What is an upgrade project?
We all know that feeling when you have a home renovation coming up; there are many details to keep on top of, there is the frustration of the process itself. But at the end of the day, you KNOW you are going to be so much better off. So you dive into the process, talking to all the workmen, architects, foremen… because the payoff makes the process worthwhile.
An upgrade project has a similar vibe to it. You know you will be better off at the end. You know work will become more efficient. But the process can be frustrating.
Making any changes to your ERP platform is not an overnight process – whether it is a new implementation, a rollout to subsidiaries or an upgrade. It is, however, unavoidable, specifically when it comes to upgrades, which are a vendor driven shift of the system to a newer version. Upgrading these systems can be a significant undertaking due to their extensive integration and critical role in an organization’s daily operations.
Let’s look at the challenges
Just like a home renovation, there are several challenges to be aware of before getting started on an ERP upgrade:
- Scale – There are several scales of upgrade, but those that are on the larger side such as SAP S/4HANA, SAP EHP or Oracle EBS are complex. With these projects, several corrections you’re your system could be required as the upgrade moves forward, which can lead to regression.
- Coverage – There are two common testing scenarios:
- Testing too little can expose the company to risk as well as faulty processes and causes issues in production.
- Testing too much which wastes both time and money while simultaneously slowing down the adoption of the new features.
- Cadence – This is often high with cloud releases (bi-annual or quarterly) and more updates necessitates more testing. For customers it can be difficult to keep up with the increased need for testing.
- IT business collaboration – If the upgrade is being driven by IT necessities, it can be difficult to get the business involvement needed for User Acceptance Testing (UAT)..
On-Premise vs SaaS based applications
Upgrade projects can be divided into two groups; on-premise and SaaS based.
On-premise is often driven by IT needing to maintain a recent version of an application. On the other hand, it can be driven by the business wanting to activate certain new capabilities which are not available in the current version that is in use. Ultimately, the customer decides when to upgrade or not to upgrade at all.
There are several examples of on-premise upgrades businesses frequently need to deal with:
SAP ECC to S/4HANA – This migration is not just a technical upgrade, it’s a significant transformation for organizations using SAP solutions, as S/4HANA is a completely redesigned system with a simplified data model and a new user experience. Due to the scale and importance of the migration, careful planning, testing, and change management are essential to its success.
Oracle EBS 12.1.3 to 12.2.10 – This transition involves various changes and enhancements, requiring meticulous planning, a clear strategy, and robust testing to ensure minimal disruptions and a smooth transition.
How We Helped Shiseido Handle their SAP Upgrade
When Shiseido had to perform an overall upgrade of their six SAP competence centers spread across Europe, they had several challenges, including a strict deadline of under 6 months. They needed to manage the planning of 676 business processes and ensure complete visibility of the ensuing test process to allow for management visibility.
Our Impact Analysis solution offered a unique way to optimize testing by reducing the scope of the technical tasks as well as testing. With this, Panaya was able to bring testing time down to only 5 weeks, well under their deadline. This ultimately saved Shiseido a significant amount of both time and resources.
Proper planning, thorough testing, and structured change management are critical for a smooth transition and to fully leverage the benefits of the upgrade.
Can you imagine handling this scale of project on excel spreadsheets? It is quite simply not scalable and this is where Panaya’s Smart Testing platform came to the rescue, allowing the progress of this project to progress in an organized and timely manner.
There were several advantages Panaya brought to the table:
- By migrating to Panaya, Shiseido were able to increase their visibility into the change and testing process, receiving actionable insights in real-time.
- Panaya was able to plan end-to-end testing process, assigning relevant testers for each step, automatically notifying them when it was their turn to test.
- Panaya then automatically recorded the users’ test results to be kept as test evidence and for compliance.
- Tests were organized and structured to have a reusable test repository at the end of the project.
Examples of SaaS based upgrades
These upgrades are pushed by the vendor at regular intervals, which means that customers have no flexibility – they simply need to be ready for the upgrade. It’s like living in a building where the lobby is being redone – you have no control over the timing at all. Businesses must therefore handle these upgrade projects within the timeframe provided by the vendor, which can cause more pressure.
The testing challenge for SaaS upgrades specifically relates to the necessity of adopting additional automation for regression testing in order to keep up with the pace. As with on-premise, the business must involve UAT, enabling them with the new capabilities in a shorter timeframe.
There are several different SaaS upgrades we can help customers manage:
Oracle Cloud quarterly updates
This release upgrade reflects the broader industry trend towards continuous delivery, where software is updated more frequently but with smaller, more digestible changes.
Service Now bi-annual release
Each release brings enhancements to existing functionalities and often introduces entirely new modules or features based on user feedback and industry trends.
SAP S/4HANA bi-annual release
It’s essential for organizations to stay updated with the release roadmaps, , and proactively test and train users with each new release to ensure a smooth transition and to harness the latest features and improvements.
What goes into an upgrade?
There are several steps that are involved in the conventional upgrade process:
- Planning the project
- Fix the code
- Functional testing
This process can stretch out for a considerable amount of time and only after it is complete can the business go live with the upgrade.
With Panaya, however, there are several aspects of the process that are shortened. We are able to handle the scope, testing and UAT in a timely manner, allowing the go live process to be accomplished in a just 48 hours. In addition, our Impact Analysis solutions offer the ability to see the impact of any change before you make it, allowing businesses to have a risk-free go-live.
Our AI-enhanced testing platform for ERP and cloud apps combines cross-functional business process testing with smart change impact analysis. The result of this is a reduction in testing cycles by as much as 85% while accelerating your upgrade with minimal risk.
Would you like to hear more about how we can expediate your ERP upgrade process? Contact us today.