The global and independent platform for the SAP community.

Success factors for successful test environments

Today, companies rely on complex IT systems to ensure cost-effective operation. This requires continuous testing of functions, interfaces and data transfers.
E3 Magazine
March 28, 2024
This text has been automatically translated from German to English.

The digital engineering experts at Nagarro know what is important from over a hundred test projects. Companies rely on an ERP system as the backbone of their complex system landscapes. Depending on requirements, they supplement this with sometimes very specific customer-specific extensions. In doing so, they are responding to a variety of challenges: uncertain supply chains, increased customer requirements for the individual design of products, increasing competitive pressure and the resulting need to increase efficiency.

In addition to an ERP system, a large number of other systems are in use and data exchange between the systems must be ensured. As a result, there are media disruptions and data transfers at more and more points in the system, which companies have to organize via interfaces (APIs). However, every API is prone to errors.

Although most companies are aware of this, they do not always manage to set up successful, cost-efficient testing structures. The reason for this is often simply a lack of experience. Ramon Soro and Jens Haselbauer, testing specialists at Nagarro, know from practical experience that this could usually be avoided if companies paid more attention to five key success factors: Defining guard rails, avoiding overhead, creating transparency throughout the testing process and picking up key users, relieving and supporting those involved in testing and creating a shared understanding of testing activity.

Define guard rails

Testing is primarily a conceptual rather than a technical issue: companies usually rely on so many different application systems that they cannot fully check all interfaces and data transfer points. Even with limited budgets, they should therefore define a risk-based prioritization as a guideline - depending on the importance of individual processes mapped in the IT landscape.

The company should then test these regularly, while it can also carry out sporadic tests for less critical processes. Ramon Soro reports: "However, this does not answer the question of how companies can identify important processes. Strategic questions, such as: Which of our business processes are critical? Either due to a high volume or a high business value. And: Where have errors occurred more frequently in the past?"

The answers to these questions vary greatly from company to company. And mainly depend on the specific business model. For example, a smooth flow of information between the e-commerce system through which customer orders are received and the warehouse is particularly important for companies operating in online retail. For companies that manufacture customer-specific products, on the other hand, the transition of orders from the ERP to the MES may play a decisive role.

Avoid overhead

Testing initially incurs costs: companies may have to hire external service providers, purchase testing tools and assign employees. On the other hand, functioning IT systems prevent orders from being lost or customers from being annoyed. Nevertheless, how cost-intensive testing and the necessary infrastructure actually become depends on how intelligently companies organize them.

The basis for targeted and therefore cost-reduced testing is created by the guidelines defined in advance, as they prevent companies from testing comparatively uncritical use cases excessively. On top of this, they create the conditions for selecting the right testing software.

Test automation also plays a key role in reducing costs due to the advancement of AI research. Jens Haselbauer comments: "In general, the need for and scope of testing is constantly increasing, as the manufacturers of application software, for example, are releasing updates and patches in ever shorter cycles, which can have an impact on the transfer of information in the system. The resulting pressure to adapt can only be solved through automation and AI. At Nagarro, we are therefore conducting extensive research into the further development of these processes." 

Transparency in the test process

Successful testing requires transparency. If this is lacking, responsibilities become unclear, decision paths remain unknown or resources are not allocated correctly. Sometimes companies also fail to properly involve key users, which means that they are unable to provide appropriate feedback from the user's perspective. However, the testers are dependent on this. "Therefore, in addition to technical and conceptual aspects, a suitable organizational framework for test management is also important," advises Jens Haselbauer. "The company should define responsibilities, roles and resources in an organization chart that is clear to everyone and also create communication channels between users and testers," he adds.

Supporting and relieving test participants

The complexity of today's IT landscapes means that more and more testing tasks have to be taken on when adapting or introducing new systems and interfaces. In most cases, the specialist departments of the customer organization are responsible for fulfilling testing obligations. And they are busy with day-to-day business and sometimes parallel projects. Relieving those involved in testing therefore offers a major lever for reducing costs and still achieving the specified test objectives.

Relief can be achieved by introducing the right test processes and templates, and a test management system can also be a great help in test execution and test evaluation. Another option is to use external support for test execution or to use your own "testers" in specific situations.

However, it should be noted that the field of activity is developing dynamically, meaning that everyone involved needs time for training and further education. This raises the question for companies: make or buy? There is no universally valid answer, at best there are indicators. As a rule of thumb, the more complex the system landscape and the more critical cross-application workflows are to success, the more likely it is that companies should also build up their own capacities. However, this only makes sense if there is a willingness to do so within the company. Ramon Soro: "If companies want to train or employ their own testers, they should make sure that they have the necessary time and financial resources available."

Creating a common understanding of the test activity

The final, rather soft take-away from more than 100 test projects is that testing is usually only successful if companies have corresponding communication plans for all test activities. These ensure a uniform understanding internally and ensure that the test participants and key users in particular know what to expect and what is expected of them.

Successful test environments

In view of increasingly complex system landscapes, methodical and targeted testing has long been essential. And it is anything but a secret science. Companies are therefore well advised to take a close look at this topic. The five success factors create the basis for this. Nevertheless, especially if they cannot provide their own resources for testing, have little experience in this area or the overall scope of testing is very large, additional external expertise can be very useful. Jens Haselbauer summarizes: "We see from our customers how critical intelligent testing is to success - and that's why we keep drawing attention to the topic. Whether companies work independently or with a partner is initially of secondary importance. It is more important that they take care of it at all. But if in doubt, we are always happy to help with our expertise."

Here to the partner entry of:

Write a comment

Working on the SAP basis is crucial for successful S/4 conversion. 

This gives the Competence Center strategic importance for existing SAP customers. Regardless of the S/4 Hana operating model, topics such as Automation, Monitoring, Security, Application Lifecycle Management and Data Management the basis for S/4 operations.

For the second time, E3 magazine is organizing a summit for the SAP community in Salzburg to provide comprehensive information on all aspects of S/4 Hana groundwork. All information about the event can be found here:

SAP Competence Center Summit 2024


Event Room, FourSide Hotel Salzburg,
At the exhibition center 2,
A-5020 Salzburg

Event date

June 5 and 6, 2024

Regular ticket:

€ 590 excl. VAT


Event Room, Hotel Hilton Heidelberg,
Kurfürstenanlage 1,
69115 Heidelberg

Event date

28 and 29 February 2024


Regular ticket
EUR 590 excl. VAT
The organizer is the E3 magazine of the publishing house AG. The presentations will be accompanied by an exhibition of selected SAP partners. The ticket price includes the attendance of all lectures of the Steampunk and BTP Summit 2024, the visit of the exhibition area, the participation in the evening event as well as the catering during the official program. The lecture program and the list of exhibitors and sponsors (SAP partners) will be published on this website in due time.