Organizations looking to build quality software applications in a limited time have adopted agile methodologies. On the other hand, the World Quality Report survey revealed that 99% of software developers face challenges in testing and automation in an agile environment. Unsurprisingly, their biggest challenge was sourcing good quality data while maintaining the highest privacy, security, and compliance standards.
This is where test data management becomes essential.
What is test data management?
Before we delve into the benefits of test data management, let’s first understand what ‘test data’ is. Test data refers to any data used during the software testing process to get the required results. There are two categories of test data.
● Static data – These data points do not change with time. Usually considered non-sensitive, it can include data such as names, addresses, PO box numbers, etc. In rare cases, static data can also include sensitive information such as banking and social security details.
● Dynamic data – This data can change with time and is not constant. This category generally covers sensitive information such as medical history, insurance history, employee history, etc.
Based on the Application Under Test (AUT) data requirements, a mix of both the test data categories is used.
But here’s where most developers hit a roadblock. How do we source this test data, obfuscate it, and meet compliance standards within tight deadlines?
Test data management is a process that helps overcome this challenge. TDM is a process that ensures that QA and testing teams get the data they require, within the stipulated time frame, while meeting their stringent quality requirements. It ensures that the provided data is of the right type and size. Usually, organizations use TDM to create synthetic data that matches the requirements or use obfuscation techniques such as masking and encryption. TDM works well when implemented in conjunction with documented, well-defined data processes, manual methods, & proprietary utilities.
Benefits of test data management
A case study cited by IBM Big Data and Analytics Hub explains the crucial role TDM lucidly plays in software. The case study said that a big insurance company in the US was spending over 15% of its testing costs on sourcing and managing test data. According to a quote in the case study, for every $14 million software delivery by the QA team, $3 million was spent just managing the test data. After implementing a rigorous test data management solution, the organization saved $400,000 annually.
Here are some benefits of incorporating TDM in your software delivery process.
● Better test data coverage
TDM introduces a degree of traceability to your data collection. Through TDM, you can track your data requirements based on test cases and connect them to the data source. You can get a complete perspective of your testing process using intelligent tools and data analysis strategies. And better test coverage directly influences the end quality of the AUT.
● Cost control
One of the biggest knocks on improving the testing process is the additional costs it brings. One of the biggest arguments against introducing improvements in the testing process is that it’ll add to the already inflated testing costs. But a rigorously prepared TDM process can potentially have cost benefits because it’ll help you find defects much earlier in the development cycle. Correcting defects later in the cycle, especially after a release, can cost up to 640x more than it will cost during the coding or unit testing phase.
Moreover, using representative test data can condense test design, reducing the amount of data required. Lastly, since all TDM data is handled from one repository, it can bring down data storage and security costs on a larger scale.
● Data compliance
With standards such as GDPR being strictly implemented, companies must be compliant to avoid regulatory fines and loss of reputation. Compliance standards require test data to be kept safe and secure. TDM ensures that all test data is obfuscated and stored safely.
● Faster time-to-market
Concepts such as agile, DevOps, and continuous delivery have put the onus on development organizations to build faster. Test automation helps achieve all this. But without access to the right test data, even automation fails to deliver the expected benefits. TDM ensures that the right data reaches the right people at the right time.
Test data management is the next step for organizations looking to evolve their development process to meet the new consumer market requirements. But implementing TDM without pairing it with the right solutions might not relay the results required. Avo’s Intelligent Test Data Management helps teams like yours simplify TDM. It enables you to build better products by providing representative data that mimics production data. With Avo, you’ll meet all mandatory compliance and market standards while cutting costs.
To know more about Avo’s Intelligent Test Data Management and how it can help you, schedule a demo today!