Testing and Support of BI-enabled ERP for a Multi-Industry Corporation
Founded over 20 years ago, the Customer runs a nation-wide retail and wholesale chain, operating such diverse businesses as gas stations, gardening centers, roadside cafes and shopping malls.
As their former solution fell short of handling their chain expansion, growth of point-of-sales and complex calculations, the Customer was looking to develop and test a new, enterprise-level ERP system containing both the ERP and BI modules that would enable:
- automated price setting;
- procurement management (tracking the movement of goods and planning of bulk purchases);
- data input automation for their accounting department to the largest extent possible;
- on-demand reporting through a custom-built, integrated business intelligence (BI) module.
The customer was looking for a contractor who could develop this inventory and ledger system keeping old records on the wholesale and retail trade, gas stations, fast food chain and online store. Any changes to the legal regulations regarding finances, inventory and accounting had to be timely incorporated as well.
As ScienceSoft went on to become the Customer’s chosen technological partner, the list of identified challenges grew to include the following to be addressed both by the development and testing teams:
- The operational logic was to be saved while migrating the legacy database to the newly built application;
- New features could only be applied to the application in production, i.e. when it was in operation;
- The application was to retain ongoing data exchange between other enterprise systems and POS devices such as cash registers, price checkers, weigh scales, etc.;
- The application was to be integrated with different types of e-commerce platforms;
- The online store was to be integrated with the ERP module.
To kick off the testing activities, ScienceSoft’s test engineers created:
- a test collection covering all the existing features, which was updated when required;
- new test cases covering all the new features prior to their implementation;
- special test suites for each application module.
Since the application was be updated constantly due to regulatory changes, the testing documentation have been regularly revised and updated accordingly.
Regression testing was carried out each time a new feature was implemented. It was followed by the critical path testing of the entire application.
A database branch was created in production for testing specific features in the real environment. The latest version of the database was used for testing in the staging environment.
All bugs were linked to test-cases, customer requests and tasks sequentially in a tree form. This made it easy even for a newcomer to identify any issue and explore interconnection between features.
Throughout the project that was broken down in 1-2 week iteration periods, the team has been providing application users with current system information, changes and updates. The team also carried out technical support to end users via phone and remote connection.
Critical for the project success was the team’s ability to ‘look at the application with a user's eyes’ in terms of understanding the user roles, machines and devices used to access the system, and users’ behavior, as well as the Customer’s operational processes.
By effectively handling multiple challenges, ScienceSoft’s test engineers contributed to such outcomes as the Customer’s expansion of trade, opening of new chain stores, staff optimization, increased sales efficiency, restructuring of the warehouse stock, and a 4-fold increase in the amount of application users and point of sales.
Technologies and Tools
.NET, Atlassian JIRA, VMWare Workstation, Microsoft SQL 2008R2, Microsoft Analysis Service, Magento.