Today, we will explore an intriguing and demanding subject, “How to Test ERP Software”. We will delve into the challenges faced in ERP testing (such as SAP Testing), as well as provide guidelines and a roadmap for successful ERP testing.
Before delving deeper into ERP testing, it is important to gain a basic understanding of ERP. To effectively test ERP modules, it is crucial to comprehend the features, functionalities, and workflow of ERP software. Testing ERP modules without proper knowledge can be extremely critical and challenging.
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Key Learning Points:
What is ERP and why do companies require ERP Software?
ERP stands for Enterprise Resource Planning. In practical terms, if an organization or company is planning to improve productivity and efficiency by integrating resources, then it falls under ERP.
So, what are these resources? They are commonly referred to as the 4M’s – Man, Machine, Method, and Material, which exist in any organization.
ERP software worldwide is built based on this concept, as every company requires an accounting or ERP solution.
Each organization may use one or more software depending on individual departments’ requirements. For instance, the accounts department may use accounting software developed in Oracle technologies, the finance department may use budgeting software developed in Microsoft technologies, the personnel department may use payroll software developed in Java, and the inventory department may use warehousing software developed by IBM, and so on.
Additionally, each software and database used may differ. This lack of centralized data storage creates complexities in business scenarios, reducing productivity and impacting employee efficiency.
For example, the sales manager might not know the inventory stock in the warehouse when making a sales order commitment, and the Vice President of the company may not know the company’s financial status until contacting the respective department.
ERP software addresses these complexities by integrating workflows from multiple departments within an organization and centralizing the database through a server infrastructure.
Thus, every department’s data is stored centrally, and authorized employees can access live data online without any dependency, enhancing productivity and decision-making.
The annual worldwide ERP software market exceeds $25 billion, growing at a rate of 10-20% per year. Small and medium-sized enterprises are driving this demand through SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) and cloud platforms.
Consequently, the demand for ERP testing professionals is also increasing in the IT industry. Many ERP implementation projects allocate more than 50% of their budget for testing and related activities.
However, it is important to note that ERP software is not just software, but a business solution aimed at automating organizational processes and workflows. Successful ERP implementation requires dedicated effort and involvement from personnel.
Choosing the best ERP software, one that meets quality and performance expectations, is a significant challenge for enterprise customers.
#1) Oracle NetSuite
Check out => Top AP Automation Software Solutions
Oracle NetSuite offers an ERP solution to streamline mission-critical processes. Its features and functionalities provide clear visibility and control over a business.
Oracle NetSuite includes a Quality Management solution. It allows users to define tests, set parameters for evaluating results, and apply them to relevant items and operations for receiving and in-process testing.
- NetSuite allows users to define the type of inspection, tests, acceptable limits, and minimum qualifications through Test Definition.
- Centrally manage a list of tests or inspections.
- Capture measurements and compare them to pass or fail limits.
- Features for Data Collection.
#2) Avo Assure
Avo Assure is a 100% no-code and heterogeneous test automation solution designed to enable end-to-end testing. Its user-friendly and intuitive UI further supports enterprises in delivering superior quality SAP and non-SAP applications in significantly less time. It expedites and simplifies SAP upgrades and migrations.
With Avo Assure, you can:
- Ensure seamless cross-platform testing across web, mobile, desktop, ERP applications, mainframes, associated emulators, and more without the need to download and install plugins individually for each platform.
- Achieve more than 90% test automation coverage without writing a single line of code.
- Facilitate migration from ECC to S/4HANA by conducting thorough end-to-end tests as required.
- Leverage hundreds of pre-built test cases with SAP test accelerators and expedite SAP releases.
- Easily visualize SAP test flows through Mindmaps. Define test plans and design test flows with a few simple clicks.
- Use the Mindmap extension to reuse existing test constructs to build new individual scenarios or stitch together end-to-end business process flows.
- Easily enable accessibility testing with a single click. The tool supports WCAG standards, Section 508, and ARIA.
