User Acceptance Testing (UAT)

4 min read

by Sue Armitage on 12th October 2022

How UAT puts the great in your integration strategy

Hands up who’s had integrations on their minds this year? As cloud ERP becomes more mainstream, and the number of essential applications that your business users rely on to get their jobs done grows, third-party integrations are rising up the agenda.

Since the world of integrations can often be a bit of a tangled web, for the sake of clarity here we’re referring to any software that allows your core systems such as ERP to talk to other software applications. Those applications may be third-party apps providing specialist functionality for your business users, or they may be your customer-facing applications; whatever they are, the integration enables the passing of data between those systems. The integration may have been pre-built by your ERP provider, be provided through a third party such as Zapier, or hand-written by your own IT team.

An integration strategy is vital for any business – and in that strategy, it’s vital that user acceptance testing (UAT) is taken into account. If it isn’t, you may find yourself in hot water.

Why does UAT matter?

UAT is a vital part of the software development lifecycle, ensuring that new or updated software can still be used effectively by users to get their jobs done. Your organization already does UAT – and, as we’ve discussed in other blogs, it’s going to have to do a lot more UAT very soon. Organizations are having to test more software updates than ever before thanks to the migration of various core systems to the cloud – and with every new integration that your organization implements, the volume of updates you have to test grows. After all, every update has the potential to change how an app works – and how it works with other apps. Something in app A might change and have a massive effect on app B; if you don’t test them you won’t know until the update goes live and, potentially, the business falls over.

The problem is, the way UAT gets done in companies means that this tsunami of updates is very worrying. Current processes don’t scale efficiently, meaning that if the volume of testing you need to do doubles, so will the time it takes to do it. And because UAT is currently managed mainly through spreadsheets, emails, and screenshots, more testing increases the chances of tests not being administered properly, or feedback getting lost in the noise and not acted on before the update goes live.

In short: unless something changes, and changes fast, your integration strategy is at real risk of derailing the business as your UAT processes buckle under the pressure and business-breaking bugs start creeping into your live environment.

How do you fix UAT?

The simple answer is that you need a way to make UAT scale to handle increased testing volumes faster and more efficiently. But how do you do that?

  • Stop using spreadsheets to control the process. They are static, prone to version control issues, and can be difficult to manage.
  • Stop relying on email threads to manage the distribution of tests and the gathering of feedback. Find a system that doesn’t require you to manually collect feedback and so remove the risk of missing some.
  • Find a way to standardize the feedback you receive so that it’s clear and actionable. You’ll save both your time and business users’ time as you won’t have to go back and ask them for clarification.

Thinking about your integrations specifically, it’s important to find a UAT solution that lets you conduct tests across multiple applications. After all, the point of integrations is that they allow different systems to talk to each other; almost any process you could test through UAT will need to span multiple applications. Without this capability, it will be very difficult to effectively test your integrations and ensure that your business can continue to operate as normal.

It’s important to find a UAT solution that lets you conduct tests across multiple applications.

Discover Original Software

As you no doubt have realized, what I’m saying in this blog is that you need a purpose-built UAT solution to make your UAT processes fit for purpose. Using a platform will give you more control over how you create, administer, and manage your UAT, as well as gathering, triaging, and acting on feedback.

If you can make your UAT scalable like this, then you’ll unlock a host of benefits. First, you’ll be able to continue pursuing your integration strategy, confident that you can adequately test all updates that come your way and keep your business processes working smoothly. Beyond this, you’ll likely find that testing cycles are greatly sped up, take up much less of your business users’ time, and you’ll also find that you’re able to handle the increase in software updates you need to test as a result of your cloudification plans, too.

So, if you’d like to learn more about how you can improve UAT and keep integrations from inte-grating on you (see what we did there?) then click below to visit our landing page.

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