Why supply chain managers should consider cloud-based UAT
Memo to SCM pros: It’s no longer your father’s Supply Chain Management. Yesterday’s SCM paradigm of small teams working in the same location, with long waits between releases, is obsolete. Today’s agile SCM world must work with constant release cycles, multinational test users working in different languages and time zones, unpredictable market conditions, and many more touch points. To keep SCM processes responsive, frequent change has become the norm - and efficient, timely User Acceptance Testing (UAT) the key to user buy-in and adoption of these changes.
So where does this put traditional, onsite, Excel-based, manual UAT? Frankly, when compared to sophisticated yet easy-to-use cloud-based solutions, in history’s dustbin. Here are four reasons why, in the face of rapid change, cloud-based UAT enables change while the traditional version actually impedes it.
1 Skill-deficient testers vs smart UAT
It takes real professional testing skills to not only carry out testing in the course of system changes, but also to know what should be tested in the first place. But in traditional UAT paradigms, testing prioritization, decision making, and legwork are often left to company employees. Now, they may be experts in their own fields and knowledgeable in the businesses processes involved, but they remain users, not testing professionals. Errors could go unnoticed, or detected too late in the testing process.
On the other hand, cloud-based UAT brings simplicity, quality, and agility to all ERP changes. It delivers smart impact analysis, determining or excluding possible errors to ensure that changes to the SCM system can be implemented.
2 Outdated testing scenarios vs constant relevance
Putting testing of system changes in employees’ hands, as traditional UAT does, poses a very real danger when these employees leave the company. UAT test scripts and libraries that have to be manually adapted during functionality changes won’t be - resulting in inaccurate testing scenarios that waste time and cause downtime.
Cloud-based UAT works even when no test script or test library expert is available. This means that SCM applications can always remain up to date and relevant. At the same time, the test center provides control and transparency - keeping responsible employees constantly informed about test scope and status.
3 Employee burden vs better resource usage
Traditional UAT inflicts a burden on company employees responsible for testing. Besides lacking testing expertise, they also have other serious responsibilities and therefore lack the time and capacity to run manual test scenarios regularly and cover all scenarios. Under-motivated or over-burdened testers can seriously impact testing quality, number of tests run, and overall employee performance.
On the other hand, cloud-based UAT frees up resources so employees can increase their focus on core SCM processes. By covering all possible test scenarios (including those that occur regularly), storing all known processes, and continually learning, advanced cloud-based UAT solutions identify potential problems early on and adapt changes accordingly.
4 Hesitancy vs readiness to upgrade
Change to stable systems is always risky. Because SCM is so central to core organizational goals, companies are often reluctant to upgrade. The burdens of traditional UAT, a vital component of any upgrade, compound this hesitancy and increase the risk of “technical debt.” (Technical debts are problems that occur due to software that’s poorly applied on a technical level. This happens when companies don’t install all support packages.) The consequence of technical debts? Everything from unpredictable errors in the SCM system to systemic faults that affect the whole production process.
Meanwhile, SCM professionals who turn to advanced cloud-based UAT tools - with all their advantages - can be confident in embracing and enabling change, rather than complicating it. By replacing outdated and resource-intensive manual UAT with agile cloud-based tools, they can streamline their SCM upgrades while avoiding unplanned downtime and delays in the supply chain.
By Rafi Kretchmer, VP of Marketing, Panaya
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