Integrate Rational ALM applications with SAP Solution Manager

A unified approach to managing and testing SAP and non-SAP projects

Businesses with SAP environments that need to adapt to changing needs quickly will benefit from an open, extensible ALM platform that is based on industry standards. With tools that scale existing processes, reduce costs, and use a quality-based approach, you will meet business objectives efficiently, too. Learn how and why integrating SAP's Solution Manager with Rational ALM applications optimizes deployment for SAP and non-SAP projects.

Bernd Eberhardt (bernd.eberhardt@de.ibm.com), Product Manager, IBM

Bernd Eberhardt works for the IBM SAP International Competence Center (ISICC) in Walldorf, Germany. Bernd is the product manger for the IBM Rational SAP Alliance. During his 13-year long career at IBM Rational software, he has worked in various positions in sales and consulting services, with a strong focus on Rational quality management solutions.



27 March 2012

This article explains how you can integrate SAP's Solution Manager with these IBM® Rational® application lifecycle management (ALM) applications:

  • Rational® Quality Manager 3.0.1 and later
  • Rational® Requirements Composer 3.0.1 and later
  • Rational Team Concert™ 3.0.1 and later
  • Rational® RequisitePro® version 7.1.1 and later
  • Rational® ClearQuest® version 7.1.1 or 8.0 and later

Note:
SAP Solution Manager 7.1 SP 2 is required for this integration.

An integrated ALM platform for SAP and non-SAP projects delivers a comprehensive and automated approach for requirements, quality, and change management. It helps customers with the difficulty of managing change within their SAP environments in a manner that addresses both the speed that the business demands and the need to cut IT costs. These customers require an open, extensible ALM platform that is based on industry standards.

The Rational Connector for SAP Solution Manager helps customers change quickly and efficiently with cost-effective Rational software, processes, and services for SAP. This offers several benefits:

  • Increased quality and speed of deployed business processes to SAP environments, despite decreasing budgets and other resources
  • A holistic approach to managing the lifecycle of purchased and in-house applications
  • All business processes are deployed and tested
  • An ability to manage and test SAP and non-SAP projects in a unified way

Quality management for SAP-centric solutions

The quality management process for SAP solutions follows many of the best practices from traditional or agile processes. However, there are a couple of SAP-specific terms that you will encounter in this article, so it is helpful to know how SAP defines them:

  • A SAP Business Blueprint documents the business process requirements of a company and provides a common strategy for how your business processes are to be mapped into one or more SAP systems. It provides details of the scope of business scenarios, business processes, process steps, and the requirements of an SAP solution implementation. (See Resources for where to find more information.)
  • An SAP solution refers to an offering that solves a specific business problem. The products perform industry-specific business processes. SAP offers a suite for each major industry.

The diagram in Figure 1 shows a high-level overview of a typical quality management process in a SAP-centric project. The process can be triggered by two different events: a new SAP solution implementation project or an update to an existing SAP solution. For example, a system update can include:

  • Custom development to support customer-specific processes
  • Support pack rollouts
  • System upgrades
Figure 1. Quality management process
Main QM process steps in a SAP project

Integration architecture and process flow

The platform integration is based on a connector, jointly developed by SAP and IBM. The Rational Connector for SAP Solution Manager links a Solution Manager project and a Rational ALM project and provides integration points on three levels:

  • Requirements management
  • Quality management
  • Change and defect management
Figure 2. Rational Connector for SAP Solution Manager overview
Diagram of how to connect Rational and SAP ALM

In an integrated SAP Solution Manager – Rational ALM scenario, the three integration levels provide an automated data exchange for transferring a Business Blueprint to create requirements, test plans, and associated test cases' test results from Rational Quality Manager automatically back to Solution Manager. This supports comprehensive test coverage and test progress analysis of defect and incident information for communication and tracks defects across the complete lifecycle.

