What is our primary use case?
We have an SAP environment, so we use Worksoft for SAP and the ecosystem around SAP. Most of the use cases are related to SAP products or interfaces and the applications that are interacting with SAP.
We use it for test automation. We are basically using it for regression testing, especially for our releases. For example, in the big SAP systems, when we have support package upgrades or bigger function releases, we use end-to-end test automation to ensure that the changes are not impacting the processes in the system. With this test effort, we can make sure that the releases are running without any issues in the production systems.
We started using it around six years ago with an on-prem installation, and we had a pretty good experience with that. The way we are using the software is that we have installed it on our terminal server so that not every tester has to install it on his own machine. Having this terminal server environment is allowing us to really stick to specific standards in terms of how the software will be used and in which sequence updates will be distributed on the server. It also helps in terms of the connectivity to the systems that we require for test automation. It makes it quite easy for people to concentrate on developing tests and not on the environment.
We are running version 12.0, and 2006.77 is the patch level.
How has it helped my organization?
In terms of its web UI testing abilities for testing modern applications, such as SAP Fiori, we started implementing a project two years ago where we developed a logistic layer and a finance layer, which all the future SAP systems of the headquarter divisions will be using. For that project, we had introduced Worksoft for automated testing. We are quite heavily using Worksoft in that area. We have all of our core functionality in that area automated, and we had a really good experience with Fiori.
Worksoft has these so-called configuration files that you can get for different applications to define the maps. We are also using ServiceNow or Pega for Workforce management. For both applications, you can get so-called configuration files from Worksoft, and with these configuration files, Worksoft can very easily identify the objects. So, you don't need to learn Worksoft from scratch, but you can really build on the foundation of already-existing definitions coming from Worksoft.
It provides codeless end-to-end process automation across packaged applications. It does not have the approach of writing scripts or having a scripting language for the logic. It is pretty easy to adopt. It is helping us in general because you don't need a developer or a technical guy for building these scripts. People in the business organization can really design their own scripts without heavy IT support. Normally, we just teach testers how to work with Certify in general for a couple of hours. If they have understood the basic patterns in terms of how to find specific commands, how to really work with these conditions, and how to work with varietals, after a day or two, they are able to work with this solution. They might sometimes ask where to find specific things, but because Worksoft also provides master content with a lot of examples, they can deal with it from there. In our company, we have an approach that all people work on the same project. This means that they are also sharing their scripts internally so they can read and steal from others. We also have a concept that for every SAP system, there should be one test architect who is knowledgeable. He is a key user, and he drives the effort to bring knowledge to people.
It definitely reduces the time you spend on test maintenance. The debug feature, the recognition feature, and the decoupling of scripts and maps are really saving time. Imagine having an error at step 850 in a test script that has 1,000 test steps, and these 850 steps have taken you an hour for execution. In such a case, you have to repeat the entire test because you don't have the possibility to go back to certain steps. Every time, you will lose an hour or two in maintenance. Having these features makes it pretty effective and efficient, but it is hard to say the exact time because you don't know how often your scripts are breaking because of updates. It also depends on the number of scripts. We also have to see the number of saved hours in relation to other tools. So, if you're comparing it with an open-source test automation tool like Selenium, it might be saving you more time, but that might not be the case if you're comparing it with Micro Focus or Tosca.
It has definitely enabled us to scale up our testing. When you use automated test scripts for test cases, your testers are released from that testing time, and they can concentrate on further testing. The way we are introducing test automation in our organization is that we say, "Okay. This dummy type of testing can be done by a robot such as Certify," and then our testers, who are hopefully more intelligent than the machine, can concentrate more on the individual tests. You cannot really automate all the test cases, and it allows our testers to concentrate on the individual test cases.
What is most valuable?
Worksoft Certify works well for creating test scripts. As compared to other tools for test automation, what is very good in this tool is the ability to implement logic into the scripts without coding and learning a complex script language. It is comparable to defining formulas in Excel. It is pretty easy to learn how to make your scripts more intelligent and more flexible as per the situation.
The decoupling of the test scripts from the data and the application is also a nice feature. When you are creating test scripts, for example, for a web application, you have to learn about Worksoft and how the controls of a screen can be interpreted by Worksoft. For that purpose, you create so-called maps. These maps are loosely coupled to your scripts, which means if the application is changed, the control will be changed from an identifier. You don't need to rework the entire script. You only need to do these adjustments in the map, and then you can automatically reuse the scripts. So, it is really a smart move to have the decoupling of scripts, maps, and data.
Its debugging functionality is pretty powerful as compared to other tools. Recognizing the errors sometimes could be challenging. When the debug function, for debugging your scripts, runs on an error, it can stop at that error and identify the elements that may have not been recognized. It can then update the definition to recognize the object. It then repeats the step again so that you have a so-called execution pointer, which you can then use for your debugging.
What needs improvement?
Certify is integrated with Solution Manager, but this integration could be easier.
Overall, in terms of how it is working, I find it pretty clever in all the areas. There are only tiny things. For example, to log into Certify, you have to put in your username and password. In version 12, they changed it, and the password is no longer stored. So, you have to enter it every time you log in. Similarly, there should be a way to store the layout of tables in Certify. You can adjust your tables, but when you close Certify, if I recall correctly, the layout of the table is not stored automatically. So, you have to adjust it every time. I'm, however, not quite certain about it.
These are tiny things that they can improve, but compared to the whole feature list of Certify, they are not so important.
For how long have I used the solution?
I have been using this solution for around six years.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
We regularly update the software when we see that there are new features available or if there are fixes in certain areas. In general, the Certify software is pretty stable. Based on our experience, there is no need to import patches every month or on very short notice. We normally plan for once a year version update.
How are customer service and technical support?
