As part of integrating data from various sources into your sales performance management (SPM) system, your organization must conduct tests to confirm all the processes and integrations work correctly. While it’s possible to automate these tests, most businesses perform them manually to ensure all issues are followed up on. If a test fails during the process, the tester is responsible for logging the issue for the project team to resolve.
During Xactly implementation projects organizations typically perform multiple types of tests. The two most important testing approaches used in Xactly projects are System Integration Testing (SIT) and User Acceptance Testing (UAT):
- SIT: During this type of test, administrators perform holistic testing of the entire system’s end-to-end functionality. The test ensures that the SPM system, which may be composed of subsystems and components, processes data accurately when all the pieces of the system are put together. For example, an organization pulls sales data from Salesforce (System 1) into Xactly Connect (System 2). The SIT test ensures that the systems integrate correctly and the data flows as expected. (Learn more about how Xactly Connect helps integrate your data more easily in our recent blog).
- UAT: This test occurs in the last phase of an Xactly implementation project to verify that the system adheres to the customer’s requirements. The purpose of the test is to confirm whether the users can complete the tasks as expected during real-world situations. Throughout UAT, users often fabricate sales data and use the system to test that the calculations of the corresponding plan components meet their expectations. You can create multiple use cases to make sure all the parts of a sales incentive plan, such as tier changes and commission rates, are included.
The Importance of Testing During Xactly Implementation Projects
System configuration often happens in silos—which poses a huge threat to sales organizations. Typically, the technical team manages data integration-related configuration, and the configuration team handles the business rules configuration. After all of the components of the system are put together, it’s important that the SPM system meets all expected requirements.
As the first level of testing, the team runs SIT to find and resolve any data or configuration issues, both major and minor. After these are fixed, the UAT (which makes sure the system works for real-time users) is more likely to run smoothly. While organizations cover the business aspects of the system during the planning phase, UAT ensures nothing is left on the table from the perspective of the system users. Additionally, UAT helps users understand the solution and addresses any issues or changes before deployment.
7 Best Practices for Testing an Xactly Configuration
All Xactly implementation testing practices are not created equal. By working with organizations of all sizes, we have learned seven best practices to help you get the best results out of your SPM platform.
- Use Detailed Functional Requirements Documents: Because the FRD is the source of truth for all implementation-related information, create a very detailed FRD with all possible use cases. Make sure everything you want to be included during the implementation is in the document.
- Complete Prerequisites: Before starting SIT, make sure to finish all system configurations. You should also successfully complete SIT before starting UAT. Any pending issues from SIT can potentially delay UAT. To prevent additional delays, get all data related to SFDC/access before testing begins.
- Plan for Use Cases: Write thorough use cases, including edge cases, to make sure all system actions are working correctly and be specific, including fields to look for, values to get, and users to impersonate. Your tests should also include negative scenarios to make sure the system can handle unexpected issues, such as incorrect data format.
- Have the Correct Resources. Make sure the tech and configuration teams work together and have the available resources needed, such as access to platforms, to continue testing. This allows you to also increase the usability of the testing. For example, the data team can help during the UAT kickoff and as needed during the duration of the test.
- Ensure Visibility and Accountability: By using a centralized tool for logging issues, stakeholders can easily monitor SIT progress. Make sure all problems are clearly assigned to a team member who is responsible for resolving the issue.
- Escalate Issues as Needed: When major issues occur, the management team should proactively include the relevant team members and client representatives to quickly resolve the issue. For example, a consultant may incorrectly understand and implement a change requirement. The client can then clarify the change request, and then the consultant can update the system to run correctly.
- Communicate Proactively: Have weekly (or daily) status calls to keep everyone on the same page with project-related issues and discussions.
UAT and SIT testing are crucial to any implementation project. By taking the time to correctly use these testing processes and resolve all issues, you prevent issues and delays from occurring later in the project, and ultimately make your Xactly implementation more successful.
Intangent is a sales performance management consultancy. We work with sales organizations to plan, implement, and manage their sales performance technology solutions. Our commitment to customer success has led to hundreds of successful incentive compensation, territory management, and quota planning deployments. Intangent is a privately owned company established in 2005 and headquartered in Toronto.
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