Figure 3. Integrated SAP – Rational process
Process integration points between SAP, Rational

Transfer a Business Blueprint

A Business Blueprint in SAP Solution Manager helps to establish a business process hierarchy and identify the business requirements of a solution. Business process content can also be extended to maintain important content for systems, interfaces, software vendors, transaction codes, training materials, and process documentation. The Business Blueprint can be pushed to the IBM requirements management software to start the quality management process. The result of the blueprint push is a requirements hierarchy in the Rational ALM platform that provides links back into Solution Manager. Depending on the configuration of the Rational SAP Connector, the blueprint push creates additional test plans and test cases. The test plans and test cases are automatically linked to the newly created requirements to ensure full lifecycle traceability.

The blueprint push can be started from Solution Manager from within the SOLAR01 or SOLAR02 transaction by selecting Configuration > Send Data to IBM Rational Project from the menus.

Figure 4. Starting a blueprint push
Send Business Blueprint information to Rational

Larger view of Figure 4.

SAP Solution Manager provides many options to specify the scope of the blueprint push. Depending on the settings, the blueprint is transferred as a whole or as individual business processes.

After the transfer has finished, you can review the transferred information in Rational Requirements Composer and Quality Manager. The connector maintains the blueprint tree structure and creates corresponding collections and requirements in the Requirements Composer project. The requirements can have links back into Solution Manager. In this example, the blueprint push included the project documentation and, as a result, the requirements in Requirements Composer now provide easy access to the documentation through a hyper-linked document.

Figure 5. Review the blueprint push in Rational Requirements Composer
Display shows new requirements in Rational Requirements Composer

Larger view of Figure 5.


Test management and test execution

The main activities in test management are planning the tests, defining the tests, documenting, in detail, how the tests will be executed, and executing the planned tests for a specific milestone or release. The main artifacts that result from those activities are test plans, test cases, test scripts, and test results. It is important that all artifacts provide full traceability back to the business requirements.

Create test plans, test cases, and test scripts

In this example, the connector was configured to create a test plan for the overall implementation project and individual test cases for each requirement. All requirements, test plans, and test cases are linked with Rational Quality Manager traceability features. The connector also maintains the Business Blueprint hierarchy by using the category feature in Quality Manager. You can use the Filter by Category view to easily navigate the test cases based on the hierarchy.

Figure 6. Review test case hierarchy in Rational Quality Manager
Requirements traceability in test plans

The automatically created test cases contain information about the related Test Component and Test Object in Solution Manager. The test cases are also linked to the requirements in Requirements Composer that have been created as part of the blueprint push. This ensures complete and consistent documentation and full lifecycle traceability between Solution Manager and the Rational ALM project.

Figure 7. Test case traceability
Test case to requirement traceability

The next logical step is to link a test script to each test case. Rational Quality Manager allows many options at this point. Test scripts in can be:

  • Manual or automated
  • Reused across many test cases
  • Implemented by a variety of supported test automation tools, including:
    • Rational® Functional Tester
    • Rational® Performance Tester
    • Rational® AppScan®
    • Worksoft Certify

You can find a complete list of test automation options in the Rational Quality Manager Test Automation Tools list on Jazz.net and on the Rational partner plug-ins web page. See the Resources section for links.

In the example shown in Figure 8, we assign a new manual test script to another test case, which has been created by the connector, the Create Sales Order test case.

Figure 8. Add a manual test script for a SAP test case
New Test Script: Name, Description, Type, Owner

Larger view of Figure 8.

Run the test and transfer the test result

Rational Quality Manager provides many options to plan the test execution. Test cases can run individually or be grouped in test suites. Test suites simplify the process of test execution and reduce errors such as the wrong test execution order. In this example, we have created a simple test suite that contains the Process Chain Maintenance test case, and we use the Run Test Suite option in Rational Quality Manager to start executing the test. Before it starts, Rational Quality Manager allows you to select a test plan, an iteration, or a test environment. This information will be attached to the test result and is useful for reporting test progress across test plans and iterations.

Figure 9. Start test execution in Rational Quality Manager
Run Test Suite dialog window

Larger view of Figure 9.

