Key Image credit pixabay/qimonoOpkey has announced the release of its third annual State of ERP testing report (registration required). Oddly, the report comes only six months after it published the second annual State of ERP Testing report. CEO Pankaj Goel offers his thoughts about the research that was based on a survey of 500 IT and business leaders in a blog.

Pankaj Goel, CEO of Opkey
Pankaj Goel, CEO of Opkey

Goel noted, “We are seeing buying cycles get longer, with leadership teams demanding proven ROI and more extensive POC before signing off on new purchasing decisions. 73% of respondents agreed that ‘ease and speed of onboarding are a top priority when evaluating and/or purchasing a new testing tool.’”

The report is 26 pages in length and contains a mix of data visualisations and supporting text with some additional analysis and comments around the five trends the study identified. There is also a welcome addition of quotes from business leaders, bringing further insights to the paper. However, there does not appear to have been a qualitative element to the survey.

The report highlights three new trends and two ongoing trends for 2024. The report is broken down by these trends, with each of the five sections providing the data points to evidence the trend identified and some commentary.

  • Speed is paramount. People want ERP testing implemented faster.
  • Industry-specific ERPs are growing, as is the need for industry-specific testing solutions.
  • It’s still a SaaS Mess. Effective end-to-end testing is the solution.
  • The shift from manual testing to automation continues.
  • AI: Where is it taking us, and what’s the impact on testing?

Some key findings

It is no surprise that organisations want ERP implementations to happen swiftly, with vendors promising accelerated implementations. While nearly three-quarters of respondents want their testing tool to deliver value quickly, there are delays in purchasing. It seems the pressure on implementation times is, to an extent, brought about by a longer purchasing cycle, with the authors citing a Vendr report that says SaaS buying cycles have increased 37% for net new purchases.

The ERP world is going industry-specific, which is good news for organisations like Infor, whose strategy is built on industry specific ERP applications. The authors also cite Oracle Health for Healthcare, Oracle NetSuite for Retail, Epicor ERP for distribution and SYSpro for Food and Beverage. There are possibly better examples.

However, the industry-specific ERPs also increase the importance of industry-specific compliance requirements, with 84% of respondents considering them important. It means that testing applications such as Opkey must be able to cope with such requirements as HIPAA.

The requirements for testing are growing; 68% of respondents have more SaaS products to test than last year. To address this, 42% plan to implement an end-to-end testing solution. It makes sense; having more than one testing solution merely adds to the workload. Opkey offers testing capabilities across a broad range of applications and industries to meet this need.

The report also looks at trends highlighted in the second annual report. Looking at how automation is impacting the industry, it highlights ten reasons why automation is increasing in popularity. For someone, writing a business case for a testing solution, this could be valuable information.

The final trend is the ongoing emergence of AI. Like other solutions, AI is impacting testing solutions, bringing a mix of capabilities to help organisations with their testing. Despite this, only 8% believe they have increased investment in AI-based technology over the last year. It is unclear whether this is related to test software or, more generally. One suspects that in 2024, that will accelerate, though it may depend on whether vendors embed AI without additional costs.

The report finishes by highlighting five areas where AI can power testing.

  • Test case generation
  • Test execution
  • Test maintenance
  • Defect prediction
  • Regression testing

These are all areas where Opkey can help organisations. The report could have gone further and perhaps highlighted areas that AI does not yet support but might do in the future. AI is a gamechanger for many software industries, and it could accelerate the expansion of testing into a market such as business process mining. Testing identifies what works, but it could be a small step to identify what works better.

Enterprise Times: What does this mean

It is unclear why Opkey decided to publish its 3rd report only six months after the last one. Will the report come out again in July, or will they wait until 2025. There are some interesting findings in this report, but besides the reasons for using automation, there is little for the reader to take out. The report could have been further improved with some questions in each section for the reader to ponder about their testing processes. For example, how many testing solutions are in use by your organisation, where is the overlap, and will another end-to-end testing solution reduce the number required?


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