Implementing an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system can be a complex undertaking that affects many parts of the business. It involves big changes to your enterprise technology, large time investments to design, plan, test, and implement the changes, and, of course, financial resources to get the project completed—so there is a lot riding on your team.
Therefore, as with any major initiative, a carefully designed ERP implementation plan—complete with clear roles, responsibilities, and testing phases—is critical to achieving your project’s objectives.
So what can your organization do to prevent its ERP implementation plan from adding to that statistic and instead reach the success it set out to achieve?
This ERP guide will lay out the critical types of tests that should be performed during the implementation process, highlight the role that comprehensive and structured testing plays in implementing ERP software, and provide some solutions test managers can use to simplify their work.
The Vital Role of Structured ERP Testing
Given both the important and varied functions that ERP systems play in an organization and the implementation team’s desire to deliver a system that meets both functional and technical requirements, the role of the testing phase cannot be understated.
As outlined in the phase overview above, ERP testing encompasses several different activities and the participation of many organizational stakeholders. In particular, the following types of ERP testing activities are often performed during the implementation project:
In most of the above testing scenarios, end users are called upon to participate in the evaluation of the ERP system and sign off on its ability to meet their business and technical requirements.
Although this form of participation builds buy-in among testers and helps to ensure the ERP system delivers its expected functionality, having several large groups of testers with a wide range of functional roles can be very difficult to manage. Users have to be onboarded to the testing process, trained on the methods to evaluate functionality and record their feedback, and find the time on top of their usual jobs to complete the testing.
However, it is important to remember that although large portions of the organization may be stressed during the testing process, the whole organization would suffer if a faulty ERP system went into production. Similarly, acceptance of its functionality by cross sections of end users can give the implementation team the confidence that their system, as designed, will deliver for the business.
How Simplified ERP Testing Can Drive Implementation Success
With multiple workstreams, several key stakeholder groups involved in design and testing, a number of potential system and technical interfaces, and dozens—if not hundreds—of requirements, it is no wonder why the testing phase can be so vital, yet so precarious.
However, project managers now have several powerful tools at their disposal to help with this critical phase. One of the most impactful is the use of a test management system. These platforms not only help to quickly set up test cases and manage the launch of test runs, but they also simplify the capture and resolution of test results.
In particular, one hurdle to performing comprehensive testing, and in turn gaining the buy-in of multiple different stakeholder groups, is the ease of setting up testers and tracking their input. In addition to the administrative burden of setting up test cases and user accounts, the amount of user feedback and number of results can be hard to consolidate.
Yet, with a test management system, you can easily set up and assign testers, allocate test cases, and capture feedback, including attachments, notes, and more. In turn, as more end users and stakeholders get an opportunity to test the system and feel part of the ERP implementation process, the higher the likelihood that these participants will champion for the success of the project.
Similarly, with the use of test management, project managers and their teams are able to collect data, prioritize areas of testing, and develop a timeline to remediate any issues in the main deployment or in future releases. And, once the fixes are in place, the same initial testers can again test the system and features to confirm the resolutions are adequate and sign off on their acceptance. Throughout each of the phases, the test management system will also assist in creating an audit trail that can be used to verify participation and track feedback through to the end.
Completing this cycle of testing and acceptance will not only deliver a more sound and functional system, but also demonstrate a focus on testing and quality.
In addition to user feedback, your development team can easily become overwhelmed by other requests for enhancements, fixes, feature requests, change requests, and more.
In the stress of an enterprise-wide implementation with multiple interactions of ERP testing, it can be difficult for a development team to track, manage, and prioritize their work. Here, a test management system can also help teams to stay organized, confirm work meets the scope of the project, and improve their ability to stay on schedule and on budget.
Improve Your Chances of ERP Implementation Success
Although ERP implementations and the involved level testing can be complex and stressful, it is important to know that you and your team do not have to go through the process alone.
Test management tools with the features described above are specifically designed to help with the key phases of ERP implementations, including ERP testing. One industry leading solution, TestMonitor, offers a proven way to simplify and improve your organization's ability to plan, execute, and track testing efforts from beginning to end, right out of the box.
Testing managers can easily link system requirements to test cases, link the cases to create test runs, establish tester accounts, and track and manage end user feedback through to acceptance.
The end result is an ERP system that you can trust meets your initial requirements, represents the input and feedback of your key stakeholder groups, and is backed-up by the robustness and detail of your test management platform.
So if your organization is about to embark on an ERP implementation journey and you would like to learn more about how a powerful, feature-packed test management system can help your team exceed expectations, one of our experts would love to speak with you.
Contact us now and we will set your organization up with its own 14-day free trial.