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Documenting your SAP PI/PO scenarios

Documentation is a part of all IT practices. It is there to ensure we document what has been created. This is to ensure that some people later will be able to help support the process. This is also true for SAP PI/PO projects. Documentation is something that does cost a lot to produce, so you need to get value from it and automate it.

I have a problem with the way we normally are documenting your scenarios. In many cases, the requirement for documentation have been small adjusted based on what some people from other departments wished and the types of the object used. It has been a manual process to update all of this documentation. Since I started with XI 3.0 in 2004 one of the things that I have always considered and worked with was how to make the documentation process much better. It has resulted in a host of tools that can create the documentation.

One of the big problems have always been it was almost impossible to create and maintain some documentation so you could keep your previous history. This is the same if you autocreate the documentation or if you make it manually. The Word document will be placed in some repository and then never be touched. I recond that you have seen some thing like the following change history, that will never changed.

The change history of only an inital entry

I wanted to keep the histroy and link it with a business requirmeent for the change. We have added the Ticket concept in Figaf IRT, here you can create a object that look like a Service Request, Request for Change or what jira ticket. The function allow you to handle all your processing in just one application and assign changes to the objects that is affected by a changed. We are working to make this even more connected with your CTS+ transport system, so you can registere all objects in the ticket easier.

When you then generate the documentation after some time you will see what was changed on the ICO, or any linked objects. So if somebody has changed a message mapping used by the ICO then you will it in the list. That way you know when it was changed. If you then later want to drill into what object you can open the link and see the full ticket information. All information in the document will only reflect what is the current values for it.

What is changed for an Integration Sceanrio

An example of what the full file will look like:

We still have some way to go with it. We can go into all Repository Objects, fetching and show the most interesting values from the channels, and get documentation from the different objects. We are looking for customer requierments and feedback to see what should make sense in the process.

You can try this out on your own system with the Free part of the Figaf IRT tool, though it will not create the full documentation for you. Then you will need to have a licensed version.

The testing solution from SAP to test PI/PO called PIT

Friday the 8 of March was the day that SAP finally released SP 14 of SAP PI/PO 7.5. The big promise was the new testing solution that allowed users to test SAP PI message process. It is called PIT.

“TL;DR the testing solution from SAP has some good features for testing. If you are serious with your testing and want full coverage then try out the Figaf IRT tool. “

As a vendor with a similar product, I have been interested in knowing what was going on with it and how it was working. I had seen some initial working of it but did not know where it would end. If it was going to be a killer product then it would remove part of my market. No customers can see the solution and judge if it will be useful for their use cases.

The key takes away is that testing is an important part of your it process where it is upgrading/patching, development or change of your interfaces. It is something that customer have expected and would like to see improved.

It is also good to know that SAP is taking the same approach as we have for fetching and running test cases.

Let’s start with the good part.

The Good part of PIT

  • It is a part of your license so you do not have to pay separately for it.
  • It removes the excuse that you cannot run any tests because you can always set it up
  • It supports fetching test data from dual-stack systems so you can test when you are performing upgrades for the systems. You will need to apply some ABAP notes to allow the recording.
  • You don’t need to install extra systems to run it the testing application.
  • It has a shared repository of data that all developers with the right role can access.
  • You can configure comparison of attachments
  • There are batch jobs running message processing and validation.
  • It is standard software following SAP delivery and support method.
  • Messages can be stopped before reaching the adapter and thereby not send it to the receiver.
  • That no changes need to be made to your landscape except you need to switch logging on for a period of time for the interfaces you want to collect data from.
  • It gives a good overview over how many messages that are affected by a change in one element
One overview i like. In just one screen you can see where the differences are structure across the testing result

I have not seen any roadmaps of the tool and how much resources and new features will be delivered but it looks like there will be more effort in it. So this is all based on the initial release.

Check out the video that I recorded that show my first look at what the tool can do.

My first experience with the tool and what is possible.

I believe that PIT will probably run more tests that my tool because the availability of the tool and customers it is simple to install the system.

What are the requirements

The test system must be installed on a 7.5 sp 14 or above. It can only run a test on the system with that SP level.

PIT  is able to collect test data from AEX system 7.31+ that have been updated within the last 2 years (It requires this note 2650265, which seems to have been backported to all service packs on 7.31+).

PIT can also collect messages from ABAP based systems here you need to apply some more support packages to allow the system to read data.

Read more on

I still see some areas where we have advantages over the SAP tool. (Okay, I may be a little biased, but if you try it out you will hopefully too.)

Why you still need to buy my tool

  • It enables you to test your modules that way you are ensuring that it is also covered as a part of the test.
  • We have a number of options for testing including using the SAP logging, but unlike SAP we du support all 7.31+ releases because we have web scraping to get messages. It is not an ideal solution but allows you to create test data on your old system without having to patch them. Because then you will have to do testing.
  • The speed of recording multiple test cases is a lot faster with the IRT tool because it can handle a lot of configuration needed. You can select multiple iflows and record them at the same time.
  • We do have a graphical overview to view differences and add ignoring of certain elements like time stamps that you do not want to cover.
  • Figaf support patterns not covered by PIT like Async-sync, Sync-async, EDISeperator and pattern is determinated automatically
  • Comparison not only in XML but also JSON, X12, EDIFACT, Text, and Binary
  • Simple data anonymization. You can select your input payload and then with a few clicks analyze everything and insert random names or number on different locations. This allows you to test with sensitive data and comply with GDPR.
  • Allow you to run multiple jobs and test cases when you want or scheduled
  • Excel report of all results so you can show how it worked
  • Connection with our DevOps solution so you can ensure that you are testing all interfaces that are affected by your change. It also allows you to document what was changed.
  • For customers the ability to get new features or functions delivered in days.
  • And so on… I could probably find a few more areas that we cover better.

