An enterprise resource planning (ERP) implementation is a big investment in your business, and the success of any ERP project is directly tied to user-adoption rates. Simply put, if the end employees/business users aren’t using it, it’s a waste of time, effort, and money. A lot of money.
User Acceptance Testing (UAT) plays a critical role in ERP adoption and success. It is the final round of software testing that determines whether or not the solution is ready for full deployment. It also gets the end users, who will be using the new ERP system most, involved in the implementation process, which is vital for the system’s adoption.
In this blog post, we will discuss UAT testing, best practices, and why business users are so instrumental in the overall success of an ERP implementation.
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What is User Acceptance Testing?
As we mentioned before, UAT is the final stage of ERP testing.
Users refer to the employees that will be using the ERP solution. These business users must confirm acceptance that the ERP performs as it’s supposed to. They do this by testing the ERP while performing their daily business tasks. If the ERP software is validated against certain acceptance criteria, it can then be deployed into production.
Best practices for User Acceptance Testing
When performing User Acceptance Testing and involving your business users, there are four key things you need to do in order to be successful.
- Identify the right UAT testers. The business users that work with your ERP applications on a daily basis know their business processes best. They’re the ones whose feedback you need, as their input, and buy-in, can make or break the implementation.
- Carefully plan your testing. User Acceptance Testing is different from other types of testing. Its main purpose isn't finding technical defects but determining how the system will actually perform in practice. Consult with your business users to make sure they can carve out time for this part of the testing cycle and stay in constant communication. Otherwise, you may experience delays that disrupt the project and derail your timeline.
- Avoid reusing tests. Using tests previously written and run by QA is a waste of business users’ time, as those tests would be more about finding defects (i.e. system testing) and not about ERP performance.
- Don’t wait until the last minute to involve business users. You should ensure your users have plenty of time to perform proper UAT. This gives development teams plenty of time to make changes that business users suggest, and ensures that end users can work through their list of business processes exhaustively.
How does UAT Testing lead to higher user adoption rates?
Any time an organization implements a new software application or update, there is pushback from employees. People hate change. Rather than viewing the application or updates as a way to make their jobs easier and more efficient, they are intimidated by having to learn a new process. This intimidation leads to low adoption rates.
Engaging business users in the development and testing process and listening to their feedback makes them feel more involved and lets them test out the product before it goes live. Since they've already become familiar with the features during testing, they are more apt to understand the benefits and more likely to use the product to its full capability when officially launched.
Involving business users in UAT testing during an ERP implementation project not only ensures higher adoption rates, but it also leads to better overall performance - for both the ERP itself and the employees using it.