How To Approach The Testing of ERP Application
ERP Application Testing
ERP applications have become critical for the smooth running of enterprises. Since these comprise myriad modules, functions, and processes, the need to validate them becomes critical.
Enterprises are realizing the need to leverage the SMAC (Social, Mobile, Analytics, and Cloud) model to accelerate growth. However, overhauling core processes administered by legacy ERP applications is equally critical. ERP applications help enterprises manage various functions, departments, and processes, including the data generated therein.
These applications help enterprises to run as one single unit and, in the process, generate outcomes such as improved productivity, better efficiency, reduced waste, enhanced customer experience, and increased ROI. In view of the criticality of ERP applications for organizations, they should be tested and validated. Testing ERP applications can ensure the smooth functioning of multiple tasks within organizations. These may include tracking inventory and customer transactions, managing finances and human resources, among many others.
What is ERP?
Enterprise Resource Planning aka ERP is a comprehensive software that integrates the various functions of an organization into a single system. The software has a shared database containing all information pertaining to the various functions or units of an organization. The ERP system helps to streamline the processes and access to information across the organization 24×7.
Why is ERP software testing needed?
ERP software is cost-intensive and requires a lot of investment in time and effort. Every ERP software comes with multiple versions and requires customization to suit specific business requisites. Moreover, since every element in the application is connected to some other module, upgrading them can be a challenging task. For example, creating a sales order would need access to the inventory management module. If any of the modules does not function to its optimum, the entire ERP application may be impacted. This can have a cascading effect on the performance of the company as well as create bad customer experiences. Hence, testing ERP applications shall ensure the correct implementation of the software and prevent crashes.
ERP software testing, besides checking the software’s functionalities, should ensure the generation of reports and forms accurately. By identifying and removing bugs during the testing phase, testers can avoid facing post-implementation blues. Moreover, it can lead to an early adoption of software and ensure its smooth running. ERP application testing services validate business processes, functions, and the rules governing them. They help reduce operational risks within the constraints of available resources and time.
The importance of automated ERP testing
Since the ERP system contains huge volumes of data, testing the manual procedures can be time and cost intensive. Automated testing can help to validate all the features and functionalities in minimum time and cost. Also, since multiple business units of an organization can have different processes or procedures, automated testing can check the accuracy of their output against specific parameters. Further, the ERP system needs to be updated periodically with the advent of new technologies like Cloud, Big Data, and Mobility, among others. Such updates help the organization to validate transactions in real-time, which is not possible manually.
Best available ERP Testing Tools
Since the ERP systems are available in multiple versions targeting multiple domains, units, and customers, the best testing tools available are:
- Microsoft Dynamics NAV – For SMEs
- SAP Insurance – For insurance companies
- Microsoft Dynamics AX – For large scale enterprises
- SAP Banking – For the banking sector
Approaching the testing of ERP applications
It is imperative for enterprises to set up a robust testing strategy. The strategy should prioritize the testing of processes depending on the short and long-term goals.
# Setting up KPIs:
At the outset, testers should setup the KPIs or performance metrics and evaluate how they will impact the overall organizational goal as well as departmental objectives. Thus, establishing the KPIs will help derive the right ROI for the organization.
ERP implementation for a large organization with many departments and processes can be a complex and challenging job. However, it is important that all stakeholders are taken into confidence and involved in the process. The process also includes making the necessary investment in training. When everyone is involved in ERP implementation, there is more cohesiveness in the administration of the software.
# Data migration:
An organization can plan its strategic moves if it can make use of its data emanating from various processes over a period of time. To ensure real data is not lost or distorted in any way during ERP validation and testing, its proper migration process should be planned beforehand.
# Selecting the right automation tools:
As ERP software can have myriad variables interfacing with various processes, they need to be validated. This requires choosing the right test automation tools – open-source or premium ones. Automated ERP testing can validate a large number of variables for various processes against expected outcomes. The right automation tool will help testers to write and execute test cases.
# Identifying test cases:
Since it is not possible to test every sinew of an ERP application, proper test cases should be written to ensure the maximum test coverage. Thus, testers should identify the test cases for each test and document them as well. Also, since ERP processes are linked to each other, and even to third-party applications or modules, they should undergo automated ERP testing.
# Conducting performance, regression, and security tests:
As an ERP system helps to run the operations of an enterprise as a single unit, it should run some critical tests. These include regression, performance, integration, security, and usability tests. This way the enterprise can ensure continuous monitoring of the system, save time and cost, and prevent any sudden downtime or latency.
# Proper documentation:
Post testing of components in the ERP system, the documented glitches ought to be analyzed to preempt any failure in a real environment. Moreover, the reports can be used for future reference.
To sustain in the competitive business environment of today, businesses need to take digital initiatives such as implementing an ERP solution. However, to ensure the successful running of such a solution and derive benefits out of it, enterprises should carry out ERP testing. The approach for such a testing should involve automation and carrying out various types of testing.
Hemanth Kumar Yamjala – Cigniti Technologies