A test execution in Rational Quality Manager results in a Test Execution Record (TER). The TER contains all relevant information from the test run: test case, test scripts, test environment, and, most important the test results for each step.

Figure 10. Test Execution Console in Rational Quality Manager
Test results view in Rational Quality Manager

Larger view of Figure 12.

The transfer of new test results from Rational Quality Manager to Solution Manager can run either automatically in a scheduled background job or manually through the Connector user interface. In either case, the test results are transferred back to Solution Manager and linked to the Business Blueprint requirements.

Analyze test results

Solution Manager provides many options to analyze, report, and document SAP Solution Manager data and information. A simple method to display the Rational Quality Manager test results in SAP Solution Manager is the Testing with IBM Rational Quality Manager option, which is accessible by calling the SOLAR_EVAL transaction directly. Select these options to reach the exact location: Project > Test > Test Results for Business Requirements Documents > Testing with IBM Rational Quality Manager.

Figure 11. Test analysis option in SAP Solution Manager
Testing with IBM Rational Quality Manager selected

Before the analysis starts, you can specify parameters and limit the analysis to a substructure of the Business Blueprint, a team member, or other object attributes. The result of the analysis displays the project structure down to the business process step and the test results that have been transferred from Rational Quality Manager. The test results also contain information about the test case, the test execution record, the test state (Passed or Failed) and the affected Test Object.

Figure 12. Test analysis result in the SAP Solution Manager
Updated test results in Solution Manager

Larger view of Figure 12.


Transfer incidents

In an integrated Solution Manager – Rational ALM scenario, two management systems exist for defects and change requests or problems and incidents. Rational Quality Manager integrates with Rational Team Concert as a defect management tool. This allows testers to quickly raise defects as a result of a failed test run. Alternatively, SAP Solution Manager provides the Service Desk component to manage problems and incidents. You can use the Rational SAP Connector to link the Rational change management system and the SAP Service Desk component. The result is an integrated change management system that allows a bidirectional exchange of information by creating incidents in Solution Manager from defects in Rational Team Concert, and the other way around.

Creation of an incident in Solution Manager is triggered from the defect form in Rational Team Concert. The links section of the defect form provides a menu option to add a related change request. This option opens a dialog window that you can use to select an external location of a related change request. In this example, the project is linked to a SAP Solution Manager Service Desk project, and the New Service Desk Incident dialog window opens. The New Service Desk Incident form is created through the connector, and it provides live field values and data from the SAP Service Desk. The field values are all valid and up to date, because they are sent to the connector at association time.

Figure 13. Create a new incident from a defect
Create New Service Desk Incident

Larger view of Figure 13.

After you have submitted the new defect, the defect is updated with a link to the new corresponding incident in the SAP Service Desk.

Figure 14. Link a defect with an incident
Rational Team Concert incident link to SAP Service Desk

Larger view of Figure 14.

A click on the link opens the corresponding incident in the SAP Service Desk, which contains a link to the defect in Rational Team Concert. You can use the integration of Team Concert and SAP Service Desk to link any standard or to link a custom Team Concert work item type with a Service Desk incident.

It is also possible to create a new defect in Rational Team Concert from the SAP Service Desk. After a new incident has been created, you can use the External Help Desk section to select a Team Concert project and create a new defect report in the selected project.

Figure 15. Select a Rational Team Concert project from SAP Service Desk
Rational Team Concert project selection

Larger view of Figure 115.

The Forward to External Help Desk option becomes available in Service Desk after the incident is saved. A click on this option initiates the transfer and sends this incident into Rational Team Concert.

Figure 16. Forward an incident from SAP Service Desk to Rational Team Concert
SAP Service Desk forward to external Help Desk

Larger view of Figure 16.

When the transfer is finished, the External Message ID column becomes populated with the new work ID. The ID is an active hyperlink to the new work item, and a click takes you into Rational Team Concert to see further details.

Figure 17. Open new Rational Team Concert work item from SAP Service Desk
Link to RTC work item from SAP Service Desk

Larger view of Figure 17.

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