Testing is everyone’s responsibility
At Ardento, as part of the early stages of any ERP system implementation we always emphasize the importance of involving staff members in the implementation process. We also highlight how much pressure the implementation puts on the company employees as they have their normal workload as well as testing processes to deal with.
Until a company goes through the process of implementing a new ERP system they often don’t realise how it impacts their employees from day one of the journey. Everyone in the business is impacted by this system change, whether it be from inputting an annual leave request to working with the system eight hours a day.
Therefore getting as many employees into the new ERP test system and testing their processes will take the pressure off the project and make the system change less strenuous.
Its easy to put forward excuses as to why employees don’t have time to test the system, end of month, Covid, staff shortages etc. Some of these excuses, while valid, do not do anything but hinder the implementation process.
It comes down to one simple fact. You cannot outsource the success of your software implementation.
Create space for testing
To help your implementation run smoother you need to allow your staff time in their working week to test their new systems processes. Consider scheduling resources ahead of time to allow your team at least 2 hours each week during the implementation stage to test their requirements and processes in the new system. Encourage your team members to support each other throughout the testing process and let them create space in their work day for this important activity.
The more testing and time spent with the new system before it goes live will help your team become comfortable with the new software and reduce go live stress.
By allowing employees to test during the implementation it provides them with an opportunity to ask questions in regards to certain processes they are responsible for. Employees often raise questions about processes which were not raised during the scoping phase and this is valuable to know prior to taking to the system live.
Unknowns or ‘gotchyas’ are the enemy of software implementations so exposing these ahead of time is critical.
Testing is training
As part of your implementation you will likely be provided training from your systems integrator or consulting partner, such as Ardento.
While these structured training session are important nothing beats getting hands on with the system yourself. We all have good intentions when participating in training, but the reality is only a portion of the content is absorbed and retained.
Comprehensive testing can also be an invaluable training tool. It allows staff the opportunity to work through their system processes in their own time and form their own understand of how the new system behaves. There are often multiple ways to process transactions and through the testing process, it allows staff to discover which way suits them and allows them to look at ways to make their processes more efficient.
An important component of any successful system implementation is leadership. Leadership comes in many shapes and forms, it maybe in the form of c-suite or executive leadership but it also may come from within the user base itself, in the form of ‘system champions’.
Whomever is taking on the leadership role during the implementation they should also be involved in the testing process, even just to share and hear the feedback from the staff completing the testing. Conversely, the implementation leaders should not ‘gatekeep’ or prevent end users from spending time with the system, they should encourage testing and system ownership. Sharing the burden of testing amongst the entire team, reduces risk and overall resource drain.
The opportunity for testing should be embraced and supported as early as possible in the implementation process, there is no such thing as ‘too much testing’ and no business will ever regret spending then time experimenting and testing their new system before they rely on it for critical business operations.