Smooth Sailing: Navigating the Seas of a Workday Global Migration

testing management - ABB Workday

Imagine you’re a global business and you’ve just decided to improve your HR processes – all of them, every facet, every workflow, everywhere, and all at once. Orchestrating such a grand transformation is a major challenge that involves much more than just arranging a technological update; it’s a sensitive, mission-critical project that affects the heart of your organization — your people.

It was just such an undertaking the ABB company faced when they decided to fully migrate their human resources management to Workday, an AI-driven SaaS platform.

ABB, a Switzerland-based technology leader in industrial electrification and automation, employs nearly 200,000 people around the world and uses more than 29 ERP systems across its many branches. Implementing changes consistently across its network of applications and systems is very complex. How could they ensure that the major changes they wanted to implement were fully integrated, proliferated across the company correctly, and wouldn’t cause crashes or bottlenecks? 

Testing, testing, and more testing. 

They needed a robust platform that could handle test cycles and user acceptance testing (UAT) on a massive scale, maintain seamless testing processes across multiple time zones and teams, and ensure coherence across workflows.

The natural partner to help them navigate the project was Panaya, as they had already been working with us for years on SAP-related upgrades, impact analysis, software testing, guides and documentation. As Vivek V. Karwande, Head of ERP Cross-Services for ABB, put it in a recent conversation, “Panaya helps us time after time, making it possible to meet major goals and smoothly carry out significant upgrades.”

Stress-free business buy-in

It was very important to ABB that business users were involved in the migration, so everyone was on board. But for companies like ABB, which are SOC-compliant, that’s not just a good idea, it’s a requirement.

“You cannot just have the IT users saying, ‘Hey, the update works great!’’ Vivek explained, “The business owners also need to make sure that it is not breaking any of their core functionalities.”

We stepped in with Panaya Test Dynamix, providing highly focused testing and management capabilities on a massive scale. As most of ABB’s business users were already spread pretty thin with their daily activities, our testing plan made sure they were concentrating only on those areas that truly needed their attention. We divided the complex global UAT process into discrete tasks, assigned to specific business and IT testers. Automatic notifications in a pass-the-baton-style workflow let each tester know when they were needed, optimizing business-IT collaboration, eliminating testing bottlenecks, and improving user buy-in.

Protect sensitive personal data

Another requirement ABB faces as a SOC-compliant organization is the need to protect sensitive personal data contained in its HR system. This includes ensuring that data captured in the context of cross-app testing is only visible to employees who are authorized to look at it.

Panaya immediately addressed the data protection challenge with restricted cycle implementation. We introduced user authorization at the test cycle level, such that only those people directly involved in a given UAT test cycle would be able to see the full data included in the results.

“To my surprise,” Vivek said, “this solution was developed within three months after we requested it. After that, it was really smooth sailing for the Workday testing.”

Cross-application, business-critical scripts

The complexity at ABB extends to the need to manage about 122 core business processes for everything from the manufacture of small light switches to the design of robotic automations running major power plants. With Panaya Test Dynamix, ABB was able to create a centralized, cross-application test scenario catalog for ensuring these processes continue to function as expected after changes are introduced.

A built-in recorder captures the step-by-step details of every test by each team, including screen captures, scripts, and results. The test evidence is then automatically documented, standardized and organized. Now, ABB can select end-to-end test scripts and scenarios, and modify them to suit specific local projects. The testing templates cannot replace the business users’ stamp of approval, of course, but they do save them a significant amount of time and effort.

The Panaya test catalog is also reducing ABB’s automation development time, with scripts for automating processes using RPA tools and related regression testing. Developers can independently gain an in-depth understanding of key business processes from the test catalog, without the need for input from a specific system or application expert. In a sense, the subject matter expert or the solution architect already contributed to automation development when they created the original testing scenarios in our catalog.

Making system integrations work

In addition to the Workday system project, ABB is using Panaya Test Dynamix as part of a central finance system rollout on S4/HANA. We are helping them integrate local ERP systems, GRC applications and other solutions into their new global finance and Workday systems.

“As companies evolve and have more and more modular applications, having a testing tool that supports jumping from one system to the next seamlessly is going to be of the greatest advantage,” Vivek said. “And Panaya fits excellently into that space.”

We are currently working with the company on extending Panaya Test Dynamix to support more business-critical applications across its global network. Panaya has also recently introduced a new codeless test automation tool for ABB to consider, further reducing their regression testing time and effort with a baseline set of scenario scripts.

We are grateful to continue bringing seamless testing management to ABB’s complex systems, ensuring they maintain operational continuity, reduce costs, and enhance their global operations.

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