Heidelberg (GER) June 2016 - NV Bekaert SA, a globally active supplier of innovative steel wire products, has harmonized its IT applications testing and documentation processes with the help of tts software and tts' Belgian partner, FERN. Thanks to tt performance suite, all 7,000 Bekaert IT users now have quick access to consistent and current online manuals for SAP applications that have been systematically tested with tt performance suite.
Prior to the tts software implementation, Bekaert's global network of manufacturing plants and offices had created manuals in a variety of formats, such as Word and PowerPoint, which resided in various locations, including local SharePoint servers, wiki pages, and on the intranet.
As a result, until recently the SAP Competence Center in Zwevegem had no effective overview of the IT documentation currently being used in any language. It could not even be sure that updates were being applied. Meanwhile, end users never knew if the manuals they were accessing were up to date, even if they knew where to find them, a constant source of inefficiency and frustration. "We had a clear governance issue that we needed to address," said Sofie De Pauw, Cross Functional Project Lead at Bekaert.
According to De Pauw, this was essentially an organizational challenge, but a key aspect was the need to be able to see immediately the status of any document - for example, when the last update was made and who is working on it at any time. "It's easy to create a manual, but much more difficult to ensure that it is up to date and being used consistently across a global organization like Bekaert," she said.
"We identified tt performance suite as the best software tool to help us address this challenge, and at the end of 2012, we ran a pilot project with the support of FERN, a local partner of tts," said Jan Quagebeur, Global IT Application Delivery Manager at Bekaert. "It soon became clear that tt performance suite did everything we needed, from testing through user training and documentation to real-time performance support."
De Pauw added, "We are getting very positive feedback from both end-users and authors of the manuals, which are now consistent and up-to-ate wherever Bekaert does business".
Before applications go live, Bekaert tests IT scenarios from end to end for quality and robustness (end to end in the sense that the output from one test becomes the input for the next). Each test automatically generates a report, which serves as proof that the system functions correctly in a given scenario. "This has put an end to a lot of time-consuming discussions about whether an application was properly tested," said De Pauw.
Moreover, close integration and replication between SAP Solution Manager and tt performance suite means that when an application changes, Bekaert can immediately identify, in its IT ticketing system, the relevant scenarios that need to be tested and manuals that need to be updated; documentation updates happen automatically. As of November 2015, Bekaert had developed more than 1,700 scenarios for 2,200 test cases; the number is growing daily. Around 140 support and maintenance personnel use tt performance suite daily for testing purposes, and 150 authors use the software to produce and amend end-user documentation.
When an application is ready to go live, end users are trained in procedures and essential processes using materials based on direct recordings made by tt performance suite in the SAP software. They can also rely on performance support at the "moment of need". tt performance suite provides access to the current documentation based on the entity where the end users are working and their role in this entity. "This is a really quick and convenient way to identify the right manual related to a particular transaction code, so it contributes significantly to efficiency and productivity," according to De Pauw. Localized performance support is provided in 25 languages, with English as a fallback for advanced topics. Bekaert is also using tt performance suite for non-SAP applications including the Microsoft Office Suite.
"The advantage is that we can provide documentation and support that is localized but consistent at a corporate level, based on a 'single source of the truth'. Whenever a change in the software occurs, the updates are applied globally, so we have complete transparency over documentation and much greater confidence that processes are being applied correctly and consistently by experienced staff and new joiners. When you consider how frequently software applications are updated at an organization like Bekaert, this is vitally important to our success," explains De Pauw.
A team of two people in Belgium manages Bekaert's documentation authors all over the world via a server environment and workflows. "Authors and end users are producing and using documentation that is well structured, modelled on processes and courses, and delivered to a consistent format," said De Pauw.
Bekaert is now starting on a SAP Learning Management System (LMS) project, which means that its use of tt performance suite to produce eLearning will increase rapidly. In fact, as the benefits of tt performance suite have become more widely known in the organization, other units such as HR have started using the software to produce eLearning materials for non-IT processes and functions.