Will we integrate the Figaf IRT tool with PIT

Since SAP will have a lot of test cases running in the tool we may be able to add some additional benefits of running tests with it. There may be something that can be implemented. We can leverage the way SAP is processing messages if you don’t want to get the test messages into the adapter. We could also use the ability to send a message directly to the message processing without creating an XI30 message.

We cloud probably also leverage the SAP part about downloading messages from dual-stack systems, and use them in our landscape.

IT will probably depend on when customers are adopting 7.5 sp14.

Your take away

If you have a plan to apply 7.5 sp 14 in the near future to your landscape do evaluate it. And see how it fits your plan and idea for working with the tools.

If you want to tool that can help you set up test cases faster, give you full tracking of what is being developed then try out the Figaf IRT tool? And we do support CPI also in the same approach.

You can check out the tool and see if it will suit your testing capabilities better. Check it out at Figaf.com/IRT


Full demo of Figaf on SAP PI/PO

In this video, I’ll show how the Figaf IRT tool will make it a lot easier to support your SAP PI/PO development. It supports the following process:

  • Look in support incidents for SAP PI
  • Create a ticket that could be similar to an SCR but created and updated in IRT
  • Based on the object in the Ticket IRT find which interfaces need to be tested
  • Run regression tests on the test cases
  • If you want to record new test cases IRT can also make that easy
  • It shows how you can anonymize the data to comply with GDPR or other data privacy
  • Validate the transport on QA/Test system to see if all transported objects work there.

We will make a similar video with a full demo of Figaf on CPI after the next release. 

 

Many integrated functionalities

Our ambition in the ongoing development of Figaf IRT is to create a tool with many integrated functionalities, so developers don´t have to look at different places when they want to solve their problems.  IRT is taking care of all your problems, and our customers say, it is easy to use.

Try out IRT

How to build a business case

For any business investment you must to is to build a business case so you can show a positive ROI. Otherwise, money can spend on something else that has better output.

The same applies if you want to get a better SAP PI/PO testing up and running. And all of my customers of Integration Regression Tool (IRT) must go through this process. Therefore I thought about helping them out, so you don’t have to start from scratch.

I have created an IRT-ROI-business-case 2019.

There are obviously a lot of assumptions that I have made in it. The assumptions are for a medium SAP PI/PO customer based on my experiences. I have tried to explain them in the video that I have made.

In this case, normal usage of testing would cost around 80.000 EUR a year.
If you go for IRT the first year, it will only cost around 40.000 EUR. The second year would be even better because you have made all the initial investment in the testing.
I was trying to see whether you really should be testing. This part had some nasty consequences like have system or factory down for 2 hours or losing a relationship with a customer. Here the price was 85.000 EUR. It had big fluctuations if you depending on how if your system was down every year or every second year.


Do let me know in the comments if there are ways this can be improved.

Casestory: Using Figaf IRT before testing SAP PI/PO upgrade

Almost a year ago I had the great pleasure of having Mark Oshifeso on the sixth episode of the Integration Podcast. Mark was one of the first users of the  Integration Regression Tool for SAP PI/PO. Mark works for a mid-size oil and gas producer based in Texas, and he and his team found out, that using Figaf IRT made it a lot easier to do upgrades of the SAP PI/PO system. I haven´t had the resources to go deeper into the interview before now, but I do think it is interesting because Mark Oshifeso has some great insights from a customer point of view.

The episode was called How to automate SAP PI/PO testing with Mark Oshifeso from Anadarko Petroleum.

Stock image

You don´t need to be a scientist

By using Figafs IRT-tool Mark Oshifeso was able to test much faster.

The tool is crazy easy to use. It is another generation from the usually SAP-tools, you list your Iflows, you mark those ones, you press record, and it is basically listening to messages in for example production. Once you have done that, you can run your test cases” Mark says and continue:

The IRT tool helped us run a test circle with almost no human interaction, and we are now in the situation that we upgraded our production based on the automated testing, and we are hoping now to move from a 2-3 years cycle to a 6-month circle.

Our ambition at Figaf is to create and keep on developing on the tool, so it is easy to use even in companies with many interfaces. Mark Oshifeso agrees that the tool gives a great overview in the process of the testing:

It is easy to use, you don´t need to be a scientist, and this is really why we were able to introduce the tooling into our landscape of 300 interfaces. Some companies have more than 20.000 interfaces,
and if you have a large number of interfaces you need to have an easy tool. The tool helped us automate the test. The tool is really intuitive.”

“With IRT tool there is a very fast learning curve, and if another person takes over, you have people quickly getting familiar with this tool. There is no science, which is also why we choose it.

There is no waiting anymore

What we want at Figaf is to give people a chance to optimize their workflow by using automated testing. And fortunately Mark Oshifeso thinks, that we have achieved this:

The tool it selves is very speedy to use. There is no waiting anymore. The tool is really great to help facilitate, save money and especially save so many hours. The figaf tool is the most holistic approach, and easy to get everything set up, I don´t see anyone else so far on the market”, he says and finishes:

I can really recommend this tool, if you want to go to automated testing, this is one of the tools
I would really look into.

Here you can find the podcast: How to automate SAP PI/PO testing with Mark Oshifeso from Anadarko Petroleum.

As you can see Mark Oshifeso had great success using the tool. Since the interview we have made many improvements to the Integration Regression Tool, so I should be even more easy to use today.