BEAM Test – Automated Testing for PeopleSoft Applications
BEAM Test is a Record and Playback tool specifically built to help experienced PeopleSoft users, analysts, and developers automate the testing of PeopleSoft. PeopleSoft transactions are recorded and then played back after changes are made to the application, to ensure that the application still produces the expected results.
Manually testing changes to PeopleSoft applications is almost always the most time-consuming part of updating and managing PeopleSoft applications. And for customers moving to or running release 9.2, the need is for more frequent testing.
Automating testing for 9.2 versions is more practical than with previous releases. Because the 9.2 applications are updated, and not upgraded, the underlying data and data structures of PeopleSoft applications remain stable, eliminating most on-going script maintenance. Tests recorded last longer, and are run more frequently, so it makes more sense than ever to automate a set of standard tests which can be run each time there are changes to the application.
In addition to quickly testing updates from 9.2 images, BEAM Test can also run the same "test bed" of scripts when other maintenance is required, such as PeopleTools or database upgrades.
In addition to saving time – customers report a savings of 70-80% in resources – automated test scripts add standards, metrics, and visibility to test efforts.
Scripts can be added over time, continually improving test coverage, depth, and data variations and scenarios. Automating testing is a key practice to utilizing the Selective Adoption feature of PeopleSoft Update Manager (PUM).
So, why are you still testing PeopleSoft manually?
a.) It's fun!
b.) It's a habit.
c.) It's an efficient use of resources.
d.) It's very ad hoc.
e.) Haven't found a tool that helps.
BEAM Test is the only third-party testing tool for PeopleSoft that is an Oracle Validated application.
Beacon’s BEAM Test enables organizations to dramatically lower the cost, effort, and time needed for testing changes and updates to PeopleSoft applications. And with Selective Adoption in PeopleSoft 9.2, automating testing is more practical, and more effective than in the past.
More practical, because their are no more application upgrades. Previously, upgrade scripts physically moved and converted application data, a complete change to the underlying data and data structures. These changes invalidated automated test scripts, requiring maintenance. And because each upgrade changed the data and data structures, it was "too hard" to maintain testing scripts, as they would need to be maintained for each release.
Update Manager in 9.2 doesn't involve scripts or data structure changes. Each PeopleSoft Image adds a few features and fixes bugs, but doesn't otherwise change the data or the data structures. With BEAM Test, this means test scripts can be re-used, image after image, without maintenance. As you add new features you can add a couple of new test scripts, if you chose.
More effective, because while PeopleSoft applications and PeopleTools remain remarkably dynamic, based on the records and PeopleCode, the underlying 9.2 data structures have remained static. Not only does the value of automated tests increase because they no longer need maintenance (for each new release), but the automated tests are run much more frequently, as new images are released.
Greater breadth and depth of testing is achieved through automating test scripts, and repeatable consistent testing, across environments, leads to more predicable release cycles of higher quality and reliability.
BEAM Test creates environment-independent test scripts, and has understanding of and integration with PeopleSoft metadata, which eases test script development and maintenance.
BEAM Test stores your test scripts separate from your test data. BEAM Data files, updated from MS Excel, lets you change or vary the test data by simply selecting a different spreadsheet. Each row in the spreadsheet is run as a test, looping through the test script until all rows are processed.
Running the same scripts in Business Process Mode creates test and training documents in MS Word, showing each step and input of the test script, for users, auditors, and developers to refer to without having to "read" the actual script.
In addition, because we separate our test data from our test scripts, BEAM Test can load transactions, into PeopleSoft environments, providing high-volume maintenance capabilities. This Data Load feature is a popular use for BEAM Test.
PeopleSoft applications are constantly changing. These changes need to be tested to assure that the system still performs as expected. With manual testing, the introduction of these changes – new data, objects, and processes – require intense levels of effort and cost.
- Testing is often ad hoc, performed in selected environments, by various people, often manually
- Testing is often as good as the tester (“It’s looks good to me”)
- Data – whether configuration or transaction – is often assumed to be correct (There is no verification process before testing)
- Code changes from Oracle still need validation (bugs)
- Process is not repeatable
- Process has no measurements/metrics
BEAM Test has three main features necessary for successful, scalable automated PeopleSoft application testing.
- Integration with PeopleSoft metadata (eases script development and maintenance)
- Environment independence (Record once, play anywhere)
- Data source independence (Data external to script and environment)
A testing tool may store its scripts and data independently of your test environments, but not be integrated with PeopleTools, or it may be well integrated with PeopleSoft but require scripts and/or data to be migrated to the testing environment(s).
We Can Help
Beacon is an Oracle Platinum Partner, and has been a PeopleSoft partner since 1993, when we became one of PeopleSoft's original 13 Partners. We have implemented and upgraded hundreds and hundreds of PeopleSoft applications. And tested them. We can offer training, planning, sample scripts, and, if you chose, we can build or help you build your test scripts.
Training. Beacon offers a one week training class, on site, using your data and systems. The class is a modular (8-part) instructor-led class. BEAM Test customers can reuse the training materials (train the trainer), or Beacon can run the class more than once for large organizations.
Test Planning and Test Strategy. Beacon also has developed a one week Test Strategy and Test Plan Workshop. Our consulting practice has been developing and delivering PeopleSoft test plans for nearly 25 years. We provide a Test Strategy and Test Plan template to BEAM Test customers, and this optional one week workshop allows us to work with you and your team to build out a detailed and comprehensive test plan, by pillar, to meet your organizations' specific requirements.
Scripts. Beacon also provides a broad set of FSCM and HCM sample scripts. Approximately 300 scripts for each pillar are provided – proven, tested and 9.2 specific test scripts – to BEAM Test customers. These documented test scripts can be used to supplement your existing tests, and are organized by module, to help customers jump start and organize script development. Each script has navigation to, and the business process for, testing PeopleSoft transactions and configurations.
Consulting. If you'd like, we can work with you (or for you) to build your test scripts. Six to eight weeks is usually long enough to build a customer-specific set of test bed scripts for a PeopleSoft pillar.
BEAM Test For Selective Adoption
It is so much quicker (and easier) to apply new PeopleSoft Images when you already have a suite of tests to run. Whether you are running quarterly tax updates, Campus updates, or simply patching an issue in Financials, you can validate quickly that the updated application still produces all its expected results. Reduce your test time (and manual efforts) by up to 80%.
Then spin up and apply another update. Rerun your tests. Repeat as necessary.
With Selective Adoption, you can run more tests, and run them more often. But since PeopleSoft no longer upgrades the application, the updates are smaller – smaller than an upgrade – and run in the context of a stable application data structure. Automation provides consistent, standard, and comprehensive testing and test cases. And it eliminates most of the manual (and expensive and time consuming) testing you need to perform when updating your applications.
So, why are you still testing your PeopleSoft applications manually?