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Mastering ERP Testing: A Step-by-Step Guide

  • 28 March 2024
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Mastering ERP Testing: A Step-by-Step Guide
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In today's busy business environment, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software plays a crucial role in making operations smoother, using resources better, and increasing productivity. But making sure ERP systems work well through good testing is tough. Setting up an ERP system can be complicated and affects many areas of the business.

In this blog we will break down exactly how to test ERP software, the roadblocks you might hit, and the best tricks of the trade to become a master of this crucial process.

What is ERP Software ?

Imagine a large organisation with diverse departments such as HR, finance, sales, and inventory management. Each department handles its own tasks and data, but seamless collaboration is vital for efficient company operations. This is where Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software comes into play as the central hub, overseeing all activities.

Think of ERP as a massive digital repository that stores all company information in one accessible location. It enables easy communication and data sharing among departments. 

Imagine this: a customer places an order.  Behind the scenes, the ERP system is working its magic. Inventory levels automatically take a dip to reflect the sale, and the order zips right over to the finance department so they can get that invoice out the door.  That's the beauty of ERP – it automates all these little (but important!) tasks, keeping things running smoothly. ERP systems can dig into all sorts of company data, giving managers valuable insights to make smarter decisions. Ultimately, ERP software is crucial for streamlining processes, increasing productivity, and ensuring smooth operations in large organisations.

By bringing together different business tasks like handling money, managing employees, keeping track of goods, handling supply chains, and customer relationships, ERP software makes managing the organisation easier. ERP acts like a central place for all data, helping in making decisions based on data and making the organisation more flexible.

SAP & Oracle Testing

SAP and Oracle are the main choices for ERP software. From financial management to HR operations and supply chain logistics, these platforms serve as pillars supporting businesses of all sizes, ensuring seamless operations across different facets of enterprise management.

Both SAP and Oracle are complex ERP systems as they use intricate functionalities and integrations with other systems into their core.

That's why testing these ERP giants is crucial – you need a meticulous and all-encompassing approach to ensure their reliability, performance, and ability to keep your business humming.  The good news? The best strategy for testing these mammoths involves a blend of manual and automated testing techniques.

Manual testing allows for a meticulous examination of critical business processes, user interfaces, and data integrity, enabling testers to pinpoint nuanced issues that automated tests may inadvertently overlook. Meanwhile, automated testing serves as a linchpin in expediting testing cycles, amplifying test coverage, and ensuring consistent regression testing amidst frequent software updates and customizations. 

Leveraging automation tools specifically designed for SAP and Oracle environments, such as SAP Test Automation by Worksoft or Oracle Application Testing Suite (OATS), empowers organisations to achieve efficient and effective ERP testing outcomes. Additionally, integrating automation into the continuous integration/continuous deployment (CI/CD) pipeline enables seamless testing integration with agile development practices, facilitating early defect detection and rapid feedback loops for SAP and Oracle ERP implementations.
 

SAP Automation

SAP test automation from Tricentis answers the three critical testing questions for you, creating a process of continuous testing that drives faster, safer, lower cost SAP releases. You can use the Tricentis solution with SAP Solution Manager or SAP Cloud ALM as part of your overall SAP ALM solution. It also works great as a standalone testing solution. Tricentis helps enterprises speed up SAP testing with an AI-driven, end-to-end continuous testing platform. Whether you’re behind on updates, planning a move to S/4HANA or the cloud, or need hypercare after upgrades, our comprehensive platform can help.

Oracle Automation 

Also have a look at the test approach to perform automation testing for Oracle applications. As on-premise Oracle applications like Siebel, Peoplesoft, Oracle E-Business Suite (EBS), and J.D. Edwards approach removal from premier support, it’s critical to stay up to date with the latest supported versions and patches. Tricentis Tosca provides codeless test automation that doesn’t require development time to create or maintain. Tricentis Tosca provides fast, resilient, and risk-based testing to ensure your critical end-to-end business processes will continue to work as expected after Oracle Cloud updates go live.

Challenges with Regular Automation for ERP Software:

Testing ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) software through regular automation can be quite challenging due to the intricate and interconnected nature of ERP systems.

Scenario:

Imagine you're part of a software development team responsible for maintaining and updating an ERP system used by a large manufacturing company. The ERP system handles everything from inventory management to supply chain optimization.

Integration Complexity

One of the primary challenges is the integration of various modules within the ERP system. For instance, when automating tests for a new feature in inventory management, you must ensure it doesn't disrupt the functionality of other modules like sales or procurement.

Data Dependency

ERP systems rely heavily on data from multiple sources. Automating tests often requires ensuring that the test environment has accurate and up-to-date data. In our scenario, verifying the accuracy of inventory levels across different warehouses while automating inventory management tests can be challenging due to the dynamic nature of inventory transactions.

