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Your test environment sucks. Make test environments great again.

by Mark Polino
Director of Client Services, Fastpath, Integrated Business Group

Test ERP environments get no respect and that's a problem. I can't tell you the number of test environments I've seen that are painfully slow, poorly configured, and rarely used. Test environments are usually managed by IT and often simply don't get enough resources in terms of memory and processors. That perpetuates the cycle. Slow machines are rarely used and rarely used machines get fewer resources. Fortunately test environments now typically use virtual machines so adding resources is an easy task.

Cloud environments like Azure can make great options for test environments, even if the primary system isn't in the cloud. For hosted ERP solutions, many, if not most, cloud environments offer test systems as part of their package.

Poorly configured test environments waste resources and opportunities. Why should companies spend the time and energy to make their test environment great again?

  • A good test environment provides a more realistic experience for users, which can lead to improved user acceptance. Slow test systems can sour users on new processes.
  • A good test environment makes it easy for users to play with new features. This helps avoid testing in production and the inherent risks that come with that. If it's hard to get to test, production may be at risk.
  • Test environments are great for training. It's dangerous to show new users how to process transactions in production. Let them do a few test transactions in the test environment first. Of course, training for a large group of users requires an even more robust test environment.
  • Test environments are a secret weapon in disaster recovery. There are two pieces to this:
    • Creating a test environment from a production backup validates that the backup ...

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About Mark Polino

Mark Polino is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and a former Microsoft MVP (2007-2018) for Business Solutions. He is the author or coauthor of 5 books related to Microsoft Dynamics GP.  Mark also maintains the Dynamics GP focused website He speaks and writes regularly about ERP related topics. Mark has been a controller and CFO for a division of a publicly traded company and he has  worked as a consultant implementing ERP solutions. Mark holds additional certifications including Certified Information Technology Professional (CITP), Certified in Financial Forensics (CFF) , Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA). Dynamics Credentialed Professional for Dynamics GP 2015 (Core Install and Core Financials), Xero Certified. He holds a bachelor's degree in accounting from the University of Central Florida and an MBA from Rollins College. Mark lives with his family in Florida.

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