Industry: Consumer Goods (non-food)
Category: Application Management Services

Duracell

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Why NTT DATA Business Solutions
  • Strength in optimizing and running SAP
  • Size of organization and history of success
  • Logical, focused approach to testing
It was a very focused approach to testing as compared to what was presented by the other providers we talked to. That’s really what put itelligence* over the top.

- Mark Sherman, Duracell’s Global Business Operations Director

As the world’s top consumer battery company by market share, Duracell makes high-performance alkaline batteries, specialty cells, and rechargeables. Since its founding in the early 1920s, the brand has grown to become a global consumer icon, known for its commitment to quality, reliability, and innovation.

On average, 63 Duracell products are sold every second around the world. With over 3,300 employees worldwide, the company has global regional headquarters in the US, EIMEA, and Asia, and has been part of Berkshire Hathaway since 2016.

Challenges and Benefits

Challenges

  • Application of SAP enhancement packs deferred due to user testing requirements
  • Selective application of new code was overly cumbersome
  • Significant regression testing needed for upgrade

Benefits

  • No need to invest in an additional testing tool
  • Script automation saved time and improved overall quality of the process
  • Automated test scripts can be used for future testing

Solutions

  • SAP Solution Manager
  • Testing as a Service
 
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Learn how NTT DATA Business Solutions established a cloud-portable testing automation platform leveraging SAP’s Solution Manager as part of Duracell’s journey to Business Suite on HANA

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Many organizations are turning to automated testing to protect against potential programming bugs, release incompatibilities and security vulnerabilities.

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Powering Up the World’s Largest Consumer Battery Business

NTT DATA Business Solutions establishes a cloud-portable testing automation platform leveraging SAP’s Solution Manager as part of Duracell’s journey to Business Suite on HANA

As the world’s top consumer battery company by market share, Duracell makes high-performance alkaline batteries, specialty cells, and rechargeables. Since its founding in the early 1920s, the brand has grown to become a global consumer icon, known for its commitment to quality, reliability, and innovation.

On average, 63 Duracell products are sold every second around the world. With over 3,300 employees worldwide, the company has global regional headquarters in the US, EIMEA, and Asia, and has been part of Berkshire Hathaway since 2016.

Creating a Technology Roadmap

Prior to the acquisition by Berkshire Hathaway in 2016, Procter & Gamble (Duracell’s previous owner) needed to construct a company-specific technology environment that was distinct from the larger organization’s shared structure. With P&G brands like Crest and Scope using one instance of SAP to run the business, the newly spun-off Duracell brand couldn’t “take the current system with it.”

P&G stood up an instance of SAP that was handed over to Duracell on the date of divestiture. “This version is what the company has been running on since the spinoff,” said Mark Sherman, Duracell’s Global Business Operations Director.

Since the acquisition, Duracell had chosen to defer the application of SAP enhancement packs due to the significant amount of user testing required.  Instead, specific functional enhancements and select code patches were applied as necessary to support the dependent business processes.  By late 2019, the selective application of new code had become overly cumbersome for Duracell’s IT team (and its IT partners) to manage. A project was approved to upgrade the environment to the current software level.

“We knew we would have to perform significant regression testing as a result of the upgrade to ensure everything would work correctly when turned over to the business,” said Sherman, “and just as importantly, instill user confidence in the new application.”

Going Over the Top – Automation Framework

For help with the regression testing and validation process, Duracell turned to NTT DATA Business Solutions, a long-time SAP partner who is strong in Optimizing and Running SAP applications. “NTT DATA Business Solutions presented a proposal to help us establish our testing automation foundation as part of our upgrade project,” said Sherman. “We compared this to approaches offered by several other vendors. We liked what NTT DATA Business Solutions had to offer and signed them up.”

During the vendor selection process, Sherman said his team was particularly impressed with the size of the NTT DATA Business Solutions organization and its history of success in the industry. “We did background checks on them,” he added, “and talked to other companies who had used their services in the past.”

The ultimate selling point was NTT DATA Business Solutions’ “logical approach to testing,” said Sherman. “There are literally thousands of transactions in SAP. You could spend the rest of your life trying to ensure each works correctly.”

To help sort through that maze, NTT DATA Business Solutions presented an approach centered on identifying Duracell-executed transactions, followed by a validation of each (and also of the end-to end business processes which leveraged them.)  The most frequently used transactions received the highest priority, while lesser-used ones were given a lower one. “It was a very focused approach to testing as compared to what was presented by the other providers we talked to,” said Sherman. “That’s really what put NTT DATA Business Solutions over the top.”

Telling a Better Story

Working with Duracell, NTT DATA Business Solutions did all of the data analysis and interviewed the business partners around the globe to understand the processes they were responsible for and the required interactions with SAP. By configuring the in-house Solution Manager module, NTT DATA Business Solutions saved Duracell from the need to invest in an additional testing tool. NTT DATA Business Solutions developed, validated and automated the scripts which were leveraged across all 6 business sectors. Issues that surfaced were researched, addressed, and the test scripts re-run to validate the corrections.  The script automation saved time and significantly improved the overall quality of the process.

Sherman said the project was implemented over a holiday weekend, during which time the company finished its major upgrade, ported the application to a new hardware environment, and migrated all data to the HANA database. “Everything went extremely well and the application went back online exactly when we said it would,” said Sherman. “The Duracell business was very impressed. IT had communicated a timeframe for the system to become available and met it.  Despite all the change that had been introduced, the application we delivered was extremely stable.”

Looking ahead, Duracell now has a test bed with automated and standardized test scripts that can be used every time there are significant changes being pushed into the solution. Sherman said Duracell would engage NTT DATA Business Solutions again on future projects, particularly when the manufacturer’s current partners may not be able to tackle those projects as efficiently or effectively. “We selected NTT DATA Business Solutions because it had a better story to tell in terms of how it would validate our system,” Sherman explains. “We would definitely work with them again.”

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