In order to survive and remain competitive in today's permanently changing markets, companies must change their traditional and often obsolete structures.
Constantly changing customer demands present a growing challenge to enterprises. To avoid losing market share, companies must react to such demands efficiently. Traditional reactions in enterprises do not, however, lead to any essential improvement. Lowered costs, advertising of goods, financial restructuring and similar efforts do not truly arise from any strategic opportunity in orientation. In the best case, such efforts, therefore, provide only short-term revenue.
The requirements of today's market therefore force an enterprise continually to improve the quality and features of its products. As practical experience has shown, the most efficient method to achieve such improvements involves rethinking and optimizing structures and procedures. Today's buzzword is 'business reengineering'.
Every enterprise strives to design its own organizational form, production processes, and, of course, its products according to the demands of the market. The successful enterprise of the future will differ greatly from that of today. The differences will become most strongly apparent in the entire area of information technology.
One undeniable fact remains. The only part of an enterprise not subject to the process of change is continual change itself. This reality can lead to only one conclusion: an enterprise must display a very strong ability to react to market requirements and to adjust itself to those requirements. Enterprises will therefore place extremely high demands on information technology.
John J. Donovan, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the United States, offers the following view in Business Reengineering with Information Technology. To achieve a strategic advantage over the numerous competitors in the market and to reap exceptional results, an enterprise must possess solid software architecture for all business applications. That architecture is a three-level, standards-based, client/server solution.
In simpler terms, his observation means the following. Whenever needed, information must be available centrally and across applications. Access to data must exist at all times from all locations in real time. Data that reflects the situation last week, instead of today, is useless.
Processes that previously ran in sequence must now run in parallel. Maximum productivity requires automatic availability of data from varied applications: the appropriate data, stored in a central database, must become available across applications. Such a situation precludes data redundancy, which also avoids errors at the source. The requirements of an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system that can operate well into the future also demand the process-oriented ability to map and structure all the business transactions of an enterprise.
These compellingly required functions of a software system raise the demands on today's software development enormously. The demand for functions, integration and distribution force modern software development to execute large development projects. At the same time, market demands for product quality continue to grow. More and more companies seek certification according to specific quality standards, such as ISO 9000, because they hope to distinguish themselves from the competition in the market. Quality standard ISO 9000-3 is particularly significant in European software development. Today, quality in the context of software development has become an increasingly decisive factor.
Developing high-quality software at a low price is a challenge for both the developer and the user - a challenge ultimately coloured by systematic procedures. Computer-supported tools exist to support development, implementation, ongoing maintenance and, in the ideal situation, continual optimization. For such tools, the following applies: 'In essence, the development and use of tools documents human progress. The more mature, complex, and manageable the tools, the more productive and valuable are the results of human work. Ultimately, the same conditions will apply to the quality of software products/ (Frick 1995, p. 320).
This elementary statement must apply particularly to the development, customization and maintenance of standard application software for business. Such software also faces the highest demands for productivity, quality and functionality. The context of a standard application software package for business therefore demands the availability of appropriate tools. The software manufacturer requires tools to develop software, and the customer later requires tools to implement, customize and maintain it.
R/3, the standard business software offered by the software giant SAP, headquartered in Walldorf, Germany, operates throughout the world and meets the demands noted above particularly well. R/3 software features a multilevel client/server system, characterized by enterprise-wide integration, and provides wide-ranging business functions. The R/3 System therefore guarantees uniform access to data, flexibility, and the highest level of productivity. This software package allows enterprises from varied industries and from the public sector (such as administrative units, departments, hospitals, and so on) to respond continually to the demands of the market and thus strengthen or even create their market position.
With a market share of 29 per cent, SAP is the world's market leader for business application software and operates in some 40 countries. The dominance of SAP in the world market for standard business software becomes apparent upon examination of its revenues, expressed as relative market share, compared with those of its strongest competitors. For example, ORACLE, one of the next-largest direct competitors, 'earns about one-fifth the revenues from its licensing of enterprise software that SAP does' (Managermagazin 1998, p. 116).
Today, the R/3 System has become the de facto standard system for both large, multinational corporations and for smaller businesses that operate at the national level. It currently boasts some 16,000 installations and that number will continue to climb strongly in the future. According to many market experts, the world market for standard business software will continue to grow at an annual rate of 35 per cent. As Dietmar Hopp, a co-founder and former chairman of the board of SAP has stated: 'R/3 will be on the market for a very long time. SAP is continually developing it further. An R/4 System in not in sight/ (Borse Online 1997, p. 40).
The unbroken, strong demand for standardized application software to support business processes had led to this powerful growth. The introduction of the euro and the issues surrounding Y2K (the year 2000 date problem) moved companies to invest significantly in hardware and software. SAP will continue to profit handsomely from such investments in the future. SAP systems were well prepared for both events. In addition, its strong orientation to customer requirements and its ability to deliver innovations regularly lead to steadily increasing interest in SAP products and to successful sales among companies of all sizes.
Worldwide groups such as Coca-Cola, General Motors, Ford, Hitachi, Shell, Daimler-Chrysler, Hoechst and Singapore Airlines have used SAP software to optimize their internal business procedures and have won stronger competitive positions. Success among midsize companies has also contributed to the growth of SAP. Such companies display increasing interest in benefiting from the advantages of the SAP R/3 System. In 1997, 37 per cent of new sales came from midsized companies. A midsize offensive, launched by SAP in 1997, will surely lead to even more growth. The end of SAP's astronomical rise is not yet in sight.
Practical experience has shown that the time required to implement complex standard business software packages varies considerably. Generally speaking, the time depends upon the size of the enterprise. As a rule, the larger the enterprise, the longer that implementation will take, from a preliminary needs analysis to use of the system in production.
