Lower TCO of SAP Deployments and Upgrades

Today’s IT organizations are under increasing pressure to reduce costs and increase revenue — while minimizing risk and implementing new applications to meet business initiatives. Adding to the challenge is the growth in highly complex and visible Web-based applications, which can potentially upset a previously stable technology infrastructure. Integrated offerings like Mercury for SAP Solutions demonstrate cost savings by helping customers improve quality, prevent downtime, and drive cost out of their existing SAP infrastructure. More than 1,400 customers have successfully used Mercury for SAP Solutions to deploy, upgrade, and maintain their SAP systems — and effectively reduce total cost of ownership (TCO). Mercury for SAP Solutions includes several integrated offerings called Mercury Optimization Centers — pre-packaged business technology optimization (BTO) solutions that maximize IT strategy, application readiness, system performance, business availability, and problem resolution. These Centers enable an organization to apply integrated models across its IT organization and to optimize critical IT activities. They include: IT Governance Center, Quality Center, Performance Center, Business Availability Center, and Resolution Center. The products comprising the Centers are also available individually. For example, organizations can use Mercury products to solve a specific departmental issue or optimize a particular project or process.

Automating tests and quality assurance

Quality Center optimizes application quality by managing and automating the entire testing and quality assurance process, including functional testing of the business process workflow. It enables testing SAP applications the same way end users interact with them in real life. This Center reduces time to test by an average of 60 percent. The QuickTest Professional 6.5 tool, part of the Quality Center, has been certified by SAP for integration with the SAP extended Computer Aided Test Tool. Using the SAP NetWeaver integration and application platform and QuickTest Professional, customers can run quality tests in environments that span beyond Windows and SAP solution-based environments, including advanced, multi-platform, highly-integrated composite, legacy, and proprietary enterprise applications.
Two core Quality Center products are tools WinRunner and Quality Management (formerly TestDirector). WinRunner captures and replays user interactions automatically to identify defects and ensures that business processes in SAP applications work flawlessly the first time. To create a test, WinRunner simply records a typical business process by emulating user actions, such as ordering an item or opening a vendor account. Next, testers can add checkpoints, which compare expected and actual outcomes from the test run. WinRunner offers a variety of checkpoints, including test, GUI, bitmap, and web links. It can also verify database values to ensure transaction accuracy and database integrity, highlighting records that have been updated, modified, deleted, and inserted. With WinRunner, organizations gain several advantages, including reduced testing time by automating repetitive tasks. Support for diverse environments enables organizations to test any component mix or industry solution.
By combining requirements, planning, execution, and defect tracking, the Quality Management tool builds and controls the testing process to determine whether SAP applications are ready for deployment. Quality Management quickly translates a business process analysis into a comprehensive framework of tests that includes manual and automated functional and regression tests, as well as load test scenarios. Through its open architecture, Quality Management also seamlessly integrates with leading application lifecycle tools — from configuration management to helpdesk.

SAP Application Deployment Test
SAP Application Deployment Test

TestDirector users are able to generate customizable status and progress reports. The Advanced Reports add-in offers to create custom report configurations and layouts, unlimited ways to aggregate and compare data and ability to generate cross-project analysis reports. The traceability notification automatically traces changes to the testing process entities – such as requirements or tests, and notifies the user via flag or e-mail. For example, when the requirement changes, the associated test is flagged and tester is notified that the test may need to be reviewed to reflect requirement changes. The graphical display enables customers to analyze the requirements according to test coverage status and view associated tests – grouped according to test status. Hierarchical test sets help customers to group test sets into folders.

Automating load tests

Performance of Business Transactions
Performance of Business Transactions

After the critical business processes have been verified as working correctly, the next step is to test load, performance and scalability. Performance Center contains a load testing tool that predicts system behavior and performance: LoadRunner. This Center optimizes application performance by automating all critical SAP load testing and tuning processes, including SAP-specific reports that monitor performance and business availability while preventing revenue loss due to poor application performance. It ensures SAP applications will scale and perform as expected and drives more value out of the existing infrastructure. So, a performance improvement of up to 400 percent becomes possible – without additional hardware or software infrastructure. LoadRunner tool stresses the entire infrastructure, including SAP GUI for Windows, HTML, SAP Enterprise Portal clients, as well as application, database, and Web servers – from a single point of control. By emulating thousands of virtual users, LoadRunner measures the performance of business transactions and tests distributed scenarios.

Maximize the value of an SAP solution

Mercury recently helped a global integrated gases and chemical company successfully deploy a software-driven business transformation program underpinned by the mySAP Business Suite. This involved rolling out core SAP R/3 modules to more than 5,500 employees during the first three phases of a five-year, multi-phased program. This company used Mercury for SAP Solutions to ensure the SAP rollout went according to plan. Specifically, it used Mercury WinRunner, Mercury Quality Management, and Mercury LoadRunner. WinRunner and Quality Management offered functional testing and test management that resulted in the identification of more than 2,000 defects prior to go-live, minimizing risk to the more than 30 percent of the company’s business running on SAP.
Load testing with LoadRunner simulated 60 percent of the production transactions by volume, validating the company’s rollout strategy and avoiding a more expensive, phased implementation approach. Load testing also validated the company’s single-instance design and proved that the company did not need a second instance of SAP, saving an estimated three to five million in US dollars. LoadRunner also helped reduce the need to add infrastructure capability and maximized the value of investment in licenses and hardware infrastructure, resulting in significant cost savings. LoadRunner and Quality Management also helped the company improve response times without additional hardware, and provided capacity planning to let the company know how much hardware would be necessary for portal growth opportunities.

Run IT like a business

Increasingly more companies are adding Web services-based composite applications to build upon their existing large-scale SAP foundations. These applications operate at a higher, more strategic level — supporting business processes across multiple foundation applications. Mercury for SAP Solutions is especially critical with the large-scale, technically complex nature of composite rollouts such as SAP xApps, mySAP Enterprise Portal, and SAP NetWeaver. Because these applications are visible to customers and business partners, failure to ensure complete system availability results in lost revenue, increased costs, and decreased customer satisfaction. Because Internet-centric and composite applications are so visible, it is more important than ever that companies quickly pinpoint and resolve performance issues before a customer or supplier is affected. It is also more difficult to isolate performance problems in composite applications, which requires a comprehensive, integrated solution.
To learn more about the Mercury components, please visit www.mercuryinteractive.com/solutions/sap

Rod Lehman
Rod Lehman