When it comes to rollouts for ERP and cloud business applications, there is more than one person in your organization who will need to be involved in bringing about this change. You have the project manager, the IT department, possibly a range of consultants (both technical and functional) and the change management team. All there to get involved in what is NOT a small project by any means. And yet necessary and unavoidable.
So, what precisely is a rollout? It is the deployment of ERP or business-critical apps to other business sites. In the case of global enterprises, changes in the system can come under several different use cases, including M&A, a new subsidiary, a new legal entity in a different location, or a new manufacturing facility. Considering the complexity of the global enterprises’ landscape, with every change made there is a level of precision that must be maintained in order to be successful in today’s rapidly changing world.
If we are talking about global companies, rollouts in a new country involve a whole range of local settings which add an extra layer of complexity. To make this process as smooth as possible, a careful planning process is vital. And this brings us to the necessity of an extensive UAT phase.
Why is UAT mission critical?
User Acceptance Testing (UAT) allows end users to verify beyond a shadow of a doubt that a system meets their business requirements – in other words, to make sure that work can go on with no disruption. Therefore, it is usually the last phase of the testing process, after IT has already developed and tested the system.
The key goal of UAT is to ensure that the newly deployed system works as advertised, no glitches and that the end users can work with it in the real-world environment. What does this involve? End users will do a series of tests, going through their typical work cases, to validate that the system functions as it should. And it is at this point that they can red-flag any issues or defects.
The challenge of rollouts: What to be aware of
Entering into the realm of rollouts is a challenge. Not simply because of the complexity of the process, there are several challenges to be on the lookout for:
- Time – It is a lengthy process, not to mention disruptive, involving a considerable amount of risk, which can lead to missing deadlines and going over budget (every manager’s nightmare).
- Testing – A whopping 70% of rollout time revolves around testing. And for the most part, this is done manually. This presents a secondary challenge; getting the participation of the key business users, whose knowledge and experience is a vital element in a successful rollout.
- Data Migration – Always a time consuming and complex process! Data inconsistencies, data cleansing, and mapping data from different sources can lead to quality issues, which you must stay on top of.
- Management visibility – Or more correctly, the lack of visibility and control over the testing progress. This is made more complex when it involves key business users spread across multiple geographic locations.
Let’s talk about UAT challenges
Depending on the organization, there could be multiple teams involved in the UAT process, and while it is a vital part of the rollout process, there are challenges:
- Resources to plan, execute, and analyze.
- Visibility for the testing processes can be lacking
- Integration between inter-dependent systems creates issues
- Relying on old-school testing methods, which is error-prone.
- Business users are a critical element, but recruitment scheduling and managing their work is difficult.
Key elements for any business global ERP rollouts
Consolidating multiple parts of an organization during a global rollout is no picnic – managers can be dealing with language barriers, time differences, legal hiccups and local culture on top of it all. So, it is important to get ahead of the game, starting by optimizing your business process. This means harmonizing between subsidiaries and headquarters, considering the established business practices of each and ensuring you have a standardized template.
A common requirement in the process of an ERP rollout is having user from one subsidiary having to cross multiple systems across different branches of the organization. The last thing you need (among other complications) is for these users not to have the authorization they need. This is where centralized user creation comes in, so access to various systems is not impeded in any way.
The next step is to make sure all data is collected, analyzed, and reported correctly, from the different branches of your organization. An additional aspect to keep in mind is figuring out how to best integrate subsidiary data collection, such that it is processed into the master data archive without compromising any of its metrics. This can have a direct impact on intercompany reporting, impacting your ability to analyze how subsidiaries are performing, not to mention how the rollout process is impacting that performance.
Practical Tips and Insights You’ll Love!
The rollout process can vary, depending on your organization’s requirements. What every manager wants (under any circumstance really, but more so with ERP and packed app rollouts) is to have steps in place to ensure the process goes smoothly. The aim of the game is to have a structured approach, to ensure implementation goes well. Here are a few steps to follow:
- Define your objectives – Figure out what you are aiming for with this rollout and establish the scope of the implementation. Start by deciding which features will be deployed first, making sure to prioritize critical business functions.
- Conduct a readiness assessment – Assess your organization’s readiness for the rollout, by evaluating existing infrastructure and its compatibility with the new system. And – this is key – find any gaps that require improvement prior to implementation.
- Create a project plan – Create a project plan outlining the timelines, resource requirements, and responsibilities for each phase of the rollout.
- Data migration and integration – A strategy for migrating and integrating data from existing systems into the new ERP or packaged application. And of course, test the migration process to ensure data integrity and accuracy.
- Customization and configuration – Establish the level of customization and configuration needed to get the new system on board with your organization’s needs. This means finding any and all potential impacts on system performance, scalability, and future upgrades.
- User training and change management – Create a detailed training program to introduce users to the new system and make sure to give them hands-on training, user manuals, and online resources.
- Pilot testing – Begin by pilot testing with a group of users to uncover any potential issues and get feedback. You can then use this feedback to make adjustments before completing the rollout.
- Go-Live – Put it all into action! Have open communication channels in place throughout so you can monitor the system for any issues and provide support.
- Post-implementation optimization – This is where evaluating the system’s performance is key. Get user feedback and align with business objectives after the initial rollout to identify areas for optimization.
- Ongoing support – Have in place a support mechanism to handle user queries, troubleshoot issues, and provide ongoing system maintenance. It is important to have a strong relationship with the ERP manager at this point for support, updates, and collaboration.
What Panaya’s Test Dynamix Platform can do for you
There are many ways to handle a rollout. But what really helps is having an AI-enhanced testing platform for ERP and enterprise cloud applications. That is precisely what we offer. It combines cross-functional business process testing with smart change analysis, which brings down your test cycles by 85%.
There are several advantages:
One platform – You can orchestrate and streamline all test management activities one unified platform.
Zero risk – Eliminate risk with our AI-powered Change Analysis to know exactly what to test, and equally important what not to test, without compromising on quality.
Test Automation – Accelerate your testing process and save resources with our no-code test automation
Business centric – Boost UAT by mirroring end-to-end scenarios in a collaborative testing workflow.
Simply SaaS – Deploy in minutes and onboard in hours!
Actionable insights – Get real-time visibility and smart insights so you can make informed decisions
Looking for more? Do the smart thing!
There is a lot that goes into ERP and cloud business app rollouts – there is a lot to consider and worry about. And no manager in any sizable organization will approach the project lightly. But even with everything that you have to consider before, during and after the process, we can make it simpler for you. Want to learn more? Check out our eBook: Smart Testing for Every Use Case or book a demo today.