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In the world of enterprise software, Oracle, Salesforce and SAP have long remained the most widely adopted solutions for catering to diverse business requirements across industries, geographies and organizational sizes. This can largely be attributed to their innovative approaches to software delivery, such as Oracle’s integrated suites, Salesforce’s cloud-based CRM and SAP’s industry-specific solutions.

However, the emergence of enterprise software such as Workday, ServiceNow and Microsoft Dynamics 365 is increasingly challenging the more established solutions because they’re lightweight, nimble and easy to integrate.

Even so, many IT Services organizations that provide services such as customizations, implementation and quality assurance around enterprise platforms have failed to recognize the value that these platforms can offer here — likely due to the platforms’ relatively sudden rise in this space — and would now be wise to integrate them into their existing systems.

New Features and Functionalities of Emerging Platforms

Emerging platforms have rapidly added numerous functionalities to their repertoires. Workday, which started out as a human capital management solution, has expanded to encompass financial management, payroll, talent management, workforce planning and analytics to address the evolving needs of its customers.

Similarly, ServiceNow, which was initially a ticketing system focused on IT service management, has increased its modules and capabilities to include human resources service delivery, customer service management, IT operations management, security operations, finance operations and software development lifecycle management.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 has also increased the scope of its offerings. In its incipient stages, it focused on consolidating enterprise resource planning and customer relationship management into one integrated platform. It has now added even deeper integration with its other products such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Azure. In addition, Microsoft Dynamics 365 now offers industry-specific solutions with templates pre-designed for retail, manufacturing, financial services, nonprofits and health care.

And yet, even as the popularity of these software increases — Workday now has more than 10,000 customers, ServiceNow has nearly 29,000 and Microsoft Dynamics 365 has 30,000 — seemingly few organizations have built the skills and capabilities to support clients who try to adopt them by integrating these software into their infrastructure.

So, while demand is high, the ability of IT service providers to support and capitalize on this demand is relatively low. The current situation can be analogized by the rapid embrace of electric vehicles in countries around the world: Many countries adopting these vehicles still do not have the necessary infrastructure in place for people to use them, such as charging stations and grid-connected home charging points.

Quality Assurance, Onboarding and Integration of Emerging Platforms into Existing Client Systems

Organizations adopting these emerging platforms must prioritize quality assurance if they want to ensure smooth implementation, security, functionality and user satisfaction.

First, they need to engage the quality assurance teams to participate in vendor evaluation processes to assess the suitability of the software solution. They would then benefit from undergoing training and certifications in the form of change management support to educate users on the new software and to negate resistance to change. This should also afford the opportunity to adequately assess best case usage based on existing systems, processes and workflows to identify areas where the solutions would best add value.

The teams can then proceed to assess the compatibility of the emerging solutions with their current infrastructure (hardware, software, networks and databases) and identify specific functionalities that need to be integrated between the new software and existing systems — including protocols, data formats, security requirements, application programming interfaces and performance expectations.

Once those initial steps are complete, organizations should evaluate the accrued benefits of the new software in comparison to the trade-offs; regression analysis will be key at this stage. In addition, they need to ensure compliance with existing access controls, authentication mechanisms and encryption standards depending on data security sensitivity of the industry in question.

Lastly, they must monitor system performance and reliability to negate bottlenecks and identify any performance related issues such as user load capacity, stability and scalability. User Acceptance Testing at this stage will allow quality assurance teams to ensure that the software meets user expectations and achieves business objectives.

However, even after the implementation of new enterprise software, quality assurance teams should continue to monitor and improve the solutions by gathering metrics, analyzing behavior and addressing reported issues through patches, updates and enhancements.

As more organizations adopt emerging enterprise solutions to navigate their business needs, some will find it more challenging than others. Hindrances are often rooted in legacy systems and technical debt.

It is often the case that mature companies have developed in-house platforms based on antiquated programming languages, methodologies and archaic architectures that are no longer commonly supported. This will result in compatibility issues because legacy systems may lack the flexibility, scalability and interoperability required to support emerging solutions. Over time these companies will experience a technical debt due to increased complexity, reduced maintainability and decreased productivity, which will be expensive and will require operational disruptions to alleviate. In addition, legacy systems need specialized expertise to mitigate integration challenges such as data migration, interoperability, security and privacy, as well as customization requirements.

The Role of AI in Quality Assurance of Integrated Platforms 

Emerging platforms are typically quick to adopt trending technologies. They were the first to go fully cloud-based and are now taking the lead in adopting artificial intelligence and machine learning. For example, for Microsoft Dynamics 365, Microsoft Copilot is embedded into every one of its business processes, further helping business users to automate their actions. Copilot generates content for customer support agents based on the case description. In addition, it generates program status reports for project managers, saving several hours of manual effort.

Workday is also actively implementing AI into its products and utilizing the vast amounts of data accrued from its customers. Some examples of how AI improved Workday include automating HR and accounting processes, creating connected workflows and scaling transaction volumes without a proportionate increase in effort.

ServiceNow already includes generative AI, machine learning frameworks, natural language understanding and search and automation functions that work together to seamlessly enhance employees’ abilities and the customer experience. ServiceNow is also continuously improving its rapidly expanding generative AI portfolio so enterprises can bring the power of this technology to any department, scale to other parts of the business quickly and accelerate value from AI Spend.

Quality assurance specialists are also leveraging AI to a great extent to test functionalities delivered by these platforms. The creation of test cases using generative AI was a starting point; now, even test scripts for standard functionality delivered by these platforms are made using generative AI.

Emerging enterprise solutions are gaining more traction and are continuously adding new functionality and modules aimed at improving workflow management, streamlining processes and improving efficiency. Organizations using legacy systems and antiquated in-house platforms run the risk of falling behind and incurring exponential monetary and technical losses.

Upgrading legacy systems may be costly, time consuming, complex and resource-intensive, but the benefits of doing so — including modernization, competitive advantages, increased efficiency and collaboration, scalability, enhanced customer experiences, cost saving as well as customization — far outweigh the downsides.

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