In our S4 project, we had the need to develop automated testing for Excel-based solutions. We needed to test the business planning functionality that was running in Excel from SAP. It is quite challenging to build automated test scripts in desktop applications like Excel, but we got quite good support from the offshore team of Worksoft. We had a talk with an engagement manager from Worksoft, and then someone from India came to Lisbon, Portugal, and they all worked together. Our team quite quickly learned how to handle the challenges in that area. So, it is not only about the tool; it is also about the support you are getting from Worksoft. Their support was quite impressive.
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
It is pretty powerful as compared to other tools. We developed our own tool, and we have also compared it with Micro Focus. We have some knowledge of QTP from HP and Tosca Tricentis. From my perspective, especially when it comes to debugging and also object recognition, Worksoft may be one or two years ahead as compared to the other tools.
How was the initial setup?
When we started with this solution, we had an engagement program. We had a consultant from Worksoft for 20 or 30 days on demand. It was an engagement contract that we had signed while acquiring the licenses. We had two or three onsite sessions. This consultant was here in Berlin with me and helped with the installation and documentation. This engagement really should be seen as enablement. It was not that the consultant did everything and then handed over the documentation. These sessions were more like hands-on sessions, which means our administrators understood how to install the software, how to configure the software, and how to make connections between different applications, especially with the database. They also understood how to make sure that our security regulations are met because there were some problems there. After we had documented everything, the consultant did his job with other clients, and we continued to handle the software on our own. We are deploying patches these days without any support from Worksoft because we simply learned how to do it.
Its initial setup is complex. There is the client part and the database part that you have to install. The client installation is pretty easy and straightforward, and you just have to click the Next button. For the database part, there are SQL Server scripts that need to be executed on the database server. It is pretty simple. You have scripts running on the database, and typically, they run without errors. In all these years, we had problems with the upgrade only twice. We have a QA environment where we typically test the upgrades. We had an error because a column was missing in the table. We raised a ticket, and someone from Worksoft helped us. We learned how to handle it and did the same on the production system without any support.
If you give me a system, a database server, and maybe a terminal server and we have to install both parts, the database part can be done in one or two hours, which includes preparation time, execution time, and post-installation time. Overall, it would take a day because the database also requires some time for installation. If you are simply differentiating between the effort and the duration, in terms of duration, the database would take a day. In terms of effort, it would take one or two hours. The client part also takes one to two hours, depending on the resource you are using. After that, you only need to do the configuration to connect to the license server and the database. If you know what to do, it would be up and running in a maximum of two hours. We are not really talking about a complex SAP system. It is simply a test automation tool.
What was our ROI?
We have seen an ROI. In the end, it is money and time. You save time for the testing, and you also save time in making corrections. If you don't have such high-quality testing, you will end up with errors in the production system. You will also have some interruptions in the daily business in your SAP systems. That's one aspect of the return on investment. The easiest way to calculate the ROI is in terms of the effort that you are reducing for testing.
What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?
I can only judge based on the situation that we had around six years ago when we did the tool evaluation. Worksoft was not the cheapest, but it provided the value. For 25 concurrent licenses, we paid more than €400,000, so it was not cheap. In the end, if you see how much time you are saving and compare it with others, its price is okay. We had also compared its cost with the licensing costs for HP and Tricentis, and they were at another level.
Now, as we have already booked the licenses, we only have to pay an annual maintenance fee, which is 70%, and that is okay.
What other advice do I have?
The biggest change was not really the tool. There is the saying, "A fool with a tool is still a fool." That's pretty much true. When you are starting with test automation, you basically have to understand the concepts behind test automation, and you have to learn how the robot does the testing. Normally, your testers are reacting, and they are pretty flexible. For example, if they recognize that something is blocking a storage location, they free up the storage location and continue. If you are doing the same with an automated test script, this needs to be implemented in the test script or logic. This is pretty much the difference. So, you need to be very precise in knowing the circumstances or issues that the tool might come across during a test. You also have to have a big focus on the test data. That's because if someone changes your master data, your test scripts will fail, and you won't be able to differentiate whether the error is on the system side or the data side.
You also need to think about how you are building your end-to-end tests. In the past, most of our tests were in the area of functional tests, but for the dependencies between the different functions, we really had to concentrate on end-to-end testing. This is pretty much the challenge when people from different organizations have to work together. There must be someone from the purchasing team and the finance team to negotiate on specific test cases and test data, which really takes time. With Certify, you have a tool with which you can concentrate on the content and the logic of your end-to-end scripts, and you don't need to spend so much time handling the tool. A good piece of advice for someone who would like to use Certify is that do not concentrate so much on the tool. You should concentrate more on the concepts and circumstances, such as how to ensure the stability of your systems and data. Are you going to introduce a pre-prod system, an isolated system, or an environment? That is more challenging than the tool.
We are using the Capture feature to capture a sequence of our test. Once this sequence is recorded in Capture, we then transfer it to Certify and continue the development there. The Capture feature is kind of a movie that you create. This movie is transferred to the Certify tool, and you can use a feature called BBP to transfer your test scripts into multiple formats. You can transfer it to PDF or Word format. You can show the process documentation with screenshots in a Word document, but in our company, we are very much standardized and formalized. So, this kind of process documentation is not sufficient. We can use it for simple documentation, for example, for discussing change requests for an SAP system, but for comprehensive detailed documentation, we have tools in place.
We have different tools in our company for RPA. RPA is not really in the area of Worksoft. I know that some of the organizations that are using Worksoft Certify for automation are also using it for RPA, but this is more of an exceptional case.
I would rate Worksoft Certify a nine out of 10. I'm pretty confident of and satisfied with this tool, but there is always room for improvement.
Which version of this solution are you currently using?