Business intelligence could well be classified as the most trusted word for the success of enterprises across the globe. Working completely in sync with the structured and unstructured Big Data captured from multiple channels and multiple sources, Business Intelligence is a critical tool to generate actionable insights into the enterprises’ own data. With well-defined Business Intelligence testing in place, BI offers definite advantages to enterprises.
- Quicker and better visibility to data through reports and dashboards
- Fosters accurate & timely decisions to deliver efficient workflows
- Improves employee productivity through self-service approach
- Offers customer engagement in an all-new way, again through a self-service approach and exploring contemporary channels like social media
- Shares conducive insights for cross-selling & up-selling
- Makes possible the analysis of costs and practices to optimize resources
Testing is the all-important part of all types of software and related practices to ensure reliability and accuracy. Niche test practices emerge today depending on various processes and functionalities the system caters to and the specific approach and purpose it supports.
BI – The Process and its Testing
The BI testing involves a few major areas; Data Acquisition, Test Design, Test Data Management, Test Automation and Data Security Testing. Together these drive the way BI Testing formulates on the whole.
- Data Acquisition
- Test Design
- Test Data Management
- Test Automation
- Data Security Testing
Data acquisition identifies the numerous data sources, their data organization structures and other specific requirements of the data to be tested. It also reviews the data profiles identifying the key data samples to be tested and verified.
This test derives the test data scripts and prepares comparison reports of the expected and the actuals. Test design also takes care of ETL testing on the varied data sets as well.
Test Data Management
Prepares test environment for conducting comprehensive tests to check performances and identify the test conditions.
Identifying the processes that could be tested through automated tools is a huge task and test automation sets out to choose appropriate tools to conduct these tests as well.
Script building and reusable test cases too are taken care of in this step.
Challenges Faced by Business Intelligence Testing
The ability of Big Data to handle complex and diverse data put together with the expectations out of a Business Intelligence software itself ironically can be held responsible for the huge challenges faced by BI testing.
The Vs of Data
It doesn’t stop at curating data meaningfully and with care. The multiple V’s of Data handling challenges in Big Data are carried forward to Business Intelligence practices to combat too. BI testing needs to take into account all the diverse sources data could be captured from, their variety, and of course the increasing complexity of these sources. The ever-increasing volumes of data to be tested on time with accuracy puts a lot of pressure on the test plans for BI.
Data Incompatibilities & Data Inconsistencies During Integration
Enterprise systems are closely coupled today and the underlying data needs to be integrated logically especially during data interchange across diverse sources. BI test plan needs to expect these inconsistencies and test for them to enforce designs circumventing such issues.
A seamless flow of data across sources is responsible for better and accurate dashboards and report generation for the aid of decision-makers.
Audit Trails, A Tough Call
Audit trails are very tough to set up and execute across the various data sources, giving rise to apprehensions vis a vis compliances and norms implementations. A prudent BI test plan provides for testing these very necessary observances without which the enterprise could find itself into troubles with agencies and the law in general.
Man Power Availability
Last but not the least, this is the toughest call for a BI testing setup. Skilled resources with the maturity to design and test intricate processes related to BI are tough to engage.
Critical Testing Approaches for Business Intelligence Testing
The BI architecture is a tough one to design and it is not the dashboards and reports which need to be tested, but the testing of BI starts much before with the testing of data itself for accuracy, inconsistency, reliability and security. Various testing approaches make this niche comprehensive and complete.
- Real Time Data Testing
- Scalability Testing
- Performance Testing
- Security Testing
In a Nutshell
With newer technologies and approaches emerge newer techniques of testing too. BI & Big Data testing becomes a niche testing genre today as real-time analytics becomes more real and relevant than ever.
An appropriate and prudent test strategy is the call of the day today for Business Intelligence Testing. Keeping in mind the various trends for testing in 2016, SPEC INDIA Software Testing & QA Services ensure the right mix of traditional and modern Testing approaches and provide support through the BI Testing Life Cycles. The unbiased test reports help smoother implementations with near-zero post-delivery defects and higher customer satisfaction.
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