Do you also use robots to upgrade and test your enterprise applications?

Or do you still misuse human time for that task?
  • An engineering company approached FIRtech with a mandate to bring their SAP systems to a version that was within mainstream support
  • The SAP versions this client had running were nearly a decade old and the business entity identified this as a major risk, which could inevitably turn into a major failure
  • These live systems were productively run over 10 sites around the country of South Africa, from ports to mainland.
  • This legacy code would require further compatibility development for the new versions of SAP Application Server, extensive testing with each site and business user, and seamless rollout to production without introducing interruptions to the current business operations

The Challenge

What RPA can do for Big, old enterprise applications

  • The stigma associated with SAP Upgrades taking years and having immeasurable costs does not have to be the reality anymore
  • With Robotic Process Automation (RPA), the installation of each environment could be automated and thus removing the human from repetitive tasks by perfectly configuring each application server and only sending through exceptions to the basis consultant to deal with
  • RPA tools could be used for testing thus minimizing the resources and time required to perform end to end testing
  • As FIRtech, we incorporate and utilize SAP best-practices into our methods whilst adopting AGILE and other streamlined project management styles
  • It’s like having an army of very disciplined SAP Basis and SAP Testing consultants working 24/7 to get the upgrade completed and tested end-to-end – only thing is – they are RPA robots.
  • After the upgrade, this same army can maintain and continue to test the system after future enhancements have been implemented.
  • Imagine, a full end-to-end test report minutes after each minor enhancement or system patch?

What FIRtech did

We upgraded a SAP solution that was over 10 years old across 10 sites within the timespan of 6 months (including the interruptions caused by the COVID-19 worldwide outbreak)

Using robots to automate installation and testing of the system, allowed for only having to perform the required steps on one of the systems then letting the robots train to perform the others automatically

System upgrades that are performed by humans are not well suited to the Agile methodology, but with the use of RPA this is easily switched into full agile mode

The watershed moment happened when we realised that we can accommodate staged or big-bang cutover for the customer (with the very same team) as it had no impact on our manpower required to handle either approach

The Result

We went live with a countrywide utilized solution and required a downtime window total of 1 hour.

The client is back into mainstream support with SAP, and can further invest into new features brought in by the new version.

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