The implementation of ERP helps large companies manage a multitude of on-going business practices, processes and operations easily. It streamlines business workflow, automates manual data entry, integrates different business subsystems to enable easy information and data flow, improves business processes, enhances business reporting, completely eliminates monotonous and repetitive office work etc.
However, a fair number of ERP systems implemented by companies fail because either:
- They do not follow a strategic approach or
- They “go-live” sooner than they should
In fact, most failed ERP system integrations show a remarkable lack of test planning and adoption of ineffective testing tools. To eliminate the possibility of failure, conducting ERP testing at all critical milestones is necessary.
What Is ERP Testing?
It is a quality assurance process designed to test the efficiency of the ERP system so that its implementation, launch and operations do not suffer any hitches. Performing QA tests on an ERP system prevents it from crashing and helps in drastically decreasing the number of bugs that arise post-implementation. All the standard functional and non functional tests are typically taken up.
Critical Reasons for Conducting ERP Testing in Large Companies
ERP implementation is not just limited to large companies; it can be implemented across companies irrespective of their size, sector or type of work. As mentioned earlier, every instance of ERP implementation requires a strategic approach. However, for large companies, the need for tactical set-up is immense because of the sheer magnitude of operations involved.
It is, thus, extremely critical for large company ERP systems to undergo robust ERP testing services to check for:
- User acceptance
- System-to-system integration
- Sub-system integration
- Unit testing
Several reasons justify this need like:
- Technical aspects can be tested: When ERP systems undergo testing for compatibility, localization, security, reliability, stress etc., all technical aspects of the system get tested to check for errors, glitches and defects.
- Ensures ERP implementation is on track: Some general factors that result in ERP failure are:
- Organization lacks in change management
- Internal resources present are not enough
- Software has been extensively customized
- Improper business process management or re-engineering
By subjecting the ERP implementation to a robust testing procedure, the need to configure the system to incorporate the missing requirements can be done away with. Every facet of the business can be checked and verified for its alignment with the business requirements. Thus, by testing ERP systems, businesses can “go-live” with the confidence
- Ensuring alignment with business needs: ERP systems are specific to a company’s strategy and goals. To ensure the same is achieved, the system needs to be appropriately configured. Some critical doubts that ERP testing helps to remove are whether the system:
- Is performing as expected and according to the needs of the company
- Provides support for all processes and operations present in the business
- Needs any changes to ensure its alignment with business policies
Using test scripts in ERP testing services helps in better system verification since it contains precise and detailed line-by-line descriptions of the relevant workflow actions.
- Enables better bug detection: To maintain accuracy in supply chain management, every component needs to undergo testing with documentation. One small fault can escalate and attain proportions that might be detrimental for the business. This is especially true for large companies involved in certain sectors like manufacturing. Thus, testing of the ERP system needs to be robust and the inputs, procedures, conditions results etc., clearly and exactly defined so that:
- Issues related to the app design can be identified
- Workings of the different aspects of the system can be verified
- A data trail can be maintained for all bug and error detection and correction activities undertaken.
By running test scenarios every time any change is made in the system, the accuracy of issue resolution can also be judged. ERP testing services can, thus, judge the efficiency and accuracy of the resolutions applied also.
- Provides users with hands-on training: For most employees of an organization, ERP is a new software when it is first implemented. They need to be trained to understand its different functionalities so they can maximize its benefits. When ERP systems undergo testing, the users gain hands-on training. Hence the ERP system is more adaptable post its deployment.
For ERP systems that need to trigger export/import interfaces between legacy systems, ERP testing should focus on the generated output and end-user experience. Since a majority of legacy system functionalities are data-driven, any ERP implementation that involves legacy integration should mandatorily undergo ERP testing.
It would not be wrong to say that testing and authentication define the success of ERP implementation. Even if all components of the ERP system seem to work fine, they need to be verified.
Some might argue that the costs involved in ERP testing are high and sometimes they even account for about 50% of the total ERP implementation cost.
Yet its need and necessity cannot be negated, as unchecked ERP technical issues tend to cause unnecessary business process disruption and immense monetary loss.