SAP is an exclusive club. People who work on SAP projects tend to just work on SAP projects. If a business wants to implement SAP, they talk to the handful of companies that have deep experience with SAP rather than seeking quotes from the wider market of generalist software development shops.
Similarly, if a business needs to load test their new SAP system, they should hire a performance tester with SAP-specific load testing experience rather than engaging a generalist performance tester who will treat it the same as any other load testing project.
The three important qualities that a specialist SAP performance tester brings to an SAP project are self-sufficiency, communication, and the right kind of experience. Please bear with me while I elaborate…
Everyone is busy on an SAP project, so it is better if a performance tester can be as self-sufficient as possible. Can they figure out the steps of key business processes themselves, rather than relying on a BA walk them through it? Do they know how to create their own test data, or find it using the table browser? Are they someone you can trust with SAP_ALL privileges? Would it be nice if they could inspect performance metrics and system configuration themselves without adding tasks to an already overloaded Basis team?
Having an independent performance tester who can get work done without slowing down the other teams is a huge bonus to the project.
Working with SAP for a long time makes you forget that it is a different world with its own language. The terminology can be opaque for an outsider, which makes it harder for a non-SAP performance tester to communicate with the different teams on a project. From requesting Basis changes, to working effectively with the MaxAttention VTO team, understanding how to “talk SAP” is important.
Project managers also understand how important communication skills are when it comes to raising defects that are clear and actionable, and producing a Performance Test Summary Report that can be easily understood by stakeholders (rather than just being a collection of graphs and tables).
The right kind of experience
Timeframes can be short on an SAP project, and project delays are expensive. A good project manager wants to do everything they can to keep performance testing off the critical path, and the best way to do that is to hire the right person. When an SAP performance testing expert encounters a problem, they have either seen something like it before, or have the skills to search for clues in SAP Notes or Knowledge Base Articles. They have the experience to know what performance test cases should be in-scope, how to get things done quickly in an SAP environment, and which team go to for each type of problem that is encountered.
Finding the right performance tester for your SAP project doesn’t just reduce the risk of load & performance problems; it reduces the risk of project schedule slips.