One common technique for ERP testing is to create scripts that demonstrate typical, or occasional, transactions. Step through the transaction, examine the results, and verify they are satisfactory. When a problem is detected, understand the cause, make corrections, and run the test again.
The process usually begins with initial scripts that are a single transaction. Receiving a purchase order or printing a cheque to a supplier might be a couple of the first tests. Later it will include a series of transactions. That purchase order receipt is next examined with an incoming quality check and then moved to inventory. The last stage is often called order to cash or a similar title that describes the testing of a chain of transactions through several departments and might run over weeks in real life.
Running the tests in a controlled, laboratory-style environment is important. They are repetitive and it is easy for people to vary the test just to make it a little more interesting.
Using an automated testing solution for your ERP maintains the necessary control over the experiment. The same tests will run much faster with an automated system so that more testing can be completed in the same time. Those ten people in the conference room can do other work and the cost of testing can be reduced too.
When any test fails, we must take the time to understand all the causes, especially the root cause. Were the steps defined in the script incorrect? Is there some configuration switch set that caused the unexpected result? Is there a flaw in the master data due to some misunderstanding when the data from a legacy system was translated before importing into the new ERP? The distinctions are narrow and we often think we found the cause until some other error pops up on the retest. One test seems successful and we only recognize the problem when we test a following transaction in another department.
A good testing system will not only run the tests quickly and consistently, it will analyse possible causes and point us in the right direction for a correction. The test we marked as green light last week will change to yellow this week when the system recognizes it was the cause of downstream failure.
Automated testing systems are relatively new and many of us have successfully implemented ERP systems without them. They are another tool we can use today to help make the next implementation succeed.
There is a cost to automated testing. The people we use now for manual testing cost money too. Each business can find their balance. The speed and controlled accuracy make automated testing a good tool for any ERP implementation. One manual condition automated testing will resolve for any of us is retesting. Too often some tests has succeeded many times but a seemingly unconnected later update can cause a failure we never see without continually retesting.
Neil ran his first SAP transformation programme in his early twenties. He spent the next 18 years working both client side and for various consultancies running numerous SAP programmes. After successfully completing over 15 full lifecycles he took a senior leadership/board position and his work moved onto creating the same success for others.