Change Impact Analysis with SAP Solution Manager

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Business Process Change Analyzer (BPCA)
It identifies the business processes/process steps impacted by software changes. Once the business Process impact is known, customers can assess the risk taken when implementing these changes and also the impacted business processes will form the regression test scope for these software changes.


What are the pre-requisites to be met?

1. Business process structures: Customers should document their business process hierarchy in SAP Solution Manager project/solution.

2. Technical Bill of Materials (TBOM): Customers should run through the business process transactions so that BPCA can collect the SAP technical objects used during the execution of the business process. This collection of technical objects is called Technical Bill of Materials or TBOMs

For example, to create a TBOM for the business process step “Create Sales Order” which is executed using the transaction “VA01” in the ERP system, the user has to go to SAP Solution Manager and run the business process transaction (in this case VA01) – by giving the required input parameters and completing the creation of sales order. BPCA will enable a trace on the ERP system and collects all the SAP objects used during this execution. This list becomes the TBOM for the process step “Create Sales Order”.

Below is a screenshot of the TBOM created for one such execution of the transaction VA01
In the above example, the TBOM for VA01 transaction has a total of 8315 objects. Observe that different kinds of objects have been collected, like we see there are 6253 program or code objects, 132 user interfaces, 469 table content and so on. These numbers will differ for different customer situations and also different execution variants of the same transaction code. Once these two pre-requisites are met, BPCA can then be used to analyze any SAP related software changes.

The following 4 use cases are supported by BPCA.

1. Analysis of customizing changes or IMG changes
2. Analysis of custom code or ABAP workbench related changes
3. Analysis of SAP Enhancement package business functions (analyze a business function even before activating it)
4. Analysis of SAP Support Package upgrades or EhP technical upgrades

In each of the above use cases, BPCA will analyze the impact of the change against the documented
business processes. The result would be a list of impacted process steps and business processes. Below screenshot shows one such analysis of a support package,
Business Process Change Analyzer
Based on these analysis results, the user can easily see the risk being taken by implementing this software change. BPCA also has the capability to create a Test Plan based on these results, where all test cases assigned to each of the impacted process steps are compiled into a regression test plan.

Also Read: SAP HANA Innovation


What’s changed in SAP Solution Manager 7.1?

SAP Solution Manager 7.1 is a significant release of the ALM platform from SAP. It is primarily enhanced in 3 dimensionsTechnology, Integration and UI. BPCA itself was significantly enhanced to address various pain points. Customers who have used Business Process Change Analyzer in SAP solution Manager 7.0 EhP1 have identified the following areas of improvement.

1. TBOM creation was time-consuming and the only way to create a TBOM was to execute the process from the Business Blueprint application (Transactions: SOLAR01) in SAP SolMan. When large changes like SAP Support Packages were analyzed, BPCA was showing most of the Business processes as impacted. Customers felt there should be a way to optimize the results of BPCA.

2. When customization changes are done in SAP, the resultant transport requests had changes in table content. Many of these tables are generic tables and thus BPCA was identifying all process steps using the same table. As of SAP solution Manager 7.0 EhP1, BPCA worked on only those business processes which were executed using SAP GUI based transactions. BPCA is not directly integrated with external test management tools.

BPCA was enhanced in SAP Solution Manager 7.1 to address each of the above-mentioned areas.

Ways of creating TBOMs:

1. Manual TBOM creation – This is the default approach to create TBOMs, where the user can launch the business transaction from SAP Solution Manager Business Blueprint application. While the user executes the business process step, a trace is enabled on the managed system which forms as the basis for compiling a list of technical objects used during the execution. This list would become the TBOM for the executed process step.

2. TBOM creation by testers – Customers who use SAP Solution Manager Test Workbench for managing their manual testing can leverage the effort put in by manual testers in creating TBOMs. In this approach a tester would start the execution of a test case from the test workbench and while the tester is testing the business process step, the trace is enabled and a TBOM is compiled.

TBOM creation

3. TBOM creation using business process experts – Customer who would want to use the business departments or business process experts for TBOM creation can create a work list which can be assigned to different business teams. Based on the work list a business process expert would execute the processes while TBOMs are created in the background. This requires no additional knowledge of SAP Solution Manager from the business user. This approach can also be used to create TBOMs on the production system where actual business users could execute the transactions as part of the daily business and TBOMs are created in the background.


4. TBOM creation using automated test scripts – The most efficient way of creating TBOMs would be to reuse the automated test scripts to create TBOMs. In this approach, a set of automated test scripts which are assigned to business processes are executed and TBOMs are created for the corresponding process steps automatically. This is possible if the customer is using either SAP TAO 2.0 SP04 based test scripts or if the customer is using the new Test Automation Framework in SAP Solution Manager 7.1.

