What is meant by the term “ERP testing” is the process of verifying the functioning of your ERP software solution during implementation. ERP testing is a quality assurance (QA) process designed to ensure the ERP system is correctly implemented and operational before the full launch.
ERP testing across multiple stages of the implementation process prevents surprises such as the program crashing at go-live. It also decreases the number of bugs that would otherwise surface post-implementation. ERP testing during implementation is hardly new, as the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) began promoting the practice through their conferences and publications more than a decade ago.
The fact that crashes and bugs occur does not mean the software wasn’t well designed. When it comes to cloud-based ERP software, there is always some configuration to be done during implementation (think of report generation, custom dashboards, etc.)—and those configurations can be the source of bugs and issues of their own. For on premise ERP solutions, another potential source of bugs can arise during customization. For example, changes to the code made to satisfy the needs of one set of users might inadvertently cause problems or reductions in efficiency for another set of users. Without ERP testing, the risk of implementation failure increases. The ERP tester should not only check the software’s functionalities but also make certain that reports and forms are being generated and displayed correctly. You can avoid having to fix post-implementation issues if you address any bugs during the testing stages. Doing so will save you a lot of system downtime. In addition, rapid adoption of the ERP software is vital to ensuring that the new system is used as soon as it is implemented and as efficiently as possible. A buggy system that is frustrating for new users is hardly a good way to get users onboard quickly. Bugs can also slow down the process of training users on the new system.
Companies implementing an ERP system need to perform several types of testing, with each type ensuring the functionality of a different aspect of the system.
Working from a precise listing of goals and definitions, functionality testing makes sure each of the features within a functional category is working and is fulfilling the needs of your organization.
This type of testing examines how well the ERP solution runs as it communicates with the various systems it is designed to integrate with (e.g., financials, sales order processing, inventory, etc.). Performance testing should reflect demanding, high data flow transactions such as those that might occur under the highest potential peak demands, or preferably even beyond that, to ensure the system, as implemented, is sufficiently robust.
As the name implies, this ERP test verifies that the ERP system has fully integrated the various processes it is meant to run. Integration testing verifies the individual modules or components within your ERP as a group—just like the software will be doing once implementation is complete. This type of ERP testing uses real-world scenarios wherein actual users run typical scenarios that they encounter in their work activities. You are testing how the ERP system can address real-world issues your organization encounters. You are ensuring that all the components or modules within your ERP systems are operating smoothly.
Functionality and performance testing can be done mostly in tandem during the early stages of implementation (i.e., well before the go-live date). Integration testing can begin early on during implementation and tested along the way to going live. As you identify adjustments that need to be made, you can make the necessary changes to your system and then retest it to ensure that it is stable.
ERP testing in an automated fashion (versus manual testing) is necessary for several reasons:
⦁ You save Time during Implementation
Automated testing reduces overall implementation time and may also yield more information because testing data is stored automatically by the test tools.
⦁ Automated Test Scripts Uncover Issues
As you know, ERP solutions are complex systems, as ERP tools underpin many processes and link together many different systems. Thus, by running automated test scripts, you can quickly uncover any bugs or vulnerabilities and promptly fix them before they become big problems.
⦁ You Stay on Track during Implementation
Automated testing ensures the implementation stays on track so that your organization’s new ERP system is fully up and running as per the business requirements set forth at the start of the implementation.
⦁ A Central Database Ensures Data Security
ERP systems integrate disparate sources of data into one centralized pool of data. Therefore, testing verifies that your centralized database stays actively connected to the various ERP-mediated processes and helps ensure the data remains secure.
⦁ It Optimizes Employee Productivity
Automated testing can also circumvent the kind of slow response times that manual testing can sometimes cause to ERP systems. It can also improve the user experience by avoiding the sorts of frustrating bugs that can leave new users wondering if they have made an error and need more training. Ease-of-use of the system not only influences efficiency and employee productivity but also has a direct impact on adoption rates.
There is always a human element in successfully adopting new procedures at work, including using new enterprise software. When users find the new ERP runs smoothly and error-free, they are more likely to take to it quickly.
A Hidden Benefit of ERP Testing
Testing ERP during implementation involves users from different user groups (i.e., stakeholders) who will be using the new ERP solution. The procedure plays a key role in training.
User Training Identifies
Potential ERP System Issues
Training plays a huge role in how readily the intended users will adopt the new ERP software. During the tests involving users from the various stakeholder groups, a lot of data and documentation can accumulate that will help with training others down the line.
Also, the actual users or testers will be enjoying hands-on training. They can draw on this later when they sit down with others in their user groups to show them how to use the new ERP.