- Execute multiple scenarios simultaneously through the Smart Scheduling and Execution feature.
- Smoothly integrate with SDLC and continuous integration systems like Jira, Sauce Labs, ALM, TFS, Jenkins, and QTest.
- Analyze reports more effectively with step-by-step screenshots and videos of each execution step.
Below is a snapshot of how an ERP-enabled business organization operates:
Importance of ERP Testing
The majority of ERP implementation projects fail due to inadequate test planning and testing. To understand the importance of ERP testing, testing professionals must comprehend the variations of ERP systems.
ERP systems are available in multiple versions for different domains and customers. For example, major ERP vendors offer different versions and flavors of their ERP software:
- Microsoft Dynamics NAV: Designed for small and medium enterprises
- Microsoft Dynamics AX: Designed for large enterprises
- Apart from functional testing, system testing, performance testing, and load testing are crucial.
- SAP Insurance: Designed for insurance companies
- SAP Banking: Designed for banking sectors
- SAP Chemical: Designed for chemical companies
- Domain knowledge and industry experience are important, in addition to functional testing.
Similarly, Oracle has products like E-Business Suite, PeopleSoft, Siebel, and JD Edwards, each with different features, target customers, and industries. Testing teams need to understand the purpose and functionalities of these systems.
There are two types of testing teams in ERP companies:
- A “Core testing team” responsible for testing the base ERP software with static functionalities.
- An “Implementation testing team” responsible for testing the implementation project with dynamic and customized functionalities.
When a feature or functionality is customized based on customer requirements, the modification impacts multiple modules and systems. The testing team must capture every change and its related impact to ensure complete traceability.
Automated ERP testing
ERP companies have dedicated testing forces to test their ERP systems. Testing such a large system requires automated test execution. Depending on requirements, ERP companies design their automated testing frameworks and set up testing infrastructures.
Automated testing is recommended for ERP testing because manual testing is time-consuming. Testing each component of a system and ensuring 100% quality is essential for successful ERP implementation.
Also Read: Best MRP (Manufacturing Resource Planning) Tools
Here is a list of different types of ERP testing, as most ERP systems are built using Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA):
- Functional testing
- Data handling testing
- Integrity testing
- System testing
- Security testing
- Reliability testing
- Adaptability testing
- Scalability testing
- Usability testing
- Performance testing
- Load testing
- Interface testing
- Interoperability testing
- Regression testing
- Infrastructure testing
- Image testing
- Installation testing
- Parallel testing
Several ERP vendors operate in the international market.
Here is a quick list of ERP software and vendors based on market share, cost, implementation model, deployment time, platform, technology, features, and functionalities. Each vendor offers different product versions targeting customers from various domains and industry verticals.
- SAP (#1) – A market leader since 1972, serving millions of users worldwide.
- Microsoft Dynamics (#2) – A product by Microsoft Corporation, with millions of users.
- Oracle E-Business Suite (#3) – A product by Oracle Corporation, serving millions of users worldwide.
- Epicor ERP
- Sage ERP
- Infor ERP
- Ramco ERP
- Focus ERP
- Tally ERP
ERP modules are specific groups of features and functionalities for various departmental workflows or processes.
For example, a sales order process, payment process, and customer management can be grouped as a functional workflow under the “Sales & Distribution” module. Similarly, employee attendance, payroll process, and personnel management can be grouped under the “HR & Payroll” module.
For testing purposes, understanding the features, functionalities, and workflows of these modules is essential. ERP vendors may have different module names, but the concept remains the same. For example, SAP has modules like FICO (for Financial and Cost Accounting), HR (for Human Resources), MM (for Materials Management), PP (for Production Planning), SD (for Sales and Distribution), CRM (for Customer Relationship Management), and SCM (for Supply Chain Management).
All ERP software follows similar functionality grouping and naming conventions.
Why is ERP Testing Critical?
