What’s the first thought that comes to mind when you think about SAP? For most, at least traditionally speaking, we’d bet most people would talk about powerful but expensive and often complex ERP implementations. This is not surprising. For more than a decade now, the majority of SAP implementations have yielded strong benefits to customers but not necessarily at digital age pace. These projects took years and change within them happened over time. With the widespread adoption of cloud and SAP HANA, not to mention SAP’s drive to ‘run simple’ in the cloud, the view is that this will change.  But what will the HANA effect really mean for the enterprise?  With this latest technology does the need for robust test strategy go away?

Cloud undoubtedly brings with it the benefits of agility, speed and resilience. But ERP systems, SAP and beyond, remain complex. Very little about the way these ecosystems run and how they fit into the business processes change—other than that they are deployed in the cloud instead of on premise. The pressure to deliver successful projects and digital transformations within this environment, on tighter timescales and within smaller budgets, is however constantly increasing.

For the business this means that new ways of delivering projects will have to be found. It is also why so many people are adopting agile means of development and testing. This iterative approach to development and testing allows the business and its IT department to show constant forward movement with the project. It also helps the teams to realise critical milestones—on time and on target.

There’s an exciting and valuable opportunity for companies in frequent testing. If done strategically, and with the right mindset and testing partner from the outset, the business could be using additional testing to its advantage. More testing more frequently, and doing it right the first time, will result in better user experiences. It can also help companies to fail fast, should that happen, and move on rapidly to success.

In order to achieve success, and use the HANA effect to your advantage, you have to consider the following:

  1. Acknowledge that HANA is not a magic bullet. Just because it’s delivered via the cloud does not make it any less complex than previous iterations of the ERP solution. You therefore have to be just as prepared, if not more so, to deal with a project that will now not move forward only at scale but at speed.
  2. Change your approach to testing. You have to view testing as a pivotal part of your project. Instead of adding it onto the checklist of things to do, engage a testing partner early on that can help steer the programme and delivery schedules and provide the requisite assurance and governance.
  3. Find a partner that can deliver rapid testing. Your ideal partner will understand your business processes, be able to provide the right governance and guidance to your teams in order for them to get the job done in time.

But don’t just take our word for it: Stuart Richards, Head of IT Solutions at Halfords shares his experience of one of their recent projects and points out why testing right, the first time, is so critical to the success of a project and how it received by the business and end users.