Practice has shown that the introduction of standard application software requires travelling a long, labour-intensive and difficult path until the multifaceted abilities of the software are tuned optimally to the various needs of the enterprise. The system can go into productive operations only after treading this path. Enterprises confronted with the initial introduction of software systems therefore require special project management to introduce software.
To become productive more quickly, the R/3 System can be implemented in stages, with limited functions. The design and corresponding configuration of more complex functions can take place later, as required.
With its R/3 procedure model, SAP has developed an implementation methodology for its products. The procedure model comprises the latest level of SAP knowledge from successful R/3 implementations, provided in the form of recommendations. The procedure model offers comfortable access to the appropriate tool, such as the R/3 reference model or the Implementation Guide (IMG). The procedure model enables ideal scheduling of an implementation project. It also offers a basis for estimating the time and resources required by the implementation. Users can also access project documentation directly from the procedure model. The model divides the IT project into several project phases and worksteps. Generally, the model differentiates the following phases of an implementation:
• Organization and conceptual design
• Detailing and implementation
• Preparation for productive operation
• Productive operation
The worksteps within the individual phases contain recommendations and support for project management.
Enterprises understandably want to keep implementation times for new systems and new processes short. Nonetheless, they also want the systems to feature the highest possible quality and productivity. SAP reacted to this demanding challenge early. It made effective methods and tools available that helped its customers reduce implementation times sharply.
In this context, SAP offers its proprietary Computer Aided Test Tool (CATT): a universally applicable tool. CATT is particularly well suited to support and accelerate development, modification, maintenance, and later additional development of R/3 Systems broadly and efficiently. For example, the tool can automate modular business processes of any kind and repeat them as often as desired. In addition, CATT contains all the functions needed to start, test, administer and log both individual transactions and test procedures for dynamic business or administrative processes. The remainder of this book describes the tool in detail.
To meet the demands of its customers for shorter implementation times even better, SAP collaborated with experienced enterprise consultants to develop the ASAP implementation method. The assistance provided by this tool can shorten implementation times even further. According to SAP, the ideal implementation should last from six to nine months. CATT can make a decisive contribution to achieve an accelerated implementation of an R/3 System with ASAP. Of course, the dynamic DSDM-based procedure model for R/3 projects also remains an important factor.
The goal of this book is to present a detailed and wide-ranging design for the use of CATT during implementation of SAP R/3, according to the classic SAP procedure model. In addition, it shows how to integrate CATT optimally into the ASAP procedure. The book therefore offers both R/3 consultants and R/3 users practical guidelines that explain in detail the opportunities available for using CATT. The central concern of the book involves a description of the functions, the opportunities for use in various phases of a project, the advantages, and the actual use of CATT in an R/3 implementation project. The following describes the structure of this book:
• Chapter 1 briefly describes:
- The basics of software development
- The phases of the software development process
- The use of CASE tools to test software
These topics provide readers not yet familiar with these areas with a broad overview. The chapter also shows how CATT, the proprietary SAP CASE tool, can be linked to individual phases of the software development and testing process.
• Chapter 2 provides an overview of the following:
- History of the CATT tool
- CATT functions
- Limitations of the functions
• Chapter 3 explains the structure of the development environment, the ABAP
Development Workbench, contained in the Basis module of the R/3 System.
• Chapter 4 illustrates how to use the CATT test tool effectively during an R/3 imple
mentation at each phase of the following:
- The traditional procedure model
- The ASAP implementation method
- The newly developed, DSDM-based procedure model
This chapter also details the individual work packages that CATT can automate and treats usage options that apply across multiple phases.
• Chapter 5 presents the general functions of the Computer Aided Test Tool, as inte
grated into the ABAP Development Workbench.
• Chapter 6 explains the composition of the tool, its modular design, and the use of vari
ables and parameters.
• Chapter 7 describes the various programming functions of CATT:
- Editing functions
- Check functions
- Control functions
• Extensive screenshots appear in Chapter 8 to explain the essential functions of CATT.
The detailed, step-by-step list of screenshots consumes a great deal of space but
appears because of the general overview and understanding of individual steps that it
provides. The use of screenshots also simplifies the ability of readers to relate the
applications to the system.
• Chapter 9 explains special functions of CATT management.
• In addition and for the sake of completeness, Chapter 10 briefly introduces another
tool, the Test Workbench, to administer and organize CATT procedures.
• Chapter 11 shows the use of CATT during the implementation of R/3 at a customer site.
This chapter treats the procedures involved in the planning phase and maps a complex
test of business scenarios during the implementation of R/3 at XYZ, Inc. To give readers
an overview, the chapter also contains a detailed procedure log for the test scenario.
• For selected business processes from the SAP reference model, Chapter 12 provides
examples of how the test procedures assigned to the business processes can appear
when mapped by CATT. Where applicable, it also refers to the test modules and test
procedures for the processes that are delivered with the standard R/3 System. This
information appears so as to give CATT users an opportunity to access existing mod
ules and procedures and to keep the effort involved in creating and editing new ones
as low as possible.
• Chapter 13 describes how to perform load tests using LoadRunner which is one of the
testtools from Mercury Inc.
• Appendix A describes the traditional procedure model for implementation of R/3. It
explicitly indicates every work package that CATT can organize, edit, accelerate and
• Similarly, Appendix В provides the same information for all the work packages of the
ASAP implementation method.
• The core processes in the SAP IDES (International Demonstration and Education
System) training mechanism list examples that map the high level of integration
among business procedures in the R/3 System and important business processes
within IDES. Most of these core processes work intensively with the Computer Aided
Test Tool. Appendix С lists all these core processes.
Note that this book covers CATT as contained in versions 3.1G and higher of the R/3 System. The book is based on version 3.1G but also, where applicable, it describes new functional features of CATT in version 4.0.