Also Read: How to get Technical Type of BOM

Reducing test Scope and Optimization

1. Test Object Coverage: BPCA uses the number of objects impacting a certain business process step to rank the impacted node, so that the first few tests would result in the maximum coverage of changed objects. If you see the screenshot below, it shows how BPCA has done optimization of test scope based on object coverage. The first process step of “Post Goods Issue” was having the biggest impact as it is covering close to 45% of the impacted technical objects. Adding the next process step of “Create Sales Order form Quotation” to the scope would increase the coverage to close to 70%. This allows users to have a clear idea on which are the most impacted process steps and accordingly optimize to test only those processes which could cover 100% of all impacted objects. Business Process Change Analyzer in SAP Solution Manager 7.1

2. Test Efforts: The second optimization criterion is to use the test effort to optimize the test scope. If a particular process step has an automated test available, then it might be efficient to include that step into the test scope and easily test the impacted objects. Also, if the test manager wishes to find out what’s the best set of tests to execute with a finite amount of manual/automated test capacity.

3. Test and Business Process Attributes: While optimizing the test scope, BPCA will leave out certain process steps out of the test scope. Users are able to influence this decision, by enforcing BPCA to include “certain” tests to always be included or excluded from the test scope. Users will be able to select these tests by using either business process attributes or test attribute values. For example, a test manager might want to say that if there are any critical/high priority business processes impacted, then they will always be included in the test scope. So the user will use a custom process attribute called “Business Process Priority” and influences BPCA to consider this as part of the optimization. This allows users to also minimize/protect the risk they will take byoptimizing the tests for a given change.

Thus, Test Scope Optimization allows users to have a risk based approach to reducing the test scope and in turn reducing the overall test efforts by avoiding testing redundant business processes to cover 100% of all changed objects while protecting the risk by forcibly including important business processes or tests

Integration with Test Management Tools

Once user performance an impact analysis and optimizes the test scope using BPCA, the immediate next step is to take this test scope and create a test plan so that the impacted processes can be tested before moving the changes to production. In the past, BPCA was able to automatically create test plans based on the impact analysis only in SAP Solution Manager Test Workbench. Many customers use 3rd party test management tools like IBM Rational Quality Manager or HP Quality Center.

In SAP Solution Manager 7.1 SP05, BPCA now has opened new interfaces so that users can create test plans in these 3rd party test management tools and also use the information about the test cases stored in these tools in Test Scope Optimization in BPCA.

The following use cases are supported with these new interfaces:

1. Trigger an impact analysis from a 3rd party tool: It would now be possible to launch the BPCA application from a 3rd party test management tool and even pre-fill certain input parameters.

Trigger an impact analysis from a 3rd party tool

2. Test Plan Creation: It would be possible for users in BPCA to be able to create a test plan based on the impacted business processes identified by BPCA. A user would run an impact analysis (optionally do test scope optimization) and then will be able to create a test plan automatically in the 3rd party test management tool. If a test plan was already created, the user would be able to extend an existing test plan as well.

3. Test Scope Optimization: To perform a test scope optimization, BPCA needs to understand the details of what kind of test cases are available for the impacted business processes. If the test cases are stored in a 3rd party test management tool, then BPCA will now able to read the information about the test cases (what kind of tests are available for the impacted processes? Are they automated? What was the effort required to execute these tests? etc.). Based on this information BPCA will be able to identify an optimized test scope which consists of tests stored in a 3rd party test management tool.

Also Read: Hello EhP7

Integration with Change Request Management

With SAP Solution Manager 7.1 SP05, it is now possible to trigger a BPCA analysis directly from a change document or a change request which is in the status “In-Development”. Below screenshot shows the new change document CRM UI where there is a new action to “Create a BPCA Analysis”.

Create a BPCA Analysis

Once you click on this action, a BPCA analysis screen is launched. The parameters of change type, change document number, project and analysis description is automatically transferred from the CHARM UI. The user can simply click run to start the analysis


The above UI is also the new redesigned BPCA analysis screen which makes it simple for the end user to run a change impact analysis in a simple 5 step approach
1. Select what you to analyze
2. Select the type of change
3. Search and Enter the details of the change.
4. Specify the project which holds the business blueprint and TBOM
5. Give a description to this analysis and Run

What next?
A typical project would have the following activities:

1. Select a business scenario for scope of the POC project.
2. Create TBOMs for the selected business scenario.
3. Find a change event to analyze.
4. Interpret the results.
5. Create a roadmap for implementation of BPCA.

*Disclaimer: This is a recompilation of concepts and examples that I had learned from my own experience and few learning from reading materials (portals and blog).

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