What is our primary use case?
Worksoft Certify is being used to run automated weekly regression tests across some of our primary SAP systems in line with our Change and Release management strategy. These tests run every weekend without fail. The results are reviewed on every Monday morning to check for failures and to analyse if any failures are associated with the changes scheduled to be transported to the production environment that week. Failures (if any) are fixed and the tests re-run before transporting the associated changes into the Production environment.
We also utilize it for projects that need extensive business-user testing and functional testing. There can be testing requirements which come at short notice which can take three to four weeks of manual testing effort. By using Certify, we have been able to bring timescales down to a few hours of automated testing effort.
Our final goal is to utilise this for 'Unify', our new global solution which is currently being deployed, which will deliver common processes and systems to all sites and sectors, replacing all our existing legacy systems which will demand extensive regression testing.
How has it helped my organization?
We have never had any systematic regression testing regime in the organisation. This has helped in building an automation framework across our SAP application landscape, thereby introducing mandatory regression testing across all our key systems and improving the overall quality across our production systems.
From an audit perspective, results generated from Certify (BPP reports) provides detailed test evidence which is also being utilized for internal training purposes/training guides, etc. The BPP reports also provide details on failures along with screenshots.
We have a variety of complex systems in our landscape, one of them being the Openlink Endur which is a commodity trading and risk management system. We are currently building an automated regression test suite to support application testing for Endur.
Our weekend regression tests are performed in 'lights-out; mode. Tests are scheduled to run at a certain time over the weekend using the Execution manager functionality. Usage of Certify has also prevented some major defects going into Production and we have seen significant savings in all manual testing activities as the business users/functional teams are getting more time to perform 'value- adding' activities.
Post our recent upgrade to Solution Manager 7.2, we are currently in the process of implementing the Test suite functionality and the integration of the same with Certify. We expect Solution manager to be the single source of truth bringing out all the results from Certify which is going to be extremely beneficial from an audit perspective. We have already implemented the integration of Certify with HP ALM in our landscape.
Moreover, we have this reusable asset now which can be run frequently to support all our projects and change requests across our legacy SAP systems. Even last-minute testing requests are being accommodated by utilising the automated regression suite without any dependency on business users/functional users for their efforts. We use it across the multiple projects which need immediate assistance and for our weekly regression cycles. To give an example of a recent project which was a major platform migration from a Data Centre in Asia to Europe which needed extensive Disaster recovery testing and Functional testing/User acceptance testing. The initial testing estimate was approximately five to six weeks, however with the use of Certify we could do extensive testing in less than three hours saving many weeks of manual testing effort.
What is most valuable?
It is very user-friendly with an appealing UI, unlike a lot of other automation tools that we have evaluated. With sufficient training and adoption of best practices, the tool will certainly help organisations to successfully implement an automated testing framework and eliminate manual testing activities.
The fact that it can be used to across SAP and non-SAP applications (including web-based apps like Web Dynpro) is a big advantage for us because we have a variety of SAP and non-SAP applications across the Johnson Matthey IT landscape. Being a 200-year-old organisation, our variety of legacy systems have a lot to benefit from the use of automated testing.
Certify has many interesting features, e.g.: 'PRIMO' which is the image recognition functionality is a life saver in instances where Certify standard functionality cannot identify and learn objects within certain legacy applications.
Regarding end-to-end testing of packaged applications, Certify is primarily used across our SAP application landscape and the Openlink Endur (commodity trading and risk management system). We hope to realise more benefits by implementing Certify across our wider application landscape over the next few months.
We have been using the Capture feature, although not the latest version, the initial version, for process captures was used to create our test designs. It has been a life saver in many instances, without the need to spend any extra effort to create test designs and captures. The test steps get captured in the background which generates an XML file which can be easily imported into Certify, creating the basic test structure which can be improvised/modified to make it a repeatable reusable test. In terms of the amount of time it takes users to create documentation automation using this feature, it is the same amount one would spend to do a manual test. While a person is performing a manual test, Captures are automatically generated in the background. We have used it extensively to build our test designs.
What needs improvement?
We have requested for some minor new features which Worksoft is considering.
The PRIMO image recognition functionality has room for improvement, especially around its ability to work with java interfaces, Execution manager scheduling, etc. as we have observed. As we explore more of our legacy systems, I am certain there will be a need to use more of the PRIMO features to learn the objects.
Overall from a SAP perspective, it works almost seamlessly.
For how long have I used the solution?
One to three years.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
The version of Certify that we are using has been mostly stable and we have rarely encountered any problems. Our weekend regression test failures are often associated with environmental/system performance issues and not related to the stability of Certify. I have been happy with the overall performance of Certify and how it has helped to optimise our tests.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
I am confident that Certify can scale to fit our automation testing needs as we expand the current automation testing framework across the wider Johnson Matthey application landscape. We are also exploring options to identify potential areas where Certify can help support mass data uploads, etc. to benefit other teams in their day to day operations.
