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Implement an Effective Test Data Management Strategy with these Five Tips

How to use a test data management strategy to protect your technology investments

data centre

Each frequent air traveller knows the importance of noise-cancelling headphones to block out the sound of snoring flyers, crying babies, loud engines and occasional turbulence. Similarly, organisations today face the growing noise of data overload. Initiatives, new capabilities and processes produce massive amounts of data, not all of it vital for testing. In fact, a lot of data is extraneous and becomes noise in a test environment, bogging down the pace and effectiveness of testing and software delivery.

Companies invest in continuous integration / continuous delivery (CI/CD) pipelines because they automate and speed software delivery – ultimately improving customer satisfaction. Companies also maintain highly complex environments, often running dozens or hundreds of systems.

A complex test environment combined with an abundance of data can make test data setup the slowest path in any CI/CD process. A test data management (TDM) strategy identifies the best testing data effectively, reduces errors and makes the testing process more efficient.

Necessity of Data for Organisational Efficiency

Test data is critical. Test environments are where companies validate user scenarios, improve production by identifying and resolving bugs and other issues, reduce security risks and ensure compliance with rules and regulations. Test environments are often complex. They have multiple technology stacks, integrated vendor products and supported hosting services. A TDM strategy cuts through digital noise by identifying high-quality test data in the correct quantity and format. As a result, the test process becomes faster and more accurate, and helps to optimise software delivery.

Five Tips to Overcome Test Data Management Challenges

A TDM plan should be uniquely tailored to your organisation. Understanding and incorporating the goals, test data requirements and challenges of your specific organisation will improve overall efficacy. Use these five tips to build a modernised, efficient TDM strategy.

1. Balance organisational needs – not wants – against the complexities of implementing test data setup and maintenance overhead such as data load routines for changing test data needs or database structures.

2. Identify how often test data needs to be provided, and in what volume and variety.

3. Support data privacy requirements of the organisation and its customers.

4. Comply with regulations and standards such as personally identifiable information (PII), payment card industry data security standard (PCI) and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

5. Introduce controls and standards for test environments to avoid or minimise ad hoc environments with multiple owners.

Test Data Management Helps Maximise Your Return on Investment

A strong TDM strategy identifies aspects that are most important for test data through deciphering and simplification—essentially reducing noise. Noise reduction permits focus, making subsequently designed processes faster, with more accuracy and precision.

Just like frequent flyers have smoother, more enjoyable trips with noise-cancelling headphones, implementing a TDM strategy helps your business listen to the music of optimal test data with effective noise reduction. It delivers less stress, better results overall and will help maximise your technology investments. Are you ready to get started? Learn how we can partner to transform you test data management strategy to meet your business goals. From strategy development to implication, we can help you cut through the noise.