User Acceptance Testing for ERPs – Change Management Perspective

ERP implementations are challenging. The software itself often touches every function across your business, and therefore can significantly impact your business for the worst if its not executed correctly. However, we know that a fully-featured ERP, such as Odoo ERP can make a transformative impact on your business and how it competes in the marketplace. User Acceptance Testing for ERPs is one of the most critical phases of the implementation process.

We often get clients that come Vitr Technologies for support with previous digital transformations that have not gone well. Repeatedly, we hear the one thing they wished they did was spend more time in UAT. The military has a saying that ‘time spent in reconnaissance is seldom wasted’, and this adage applies here. Getting your User Acceptance Testing for ERPs right means issues can be identified and fixed before they impact you business. Moreso, it also aids in change management as key people in the business are getting hands on with the software, and can have agency over how their processes are executed.

Creating a robust User Acceptance Testing plan is crucial for ensuring the successful roll-out of a new ERP system.  Here are the 10 most important considerations you should be include in a plan for User Acceptance Testing for ERPs:

1. Involvement of Stakeholders: Ensure that relevant stakeholders are actively involved in the UAT process. Specifically, we need department managers and supervisors to have input into the key processes and scenarios that should be tested during the UAT phase. When considering stakeholders, look broadly to include end-users, department heads, IT personnel, and any other individuals who will be impacted by the new ERP system.

2. Clear Objectives: After stakeholder engagement, define clear and specific objectives to be achieved during the UAT phase. Once these have been consolidated, go back out to key stakeholders to confirm nothing has been missed.

3. Test Scenarios: Develop comprehensive test scenarios that cover a wide range of business processes and workflows. These scenarios should mimic real-world usage and include both normal and edge cases.

4. Test Data: Utilise or generate appropriate test data to simulate various scenarios accurately. This data should represent typical outcomes relevant to your current business. It will normally be drawn from your existing workflows (such as existing invoices, inventory and accounting data) and should encompass different business scenarios, including peak loads and unusual conditions.

6. Testing Tools: At a minimum, you want to establish an appropriate collaboration platform for communications and documentation during your UAT. Systems such as OneDrive, SharePoint, Slack, screen recording tools etc can be very useful for accurately capturing data. For large businesses or for critical processes, you may consider the use of advanced testing tools for regression testing and defect tracking tools as required.

7. Training: Provide adequate training to end-users participating in the UAT. Ensure that they understand the purpose of UAT, how to execute test scenarios, and how to report issues effectively. You must train the end users about how to to accurately capture and record the data that will be used by the development team to amend any issues identified.

8. Documentation: Maintain thorough documentation throughout the UAT process, ideally in your collaboration platform. Document test scenarios, test results, issues encountered, resolutions, and any other relevant information. This data can also be supplemented with a  decision register. A decision register of key changes can allow people to retrospectively understand why decisions were made at the time, aiding in change management and avoiding repeatable mistakes.

9. Communication Plan: Develop a clear communication plan to keep all stakeholders informed about the progress of UAT, upcoming testing activities, and any issues or concerns that arise. Regular status meetings and progress reports can help ensure transparency and alignment.

10. Feedback Mechanism: Establish a feedback mechanism to gather input from end-users and other stakeholders during the UAT phase. Users will be providing feedback via your collaboration platform. When decisions are made, that feedback should flow back to the end user to ensure changes made work for that department. This will help the overall process from both a technical and change management perspective.

By incorporating these considerations into your UAT plan, you can increase the effectiveness and thoroughness of the testing process, ultimately leading to a smoother and more successful ERP implementation.

When implementing an ERP like Odoo ERP, having a good implementation partner can be critical to ensuring you get what you need in a timely and efficient manner. The ERP implementation process will be disruptive, and change management is critical. Using this important phase to mitigate the challenges and aid change management is critical.

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