ERP Integration Testing Best Practices

Our Best Practices Approach

Over the years, All Star has used, evaluated and developed a variety of mechanisms for testing new systems and upgrading of existing solutions.

When I managed the QA group for Westbrook Technologies (manufacturer of content management and workflow – Fortis, File Magic, PowerWeb, Inflo), we would certify environments that included various combinations of Operating Systems, Database Platforms, Database Drivers, Client Operating Systems and Browser Versions.   As a manufacturer, we were expected to maintain and up to date certification list and be aware of any changes – right down to the patch level.

We tried this technique ten years ago at All Star when integrating with customer systems like EIS and ERP.   The problem we quickly ran into was that our base install of the client solution was vastly different than what the customer was running.   There was no practical way to configure exactly what the customer was using – i.e. Database platform, drivers, TNS names, server OS,  network protocols, virus protection,  etc.   Similarly, the ERP system which sat on this platform, also had customization’s, security differences, form differences and patch levels that were impossible to replicate.  Additionally, with hundreds of customers running a variety of integration solutions that we have implemented using Kofax, KTM, OnBase, Palette, Oracle I/PM or WebCetner Imaging, etc. it is simply not feasible to configure a “sandbox” for each one of them.

For this reason, we standardized on building a DEV system in the customers environment that matches (ideally identically) their production system.   In this way we can ensure the elements listed above and also security, port configuration, policies, ERP version and patch levels do not become a hindrance to the solution build.  The other advantage is the customer can move the data on their own from production to a test environment seamlessly to test or recreate specific scenarios that may occur in production.

This allows us to spend more time building the solution and testing it rather than trying to duplicate a “sandbox” environment in our own facility.   As a best practice this is now common place in all of our customer environments and has led to faster roll outs and improved quality when it comes to diagnosing problems and rolling out patches and fixes.

In the end, due to the variety of ERP solutions, back-end databases, specific policies and security each customer has – we believe this is simply a “Best Practice” for how to best install, configure, support and upgrade our clients.

 

Published By: Paul Pitts
All Star Software Systems, LLC

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