For organizations and companies, motion indicates progress. Continuous enhancements of systems, business processes, operations etc., ensures growth consistency.
The ERP or Enterprise Resource Planning is a business management software that makes this possible. It bridges gaps between different functions to integrate all into a system that moves as a single unit.
However, such universal application also implies that any hiccup within the system tends to disrupt all other associated systems. Essentially one single glitch has the potency to disturb the functioning of an entire organization.
The application of stress testing in software engineering is the best possible solution that mitigates the risk of such an eventuality from happening. In this preventive measure, the ERP is made to undergo a performance or stress test before the implemented system goes “live”.
For some sectors that experience sudden peaks like travel or banking, all ERP systems implemented have to mandatorily undergo stress testing.
It is a fact that stress testing improves the operational brilliance of ERP systems. Core points to consider here include:
For an ERP system to perform as desired, testers need to plan for its failure. Once they start planning for perceived errors, they add rectifications that will help avoid such situations in the future. When an ERP system is stress-tested, it is performed in a planned manner wherein the software is segmented.
These individual segments are tested by subjecting it to a variety of equipment and transactions, using it in varied ways, putting it under different kinds of stress, etc.
This enables testers to understand if the system is performing and giving results as per expectation. It also allows them to anticipate and apprehend errors thereby preventing them from occurring when the ERP is implemented.
Testing in a Real-Production Environment
Stress test on an ERP software is done using production servers that have a close resemblance to the one to be used in real-time. Additionally, before a stress test is planned, testers check to see if the required network and other actual-production environment elements are in place.
Thus, stress tests are performed in conditions that are a very near copy of the real-production environment. This makes stress test imperative for ERP testing.
During the stress test, generally a stress test manager is appointed. Open communication is also established so that users who will be operating the ERP daily can get a hand-on experience.
By logging in and answering queries raised by them, the stress manager can help them gain experience in the proper handling of the ERP software.
This prepares them better for its operations rather than having to dive-in blindly when the software is introduced.
Another important factor that helps to improve the quality of ERP implementation relates to the steps involved in stress testing. The core steps are so comprehensive that every aspect of the ERP is automatically tested.
Some of the points that are taken into consideration when a stress test for a particular ERP system is planned are:
- Realistic load volumes: While it is difficult to test transactional volumes that closely mirror the peak volumes to be faced by a system, stress testing helps simulate volumes that are closest to the peak volumes the system is expected to face. This ensures seamless performance even when the loads are exceptionally high.
- Infrastructure and network planning: Since the network used for stress testing in software engineering is the same as the one used in real-time, all aspects of ERP with regards to the network get tested. Additionally, the tests are also conducted on the internal infrastructure to be used. The internal IT team is also involved in the process.
- Integration of third-party systems: There are times when the ERP implemented has to work in conjunction with third-party systems. Stress testing takes into account these integration points too since they account for additional load on the system.
- Planning for specific scenarios: In any business environment, several processes or operations run concurrently. By documenting these scenarios in the test plan and executing similar test cases, the ERP can be made to function seamlessly even with several processes running simultaneously.
- Ensuring Prerequisites are in place: ERP is a large scale process and stress testing can help ensure that the required prerequisites are in place for smooth functioning and hassle-free operation. As part of stress testing it is important to consider and plan for test data, reusable functional test scripts, automated reporting etc. to make the testing process efficient.
While it is difficult to test for problems and errors in the exact way in which they may occur, stress testing of the ERP systems helps gain an eagle’s view of the whole system and helps in validating the readiness of the system to go live.
Since every aspect of the ERP systems is being thoroughly tested and the test procedures and results well-documented, the system that goes live is operationally more effective and helps boost the productivity and performance of the application in the hands of the end-users.