What is ERP Testing? and why is it important?
ERP Testing aka Enterprise Resource Planning software testing is an essential organization as it helps to keep a check on its workflow and technicalities so that there is no room for a mishap.
What is ERP?
ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) is a software that controls the core processes in a company like HR, Payroll, finance, manufacturing, etc. It helps to integrate all these different sub-systems in one place in a way that enables the easy flow of data and information from one system to the other.
More and more companies are switching to ERP systems to do away with a lot of monotonous and manual data entry work.
With ERP system in place, tedious manual work can be avoided like for example when a new employee joins the organization, a person record is created for him, based on his salary grade the leaves are automatically credited in the HR system, salary calculations get done in the payroll along with employee and manager profile creation in respective sub-systems.
What is ERP Testing?
ERP testing is a specialized form of manual or automation testing is done on the ERP software to ensure that it is working as expected.
The reason why ERP testing is so important is that each company had the option to customize the rules in ERP software as per their policies.
This calls in for extensive integration testing to validate that the ERP system is set up in line with the company’s needs.
In most cases, ERP testing can be considered as the testing of any other application software apart from the difference that for better testing the ERP system it is important for the user to understand how and where the data flows and which are the different sub-systems where the data is saved.
This is the most critical aspect of ERP testing. Domain knowledge is very important to get good results.
Different Types of ERP Testing
Just like any other testing, there are different types of testing that ERP software goes through different types of testing phases to make sure it is reliable, stable and scalable too. Here are some of the most commonly used testing for ERP.
- Functional Testing: It is done to ensure that each module performs each function as expected once the organization related customizations are done.
- Integration Testing: This is the most critical part of any ERP testing and needs in-depth functional and domain knowledge in the software as well as the company policies. In integration testing, one needs to focus on data and information flow across the different modules of the ERP system. The accuracy of the data needs to be validated along with modules where all it gets impacted.
- Performance testing: based on the size of the organization a performance testing may be needed to see how the software performs under load and what is the TPS (transactions per second) supported by the software. While is most cases in the load on the system would be negligible since people may not log in regularly but there can be a significant load during situations like when the hike letters are released, the last day of investment declarations, last day of proof submissions, etc.
- Security Testing: ERP solution contains end-to-end employee and employer data. It is thus, very important that only the authorized personnel are given access to sensitive data that too on need basis. This is will also help to minimize the chances of data theft.
- Most companies would do a phased rollout of the ERP software modules. This calls for a regression testing each time a new suite or module is launched after customizations.
Why Automated ERP testing is effective?
- Reduces implementation time to a great extent
- There are many processes and sub-processes involved in ERP. Software with such complexity requires test automation to discover bugs as quickly as possible.
- Test automation ensures that all the processes involved in the implementation of ERP in your organization happen in the correct manner.
- Verification of a centralized data source is cardinal for any ERP application. Test automation helps you test data process and security.
Tips for quick and effective testing of ERP
- Make sure that everything has been tested before implementation
- There are no such things as too much testing. Test the ERP application with as much as scenario possible
- Do not rush others into production and implementation
- A designated test manager has to be assigned to the project
Market Leaders in ERP Solutions
The use of ERP solutions is on the rise. Many companies are looking to make the switch and those who are already there are trying to take more benefits from the implementation. It is important thus to choose your ERP software provider wisely. Always keep in mind the quality and scalability of the software before buying it.
Here is the list of top 10 ERP product developers in the market today:
- SAP — the undoubted leader in ERP Solutions.
- Oracle — A close second with traditional PeopleSoft as the base.
- Microsoft Dynamics
- IFS Applications
- Inuit QuickBooks
- FIS Global
- Cerner Corporation
- Constellation Software Inc.
What is SAP ERP testing?
It’s similar to testing any other ERP software testing. Here the only difference is SAP is the provider. Whatever changes you make on SAP ERP has to be tested to ensure that the entire system is working fine.
Those who test the ERP system must have impeccable knowledge in it.
Phases involved in SAP ERP testing
Test preparation phase
- identification of the business model
- automated + manual test case development
- test suites creation
- Test system set up
- Test data creation
Test execution phase
Execution of tests, reporting and defect handling happens in this phase.
Test evaluation phase
Analysis of test plans, defect analysis, process documentation happens in this, phase.
How to make ERP testing successful
ERP testing can be successful only with a certain level of business logic and understanding of the inter-relation between the different sub-systems or modules. Read on as we share some pointers to make your testing activity more fruitful and the application more robust.
- Spend time on UAT: the testing done by real users is very important for the success of ERP products. This is because they will be aware of the nitty-gritty of the system and how it interacts with other modules. They are the best people to find out issues and suggest enhancements to the software.
- Test as much as you can: While it may sound lame when it comes to testing ERP solution, no amount of testing can be enough. The complexity would keep growing based on the number of modules that are implemented and the number of inter-related data points.
- Drive the implementation professionally: Have a project plan, a project manager, identify the risks, have a mitigation plan ready, create a backup plan and so on. This will ensure better tracking of the implementation as well as the enhancements.
- Automate: Automation comes in very handy for most testing activities. It is a boon for ERP testing. Go for it. The main advantage of automation in the case of ERP solutions is to help validate the functionality and the data points after every module is released. Manually it can be a very cumbersome and error-prone process.
- Follow the process: Being an in-house implementation, people tend to overlook the importance of following the right standards and processes. Do not make this mistake. Stick the test plan and follow every bit judiciously for the best results.
Challenges in ERP Testing
ERP testing is a special niche and not all functional testers can be ERP testers. This creates some challenges when it comes to ERP testing. Here we talk about some of the most obvious challenges:
- Getting the right testers: Testers with extensive experience in ERP testing are hard to find. The success of the ERP testing would depend on their expertise and the amount of domain knowledge they have.
- Integration with other systems: ERP solutions are like a single store of data and information. There can be to and fro data communication from the ERP software to other third-party tools. Establishing and testing this integration is still an open challenge.
- Dealing with complex business rules: the customization if the ERP system is governed by business rules that drive the flow of information and data from one module to another. Setting up and testing these complex business rules thoroughly can be quite challenging.
- Performance Issues: Adhering to SLA’s and performance standards can become challenging for big sized organizations if a proper load and performance testing are not performed.
ERP Domain Knowledge for Software Testers
While it is true that the ERP system makes the life of the people in the organization much easier after its implementation. The customization, implementation and testing phases would need a lot of planning too. It is thus important to plan the ERP testing well with proper resources and budget.
Rest assured that once the testing is completed successfully, there will be no looking back to the manual ways of capturing and reporting data.