User Acceptance Testing (UAT)

5 min read

by Sue Armitage on 14th November 2022

You know your UAT sucks


Here’s what you can do about it.

Not every IT leader is familiar with the intricacies of their organization’s testing procedures. But then again, you’re not every IT leader. Because you understand the importance of testing the software that your organization relies upon, you’ve taken it upon yourself to know exactly how it works and what happens.

This is probably why, when you think of your user acceptance testing, your shoulders slump a little bit. In this blog, we’ll help you turn your frown upside-down by talking about how UAT, the vital-but-often-terrible test process, can be transformed to actually work for your business.

Make no mistake – bad UAT can kill your business.

Bad UAT isn’t just a frustration – it’s a risk. It can impact your business in multiple ways:

  • It takes up more of your business users’ time than it should, frustrating them and impeding the running of the business.
  • Bugs and issues can make it through to your production environment if testing processes aren’t robust and things get missed.
  • It can delay the rolling out of updates to your business if slow processes mean that updates can’t get tested fast enough.

That last point can, if it’s serious enough, bring your business to an absolute halt as people are suddenly unable to do their jobs. It’s happened before, costing organizations millions in lost revenue and even opening them up to lawsuits from angry shareholders. 

Don’t worry; we’re getting to the good news! 

What’s the root cause?

The core problem with existing UAT processes is that they are manual and poorly controlled. Every test needs to be manually administered to a business user, and the results need to be manually gathered, collated, triaged, and acted on. Most organizations will keep track of this process through spreadsheets, use emails to transmit information between IT and business users and use screenshots to capture feedback. Five years ago, when updates to key applications were few and far between, these inefficiencies didn’t cause enough of a problem to be worth solving.

But the situation is changing. The move to cloud applications means that organizations now don’t get to choose which updates they take to their software – the vendor is in charge, and those updates come quarterly or even monthly. As third-party integrations also increase in popularity, the volume of updates to test grows exponentially – after all, those integrations all need testing, and an update in application A may affect something critical in applications B, D, or Q.

Existing UAT processes simply can’t scale up to meet demand. The more updates that need testing, the more cracks start to show. The risk of tests not being administered, feedback not being received, or feedback not being acted on grow exponentially, and the time that business users are expected to devote to testing grows at much the same rate. Eventually, either the whole thing slows down, or – as pressure to deliver updates to the business grows – corners start getting cut.

The rise of third-party integrations also often means that there’s a rapidly growing need to test processes that span multiple applications – which increases the complexity of how tests are created, conducted, and fed back on. That complexity compounds the issues we’ve already highlighted.

Feedback is also a specific problem area. Because of the way tests are administered and conducted – and because of the growing complexity of tests across multiple applications – it’s very common for business users to give feedback that’s confusing or meaningless to those who need to act on the changes. That can result in IT having to go back to business users to query their feedback, taking more of their time and further delaying the process. Or, of course, it results in feedback not getting actioned properly because it wasn’t properly given by the business user or interpreted by the testing team.

Thankfully, all these issues can be solved with relative ease simply by addressing the root cause of the problem – that UAT is manual and poorly controlled.

Tackling UAT with a dedicated solution makes it scalable, so that no matter how many updates are coming down the line, your team can get them tested and released to the business on time…

What’s the solution?

To make UAT fit for the modern organization, you need to get UAT management out of spreadsheets and into a solution that’s built specifically for the job.

Instead of manually sending tests to each business user (and so risking missing someone), automate the distribution of tests. A UAT solution that’s built for the job will also make it easier for business users to take the tests, even if those tests spans multiple applications, by simply letting the user get on with the test and recording what happens in the background.

A crucial part of any solution you implement has to be a dedicated workflow for giving feedback that’s easy for business users to understand – and that doesn’t let them leave vague or confusing feedback. If you can get this right, then feedback is automatically standardized and easy to triage.

Finally, such a solution should include a management layer that shows you, at a glance, what every test is up to. If it can integrate with your development teams too, so much the better – that way, you can see everything from the administering of a test to the fixing of a bug – and know that nothing has slipped through the cracks.

Because various manual tasks are automated, and the test process itself is streamlined, tackling UAT with a dedicated solution makes it scalable so that no matter how many updates are coming down the line, your team can get them tested and released to the business on time, and confident that they won’t break the business.

Ready to learn more?

It’ll come as no surprise that we offer a UAT solution to organizations that know they could be doing UAT better, but lack the tools in-house to make it happen. Our solution works with all major ERP systems, including Infor, SAP, and IBMi, and will even work with custom-built systems. Essentially, if it’s a part of running your business, we can help you test it. And, just like we’ve described above, our solution takes all the manual elements and complexity out of running UAT while still delivering robust testing even as the volume of software updates to test grows.

If you’d like to learn more about how we can help you fix your UAT, just click below to visit our landing page.

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