We have several concurrent users accessing Certify in our environment, primarily automation engineers, test engineers and tech managers.
How are customer service and technical support?
Our interactions with technical support has not been the best always and there is room for improvement especially with respect to the time taken to respond to cases. However, with the right contacts and reasonable escalations we have always managed to get quick attention on our issues.
If you previously used a different solution, which one did you use and why did you switch?
We have always been heavily reliant on manual testing and as a result, regression testing was not systematic and we could never think of implementing frequent weekly regression test cycles which was challenging. We decided to go ahead with automated testing and use Certify because:
- Manual regression testing takes a lot of time and resourcing is always a challenge.
- Regression testing not being systematic, the quality was very difficult to measure as we did not have a standard set of manual regression test scripts/sufficient documentation.
- There was a delay in our time-to-market because all the testing was being done manually and there was no way we could accommodate frequent, weekly, regression test cycles. That meant high business risk, that we would have more defects in the production environment/ more associated costs.
We had all these challenges and we started exploring options to mitigate these risks and automation was identified as the way forward, nearly two years ago. We evaluated various automation tools in the market. It was critical that we had to identify a strategic tool which would cater to our SAP and non-SAP application landscape. Worksoft Certify came in as a big winner ticking most of our requirements.
How was the initial setup?
We went through a lot of initial challenges, mostly around internal resourcing issues. Looking back, I am happy to say that we could overcome these challenges and have managed to successfully implement an automation framework using Certify.
Early in 2017, we decided to go ahead with Worksoft Certify post evaluation of multiple automation tools. Our initial engagements with Worksoft consisted of several onsite workshops to explore the tool in detail along with technical feasibility assessments across our application landscape. These engagements were extremely beneficial and it gave us the overall confidence to adopt Worksoft Certify as our strategic test automation tool.
We did a pilot implementation with Worksoft to see if we could take this ahead on a large scale before embarking on the major project to build the automated tests. Some key processes across our critical SAP systems were identified as candidates for this exercise. Test designs were created with support from the functional teams and taken ahead for automation build with Senior Worksoft consultants and our internal resources. This 7-week Automation Roadmap Engagement exercise was extremely successful and we learned a lot of lessons from it which helped us plan the next big phase of the automation roll out. It gave us overall confidence across the functional and management teams which subsequently led to securing the appropriate budget, etc.
One of the biggest lessons learned from this engagement was around the ways to structure our teams. This led to us going ahead with a Managed Services model with Worksoft. We have an offshore based Worksoft Automation Services Factory team who helps build our automated tests. The team can scale up/down based on our automation forecasts.
The automation deployment is still ongoing. The initial phase was completed across a five-month span. Currently we are rolling out the second phase of the automation build focusing primarily on our global Unify solution and the Openlink Endur application.
Regarding implementation strategy, we followed an agile two-week sprint approach. Our functional teams continuously created test designs and these were fed to the Automation Factory every two weeks, who in turn developed the automated tests. This was the most practical model, which worked well in our environment.
At its maximum capacity, we have had approx. 10 to 12 automation engineers in the Factory team. Our functional teams are spread across multiple global locations and we had between 3 to 6 resources working on test designs liaising with the business users as required.
From a script maintenance perspective, we spend an average of 4 to 5 hours every week with the current asset of nearly 800+ tests.
What about the implementation team?
We have always worked directly with Worksoft, along with support from our internal resources. Worksoft has been delivering excellent services through their managed services model.
What was our ROI?
We have a res-usable re-runnable asset built which is saving a lot of time across the functional teams/business user community.
Our final goal is to utilise this for 'Unify', our new global solution which is currently being deployed, which will deliver common processes and systems to all sites and sectors, replacing all our existing legacy systems, which will demand extensive regression testing.
What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?
It is expensive compared to some of the other automation tools in the market. However, the benefits and ROI has proved that it has been a good investment.
We have concurrent licenses.
Which other solutions did I evaluate?
SAP TAO and Micro Focus UFT.
It was critical to identify a strategic tool which would cater to the testing requirements across our SAP and non-SAP application (including web based apps like Web Dynpro) landscape. Worksoft Certify came in as a big winner ticking most of our requirements.
What other advice do I have?
It is a great product and we have not seen anything which cannot be automated till date in our application landscape.
It is important to do sufficient technical feasibility assessments before deciding to go ahead with Certify and equally important to determine the best implementation approach which will work for your organisation. Functional teams/business users' buy in is critical as the test designs cannot be created without their continued support. Adoption of best practices around naming conventions/folder structures etc. will help in easy overall maintenance of the test assets, which will also help with the generation of development and execution dashboards/overall reporting.
I would rate Certify at eight out of ten. Worksoft has always been very supportive and responsive to our needs and this has certainly helped us achieve our initial milestones successfully. I am extremely proud of what has been achieved so far and looking forward to expanding the automation framework across our wider IT application landscape over the months ahead.
Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.