Customization

Many ERP systems are heavily customised to fit the unique processes of the organisation. This customization introduces additional complexity when automating tests, as each customization must be accounted for to ensure comprehensive test coverage. For instance, if the manufacturing company has customised workflows for order processing, these customizations need to be considered during test automation.

User Interface Changes

ERP systems typically have complex user interfaces with multiple screens and forms. Regular updates or enhancements to the user interface can break existing test automation scripts, requiring constant maintenance. For example, if the layout of the sales order entry screen is modified, automation scripts that interact with this screen will need to be updated accordingly.

Regression Testing 

ERP systems are mission-critical, and any changes or updates must undergo extensive regression testing to ensure existing functionality remains intact. With the interconnected nature of ERP modules, conducting comprehensive regression tests manually can be time-consuming and error-prone. Automation helps in speeding up this process, but maintaining a robust suite of regression tests requires continuous effort.

Performance Testing 

Imagine your ERP system buckling under the strain during peak season. Not a pretty picture! That's why testing performance under various loads is crucial. But automating these tests for ERP systems can be a real headache.

Why is this important? Consider this: you require authentic data, complicated real-life situations, and a robust infrastructure. Overcoming these challenges hinges on having a clear testing plan. This involves careful planning, continuous communication between developers and testers, and utilising appropriate tools tailored for ERP software intricacies.

Addressing these challenges requires a strategic approach to test automation, including robust test planning, continuous collaboration between development and testing teams, and the use of appropriate tools and technologies tailored to the specific needs of ERP software testing.

Best Practices to Automate ERP Software:

To overcome the challenges associated with automating ERP software testing, organisations can adopt several best practices:

Identify Key Processes

Imagine drowning in paperwork, chasing down invoices, and spending hours on repetitive tasks.  That's the life before ERP automation!  The key is to identify the most time-consuming processes in your ERP system, like the order-to-cash cycle.  This is where automation becomes your superhero.  Think of it like this:  automating order processing, generating invoices, and reconciling payments –  it's like putting your sales cycle on autopilot.  Suddenly, you've slashed manual work, minimised errors, and freed up your team to focus on what really matters – growing your business.

Prioritise Test Cases

Start by finding important business tasks in the ERP software that can be automated. For example, automating how orders are turned into money can save a lot of time and mistakes. When you automate things like order taking, making invoices, and sorting out payments, you make the sales process much smoother. By automating critical test cases, you ensure that essential functionalities are thoroughly tested with each software update.

Modular Test Design

Adopt a modular test design approach to create reusable test components. For instance, instead of creating separate test scripts for each module of the ERP software, develop reusable functions for common actions like login, data input, and verification. This modular approach enhances maintainability and scalability of your test suite.

Data-Driven Testing

Leverage the power of data! Data-driven testing techniques are your secret weapon for handling a wide range of test scenarios and complex datasets. Imagine testing your ERP system's payroll module. With data-driven testing, you can throw a variety of real-world situations at it – different salary structures, tax rates, and employee benefits across departments and locations. This ensures your payroll system can handle anything your company throws its way.

Continuous Integration

Integrate automated tests into the CI/CD pipeline to enable early defect detection and expedite feedback loops. For instance, automate regression tests for ERP software and trigger them automatically with each code commit. This ensures that any code changes do not introduce regressions and maintains software quality throughout the development cycle.

Collaboration and Training

Foster collaboration between testing, development, and business teams to ensure alignment and shared ownership of quality goals. Additionally, provide continuous training and upskilling opportunities to testing professionals to enhance their proficiency in ERP testing and automation. For example, organise cross-functional workshops where testers and developers collaborate to identify automation opportunities and share best practices.

Monitor and Analyze Test Results

The key to successful ERP testing isn't just running the tests, it's understanding what they tell you. Here's where robust monitoring and reporting come in.  These tools track how the tests are performing, helping you identify areas that slow things down (bottlenecks) and glean valuable insights to improve your testing process.

Imagine a central dashboard displaying test results in a clear visual format.  This lets you see which tests are failing and prioritise fixing them based on how much they impact your business operations.  By regularly analysing these results, you can spot trends, pinpoint areas that need more attention, and ensure your tests cover everything they should.

Conclusion

In the cutthroat business world of today, maximising your return on ERP investments is crucial for smooth operations. Here's the secret weapon: mastering ERP software testing.  By taking a strategic approach to testing, leveraging automation efficiently, and adhering to industry-proven ERP best practices, companies can significantly reduce risks, elevate software quality, and achieve success. This translates to a clear advantage over competitors.

 


2 replies

Userlevel 7
Badge +2

Great article! Very interesting.

Userlevel 2
Badge +4

Very well done article, I specifically liked this part here: 

Scenario:

Imagine you're part of a software development team responsible for maintaining and updating an ERP system used by a large manufacturing company. The ERP system handles everything from inventory management to supply chain optimization.

Makes one think about the great possibilities of the ERP. Great job.

Reply