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User-Acceptance Testing (UAT) is often seen as less important than system development during the implementation and/or integration of new systems such as an ERP or a WMS. Yet, it is just as crucial to an implementation’s success.
It’s important to have a plan towards conducting UAT early in the implementation project. Doing so can shorten a project’s timeline, help end-users through the cultural changes brought about by the new solution, and improve Go-Live performance – all of which lead to better returns on value.
In general, it is better for clients to execute and manage UAT themselves. This should occur right after a super-user has been trained by LIDD Consultants ¬or the integrating partner.
A super-user is a member of the client’s organisation who is trained by the integrating partner to use and configure the new system. One of the key objectives in training a super-user is to ensure that there is an internal resource to help the company solve problems should they arise in the future, thereby empowering the client’s organisation.
As leading members of the client’s organisation, super-users send a strong signal to future users within the company. Their knowledge of the solution and capacity to leverage its capabilities are a clear sign that the organisation’s leadership endorses the solution.
Hence, not only do super-users facilitate the process of implementation, but they also show through example that the system is an efficient solution to support the company’s operations. Ultimately, this helps prevent end-users being discouraged as they strive to adopt a solution that, in the early moments, may not be perfect.
User-Acceptance Testing (UAT)
Once a super-user has been trained and the system’s core functionalities are ready to be used, end-users should begin testing the solution. With guidance from super-users and LIDD’s Technology Experts, end-users test the ERP’s or WMS’s features against the reality of their daily operations.
Obviously, the main objective is to help end-users be ready to use the system when it goes live. But UAT also achieves other objectives.
One is to help employees through what may be a significant cultural change. UAT enables them to see that, although the implemented system changes some processes, the solution’s design is nevertheless a good match with their normal activities and improves efficiency.
Another objective behind UAT is to reveal and fix bugs that had hitherto not been identified. Doing so well before Go-Live improves the likeliness that the new system will yield optimal results right from the moment it is launched.
Read more about testing your new hardware here.
UAT also enables a strong feedback loop. As end-users test the solution, they will often make comments and share their impressions of the system with LIDD’s Technology Experts. LIDD can then adjust system functionalities before the launch and thus achieve a better integration of the solution with the processes it supports.
UAT & Mock Go-Lives
Whenever possible, it is a good idea to perform a mock Go-Live. A mock Go-Live simulates the company’s daily operations by running simultaneously all the newly implemented functionalities, from receiving to shipping, to assess their performance.
Doing so enables LIDD’s Technology Experts and the client’s teams to test server performance, validate software integration, reveal hidden issues, and answer the users’ remaining questions.
In a Nutshell
Having and executing a rigorous testing plan before Go-Live greatly improves the new system’s capacity to impact your operation’s efficiency from day one. It helps avoid unwanted surprises during launch and ensures that the solution will be finely tailored to meet the operation’s requirements.
Another key advantage is that it promotes user-acceptance, which is fundamental to the solution’s success in your organisation. Guided testing alleviates some of the stress users might be experiencing from cultural changes brought about by a new ERP system or WMS.
That is why you should always prefer an implementation plan that includes, early in the project, the training of super-users and structured user-acceptance testing.