Enterprises that use ERP systems, whether is SAP, ORACLE or any other, heavily rely on the suites as they are commerce critical. An enterprise ERP suite is an integrated application that can be availed for performing various activities such as receiving orders, shipping products, controlling finances, managing human resources, etc. with a 6.4% annual growth, ERP continues to be an active growth market for vendors. ERP vendors such as SAP, ORACLE, and Microsoft Dynamics spend heavily in constant improvements to their solutions. In turn the enterprises want to keep up with the knowledge improvements and thus need to upgrade. It is true that their business operations will get the complete benefit of these ERP upgrades and in order to plan for an ERP upgrade, proper planning and implementation of the same is needed.
ERP systems are healthy and enable updating changes as and when business processes are upgraded. Finding defects and validating that applications work correctly is essential for any ERP upgrade. A successful ERP implementation demands continuous testing of system processes to identify and fix flaws, and further ensure quality reporting and decision making. Moreover, in these complex and highly configured ERP systems & upgrades, testing becomes critical and researches reveal that 50% of the total ERP budget is occupied with testing. Relying completely on manual testing cannot ensure the full potential benefit of ERP implementation. Automated testing helps to upgrade application quality, and saves time and cost. Test automation has the potential to radically improve the productivity of these ERP upgrades.
Global enterprises understand the potential of test automation in relation to extending software lifespans, improving performance as well as reducing total cost of ownership and improving new and existing IT investments. The testing of any SAP or Oracle system requires business process expertise in order to check that the application meets business expectations. This means relying on business users to test the upgraded system. Some of the most common challenges with ERP upgrades include inadequate skill assessment, poor planning, and at times, ignoring the concept of change management by underestimating the time and resources required. But test automation through proper planning is needed for ERP upgrades.
Testing is an important process of an ERP upgrade process and in order to ensure success during the testing phases, it should be performed by trained personnel with complete know how of logging, reporting, and tracking errors. It further involves focused test cases on upgrading objects as well as on new objects to offer a more complete picture of how the data will be used post-upgrade. It is also true that project leaders might consider making use of in-house capabilities with external, third party skills and knowledge to take up the testing of ERP upgrades. But, the expertise of an external consulting or service organization may make sense when the investment in developing in-house capability will not pay off in the long term particularly with respect to ERP upgrades. In order to facilitate the adoption of the upgrade by end users, the project managers even get the key users involved with validating a test upgrade and conduct a user receipt training to a wider audience.