Implementing business applications - Testing is the name of the game!

Best Practice implementations of business applications highly focus on testing. Testing takes place in numerous cycles with increasing complexity. Testing depends on numerous other aspects of the implementation such as the development, such as data migration and the level of know-how. Successful test managers focus on the three Best Practices described in this article.
Introduction
Implementing and using applications is a necessity in todays business world. The applications enable business processes, create efficiency, reliability, and transparency. The integrated applications enable employees, departments, functions, sites, customers, suppliers, and management to communicate and have one source of the truth concerning the business. Implementing applications is expensive and there is no guarantee for success.
2BCS AG facilitates implementation success. In this article we highlight 3 Testing best practices.

Contents
Testing during application implementation has three positive effects – 1) software bugs and mistakes in the software settings are found 2) the testers gain valuable experience in using the system under different circumstances and 3) data that is entered or migrated can be checked and corrected. The mode of testing has changed. Testing has become an ongoing activity during implementation. Very often 4-10 testing cycles are carried out before the results are satisfactory. The complexity and the scope increase with every cycle. In the first cycle most companies start with basic functions and manually entered data. They increase the scope and complexity by including functionality, interfaces, prints, and reports and by doing the testing on migrated data. The last cycles are usually End-to-End tests where the integration and dependencies between the functions is tested. Each cycle is well planned with a pre-defined scope, use cases and test data. For the PMO the most important steps happen before and after testing. Here the testing preparation is led and after testing the clean-up and the learnings for the project and the next testing must be identified and carried out.

Best Practice
The following three Testing Best Practices should be followed during testing:
  • Preparation
    Testing can only be successful if the preparation is done very carefully. A good testing preparation encompasses defining the cases that should be tested (scope), the creation of test scripts, defining the data that should be used and by ensuring that everything is ready so that the tests can be carried out without disturbances. Organizing the testing (defining who, when, where) is obvious.
    Best Practice 1: Testing preparation usually takes a least 5 times as long as the testing itself.
  • Data
    Having the right data in the test system is one of the biggest obstacles during testing. The data must be available and react in the expected manner. Testing picking functionality demands having articles with stock on hand to pick from. It is important to agree upon master and transactional data that will be used for testing in a very early stage. These data sets (e.g. customers, parts, suppliers, purchase orders, companies) should be listed on an excel sheet and visible to all involved.
    Best Practice 2: Define data sets for testing early on – this will give guidance to the teams creating test cases and to the teams who must prepare the data in the test system.
  • Tool support for testing
    Testing will take place in the future business application. The testers should document the results of the testing in a separate tool. This testing tool should be used to support the whole testing cycle, from preparation, to the testing, documenting the results, managing findings, and creating statistics. Testing usually involves many project participants. We suggest selecting a testing tool that supports numerous simultaneous testers, is easy to use and can handle the whole testing cycle. It is also important that the tool supports reusing test cases and scripts for upcoming test cycle.
    Best Practice 3: Select and use a testing tool to support all steps in the testing cycle.


Who is 2BCS?
2BCS AG is a Swiss leader in business and IT transformation. We support our client’s digital initiatives by providing thought leadership, independent expertise and hands-on implementation support based on dozens of years of experience. Our clients are national and international industrial and trading companies who demand and expect best practice professional support. 2BCS AG is a spin-off of HSG and is based in St. Gallen and Zurich.

About Author

Dr. Martin Brogli
Dr. Martin Brogli founded 2BCS AG. He has been supporting national and international clients as a process and IT consultant since 1995. After studying information management he did his PhD on the digitalization and management of processes at the University of St. Gallen (HSG). Martin is a well-known expert in application strategies, process optimization, evaluations and setting up and running PMOs.