ERP testing is critical because the test plans must cover the complete roadmap of the implementation phase. All modules within the system are interconnected and interdependent. For instance, to create a sales order in the “Sales” module, the system must check the available stock in the “Inventory” module and the customer’s credit limit in the “Customer” module.
Functionality within ERP systems depends not only on other modules but also on external systems. For example, a multi-currency enabled system retrieves exchange rates from an external live system, the shipping rate for a sales order may be required from another external system, and the sales tax of inventory items might be obtained from a government agency, etc.
When writing test cases based on such business use cases, testers must understand the complete workflow and the dependencies involved; otherwise, test cases may fail or remain incomplete.
ERP implementation testing goes beyond functional testing. It encompasses performance testing, user acceptance testing, and testing various components that interact with live systems.
To handle complex testing scenarios, domain knowledge and expertise are crucial. For example, testing general ledger transactions or sales order transactions requires accounting knowledge and understanding financial concepts.
In particular, ERP system implementation requires multiple forms of system testing, multiple levels of performance and load testing using live test data from existing systems, and analysis of output data based on financial standards like IFRS.
ERP testing professionals have years of experience and training in various ERP implementations. They acquire expertise and become capable ERP testers, often regarded as subject matter experts or domain experts.
Though ERP systems are complex, the job of an ERP tester is not to test the entire ERP system alone but to be part of a dedicated testing team. No one is expected to possess complete knowledge or experience of all ERP modules, multiple languages, or various industrial exposures.
However, testing professionals should assess themselves by asking the following questions to prepare for the ERP roadmap:
- What is ERP and do I understand ERP modules?
- Have I written or executed test cases for ERP before?
- Do I have technical knowledge like scripting, HTML, XML, or SQL?
- Do I have industrial exposure in domains like pharmaceuticals, chemicals, banking, etc.?
- How many ERP modules am I going to test?
- Do I need training for ERP testing?
- Is ERP testing manual or automated?
- Am I part of the core testing team or the implementation testing team?
ERP Testing Road-map
Now, let’s prepare a road-map with a checklist for ERP testing. Testing efforts in ERP can be almost equal to development efforts. ERP companies aim to reduce overall effort while increasing efficiency and productivity.
Please note that this is a general checklist and may vary based on specific cases.
ERP Testing Checklist:
|1.||Identify the scope and purpose of ERP testing – base product or implementation project.|
|2.||Identify the total modules available/released for the application under testing.|
|3.||Identify target customers, system users, and industry verticals for the product to be implemented.|
|4.||Estimate testing effort for creating test plan, test suite, test cases, test execution, and test reports.|
|5.||Review previous testing strategies and execution plans for the application under testing.|
|6.||Identify the business processes and test scenarios to be tested.|
|7.||Analyze existing testing frameworks for ERP testing, both manual and automated.|
|8.||Ensure the availability and proper setup of automated testing tools and frameworks.|
|9.||Establish a quality assurance strategy with defined metrics for manual and automated ERP testing.|
|10.||Review and approve test scripts before automated test execution.|
|11.||Identify best practices to improve the efficiency and productivity of ERP testing efforts.|
|12.||Form a testing team with experienced professionals possessing the right skill sets for manual and automated ERP testing.|
|13.||Set up a testing framework for maintaining reusable test scripts for automation.|
|14.||Report infeasible test scenarios or those unsuitable for the automation framework.|
|15.||Define the process for collecting test data and ensure the availability of domain experts to analyze output data.|
Before embarking on ERP testing, testing professionals need to understand the concepts, processes, and strategies involved. Armed with this knowledge, we can commence the testing process with a clear roadmap in hand.
Follow-up ERP testing tutorial: ERP Testing Test Plan – Our next step will involve initiating the ERP testing process by preparing a QA and Test Plan, creating a Test Suite with module-specific Test Cases, identifying best practices for manual and automated Test Execution, and establishing a template format for Test Reports.
Stay tuned for our next tutorial where we will cover all these topics. If you have any questions about ERP or SAP Testing, feel free to reach out!