Why Should I Test My CRM Application?
Testing is the process of exercising software to verify that it satisfies specified requirements and to detect errors. CRM application testers look at two broad areas: functionality and performance.
Posted Feb 16, 2004
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CRM implementations reveal that the quality of testing during a project plays a major role in the overall success of CRM initiatives. Comprehensive testing, conducted by a professional and independent body, is a critical component in the success of a CRM project. Since CRM systems can be a mission critical component of a business that directly manages an organization's sales, marketing, and customer service functions, a failed implementation can cause loss of trust, a tarnished reputation, and increased financial costs due to downtime and rising costs of rollout. Leading CRM applications are installed at thousands of locations. Aren't they tested by the manufacturer? There is a major difference between the delivery test that is done by the development company and the acceptance test that the testing company performs at the client site. In general, the delivery test is performed to ensure that the delivered application contains no basic bugs, and that it is working properly. Conversely, acceptance testing is designed to ensure that the application is well integrated with the customer's other applications/systems and fully fulfilled the customer needs and demands. During acceptance testing the actual customer end-to-end business processes are simulated in the process level, not the module level. What is meant by testing a CRM application and what do you look for? Testing is the process of exercising software to verify that it satisfies specified requirements and to detect errors. With regard to CRM applications, expect testers to look at two broad areas: functionality and performance. Functionality testing determines if an application functions properly. Examples include testing interfaces with legacy systems to ensure that the data that is migrated and is populated in the correct fields, and testing the security of user permissions to make sure that a client doesn't have administrator rights. Performance testing determines how the system will react under a certain load or stress. This type of testing measures the effects of many users on the systems performance. Examples include software response times, network server utilization, and bandwidth issues associated with heavy usages during peak hours. How can testing reduce my implementation costs? Failed or stalled implementations cost clients time, reputation, and money. By initiating testing at the start of the implementation cycle, defects can be caught early, and when it is least expensive to make a change. As an implementation progresses the costs associated correcting an error also increase. A thorough testing process reduces the amount of rework and thus shortens the time to implement--reducing overall costs. The vendor that is installing the systems told me they test it. Why do I need to bring in a testing company? There are two major reasons for using a testing company for the project, independence and testing experience. An independent company will act on the buyer's behalf to ensure that the product works to the buyer's satisfaction and not just to the satisfaction of the company that sold the product. The objectivity of an independent company is not clouded by politics, profit margins, and personnel of the integration company. Experience in testing is a vital component of a proper test. While a CRM integrator may have experience in implementing hundreds of systems their primary forte is not testing. A testing company understands the correct amount of coverage and the best methodologies to use in differing environments, and focuses solely on testing and defect reporting. How should I choose a testing company and what should I budget for the process? A testing company should be independent and have extensive experience in testing CRM systems. It should have the ability to perform functional and performance tests, and have the necessary automated tool partnerships to perform the tests. Like any good relationship there should be a level of trust between the two so the client can feel comfortable with the results of the tests and be able to act on the information provided. Budget issues vary, but a good rule of thumb is to spend 10 to 15 percent of the cost of a CRM implementation on testing.
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