size. With a comprehensive portfolio of cloud-based ERP solutions, businesses can access the essential tools required for successful operations, regardless of their scale. SAP software testing involves comprehensive verification of SAP systems to identify and rectify potential issues. This contributes to the overall benefits of SAP software by enhancing system reliability and performance. 

02

Innovative Technology: Drawing on decades of experience, SAP provides technologically advanced solutions that align with the latest innovations essential for contemporary businesses. The accessibility of its cloud-based offerings ensures that the system can be accessed from any location. The platform's advanced capabilities enable companies to enhance efficiency and productivity by automating repetitive tasks. 

03

Flexible and Secure: SAP prioritizes the security of sensitive data, shielding businesses from potential cyber threats. The software's expertise contributes to minimizing daily threats faced by businesses. Additionally, both public and private cloud options allow businesses to operate where it is most advantageous for their teams. Businesses often invest in SAP software testing to validate that their systems meet specified requirements and function seamlessly, ensuring a flexible and secure technological framework. 

Conclusion 

SAP testing is critical to ensuring the effectiveness and reliability of SAP systems, which are pivotal in streamlining diverse business processes. The unique challenges associated with SAP, such as its complex architecture and less user-friendly interface, necessitate comprehensive testing strategies. Timely and effective testing is imperative for large-scale enterprises relying on SAP systems to prevent financial and reputational setbacks. Understanding how to do testing in SAP involves a comprehensive approach to navigating the intricacies of SAP applications. Testers must be well-versed in SAP-specific functionalities, allowing them to create thorough test cases covering various scenarios. 

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the primary goal of SAP testing?

The primary goal is to ensure SAP systems' stability, reliability, and performance efficiency. 

Why is timely testing of SAP modules necessary?

Timely testing allows for the quick identification of code defects, enhancing system reliability and fault tolerance, thus preventing financial and reputational losses. 

What are the distinctive challenges in SAP testing systems?

Challenges include SAP's less user-friendly interface, complex architecture, and the need for expertise across multiple modules. 

What types of testing apply to SAP applications?

Unit testing, integration testing, regression testing, performance testing, functional testing, user acceptance testing (UAT), security testing, and portal testing. 

What are the key advantages of SAP test automation?

SAP test automation leads to higher quality, reduced risk and cost, increased testing efficiency, faster testing, easy test maintenance, and accelerated release cycles. 

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