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The world is considering the growing importance of data to develop and leverage new and emerging technologies for a variety of purposes. As the technology landscape evolves, software development companies need to adapt and grow rapidly to stay afloat. For that, they need to embrace new technologies, approaches, strategies, processes and indulge in principles such as DevOps, agile, continuous deployment and test automation. When testing software applications, virtually everyone has a data crisis, and test data management is critical to achieving a reliable test automation strategy. The Test completeness and coverage depend primarily on the quality of the available test data. Software teams often lack access to the necessary test data, which fuels the need for better test data management. Quality data availability can ensure successful software testing.

Significance of Test Data Management (TDM)

Test data management is one of the major challenges we face in the software industry. A good test data management strategy becomes necessary for any success of the project. Efficient test data management ensures optimum return on investment, and complements the testing efforts for maximum performance and coverage levels, reducing delays in the testing and development process. TDM is gaining popularity as it implements the methodology of structured engineering to evaluate data specifications for all potential business scenarios and allows easy availability of structured and well-segmented data. Data masking, data refresh, sub-setting, Extract Transform Load (ETL) and synthetic development standardized by Test Data Management (TDM) are some of the primary TDM operations. Test Data Management ensures that test data-related issues and vulnerabilities are detected and addressed before production, enabling the implementation of quality applications at the right time.

What is Test Data Management (TDM)?

TDM is a method of obtaining and managing the data needs of a test automation process with minimal user intervention. It merely means generating non-production data sets that accurately imitate the actual data of the organization, so that system and application developers can perform accurate and legitimate system tests. The TDM process involves phases such as planning, analysis, design, build, and maintenance of test data. TDM guarantees the accuracy of the test data, the quantity, the right format and the timely fulfilment of the test data requirements.

The Need for TDM

Failure to have a good test data management strategy can have devastating implications for businesses. If the test data is not managed and treated sensibly, it can lead to delays in the process of testing and production causing a detrimental effect on the company, as the go-to-market pace of the application will be affected, resulting in business losses. Through setting up a dedicated test data management team and a systemic TDM process, both the company and the customer would benefit greatly. Here we’ve therefore listed three main reasons why it should be imperative to give priority to your organization’s solid data management strategy.

TDM reduces testing time accelerating application time to market

The main objective of TDM is not only the quality of the data but also its availability. TDM has a dedicated service-level agreement (SLAs) data provisioning team that guarantees the timely availability of data. TDM tools promote quick identification of scenarios and the development of the corresponding data sets. With flexible sets of test data accessible over time, testers can focus on real testing rather than worrying about data creation, reducing the overall test run time. Adequate test data, compact test design and execution cycles all lead to smoother and more accurate testing, which in turn allows faster time to market for applications.

TDM guarantees data security and compliance

Organizations that adopt emerging technologies and the digital world store and transmit a significant amount of sensitive data electronically. Although cloud services and data virtualization offers enormous business benefit, it also poses a threat to confidential data. Tech firms are bound to comply with specific legislation and regulatory requirements by the authorities to protect sensitive customer test data else it could result in severe financial or legal losses, damaging the credibility of the company. Since data masking is one of the critical element of a TDM process, you can quickly and easily mask sensitive information through the use of TDM tools and can also produce reports and perform compliance analysis. TDM strategy guarantees the privacy of confidential data, giving priority to data security and compliance.

TDM prevents duplicate test data copies

In a project, teams can replicate various copies of the same production data for their use resulting in duplicate copies that lead to misuse of storage space. With several redundant copies of production data, both maintenance and operational costs get impacted due to the increase in data volumes. Data can be managed efficiently with a good test data management plan, minimizing high storage costs associated with hundreds of duplicate copies of production data. TDM’s data subsetting function allows selective test data extraction enabling all teams to use the same database, resulting in partial duplication and diligently making use of storage space. TDM adds significant value to different teams with approved access points to its central data repository that can easily give each test team an own (masked) test data set that is refreshable on demand. Quality data and improved test data coverage are the main benefits of a TDM process. Adopting an enterprise test data solution will dramatically reduce risk, increase quality and reduce operating costs. Together with IBM InfoSphere Optim, Estuate has deployed robust test data management solutions for automated data management, unified data governance, data identification and analysis. We have the most efficient test data management solutions that can solve the complexities of your test data and eventually accomplish business goals more proficiently.