Whether you’re moving to SAP S/4HANA, Oracle Cloud, Microsoft Dynamics, or any other major off-the-shelf ERP you’re likely doing so for a couple of reasons.
One is to standardize your business processes and your code - this time you’re going to use ERP out the box. The other is to take advantage of the latest tech to automate processes, improve analytics and BI, and service your customers better.
And, if you’re a big company with many business units, you’ll want to roll this change out with an easy repeatability across the business.
You know these projects can be expensive and disruptive to the business - so you want to make sure each rollout goes as smoothly as possible with no nasty surprises.
Ultimately, you want certainty about your route to go-live for each and every roll-out.
So how do you make that happen?
Where do ERP roll-outs go wrong?
Even with experience and the best intentions, a few months into a big ERP programme like a global roll-out and the complexity can get overwhelming.
Often it’s because placeholders and estimates were a necessity when the project plan was put together, but no one has since gone back and updated it with hard facts.
A few months down the line, risks and issues are threatening to derail the roll-out and leave business units in limbo.
You’re vaguely moving forward - but your project is lacking the speed, confidence, and direction you’d hoped for when you wrote that plan all those months ago.
Perhaps you’re not sure what the project status is. Maybe you know where you are but you’re not sure how to get to your destination. The present is unclear and the future is uncertain.
And it’s this uncertainty that is the real source ERP project pain.
On a programme, a rollout especially, you must remove uncertainty as quickly as possible.
When it comes to ERP programmes and roll-outs, evaluating and acting fast are going to make the difference between a project that succeeds, and one that is a drain on business resources and a limiter of change.
So how do you get rid of uncertainty on ERP programmes?
Test Automation - that’s how.
Keep your ERP roll-out on plan with test automation
OK, this is probably not the response you were expecting, but the impact Test Automation can have on a roll-out is huge.
Test automation is no longer just the preserve of technical dev-testers, or a tool for BAU release optimisation.
With the latest no-code automation and easy to maintain testing tools like Tricentis Tosca, test automation is a major accelerator.
It increases predictability in your project plan, it surfaces important information and it improves understanding.
This is vital when it comes to removing uncertainty on your programme.
For example, on your roll-out you want each location to take the new solution as standard as possible - but they will need some customisation for their region and you’ll want to quickly prove that the solution works for them.
Test automation makes this easy.
You can use one proven set of test automation packs over and over again for each rollout at no extra cost or effort.
Many test automation tools are also simple and low code, meaning you can involve business teams earlier, using their process knowledge to improve the test approach.
You can even use automation to replace some of their UAT.
These are certain, predictable ways to help each business unit accept your system changes quickly and readily in line with your project plan.
Better, faster ERP impact assessments
Another benefit of test automation tools is their change impact analysis. Put simply it means you don’t end up testing too much (a sure fire way to waste time).
In the past, understanding the risk and impact of changes to your solution was a manual process. Like all manual processes it was time consuming, subjective, and uncertain.
But now AI driven tools such as FusionGraph and LiveCompare mean impact analysis can be used to quickly direct the scope of your proving.
This is especially useful during hypercare periods - a particularly sensitive time on roll-out programmes where volumes of change can easily derail the plans for your next release or wave of deployments.
So when should you start using Test Automation on your ERP roll-out?
Too often test automation is an afterthought or a perceived fix to the rising costs of delays encountered in testing that impact the wider programme.
Automated testing and smart impact analysis shouldn’t be an afterthought - plan it in from the beginning, budget for the licenses, educate your team, revolutionize your delivery model and realize the benefits from the outset.
Putting it front and centre in your programme can be truly transformational and provides the kind of certainty that has eluded so many ERP roll-outs in the past.
Find out more about how test strategy can transform your transformation here.