Benefits realized through Effective Test Data Management
With significant percentage of effort being spent on Test Data Management (TDM) activities in projects, its benefits are often questioned by clients. Some of the common questions include:
· Why is a different team needed for provisioning test data for applications being tested?
· Will this result in reduction in FTE count?
· What benefits will be realized by having a TDM team?
· What is the value add TDM team will bring to IT?
With various stakeholders, the questions vary depending on their vested interests. However, from my experience I have seen significant benefits being derived by merely following a streamlined process where all the requests are funneled through the TDM team. Below are a few benefits gained by following a structured approach and having a dedicated TDM team.
· ~30% effort savings are achieved in overall TDM process due to workflow automation, data request templates, data reuse and overall process improvement
· Availability of production like data to various test teams eliminates over 5% of integration defects
· Customized test data to various types of testing - functional, integration, performance, security, etc. there by resulting in no overstepping of test data by various teams
· Reservation of test data helps avoids rework and data overstepping
· Traceability of test data to test cases to business requirements helps to understand the test coverage as well as defect pattern
· Reuse of the test data artifacts leading to reduction of cycle time
· Optimal sub-setting process and gold copy creation (Gold copy is reusable test data set which could be a full copy from production or a subset or engineered data)
· Reduced data refresh cycle
· Reduced CPU utilization due to less volume of data consumed
· Shared services pool of talents leveraging the best practices, processes, knowledge gained, etc.
· Reduced IT budgetary spend towards non-production environments
· Optimization of tools and software licenses
· Last but not the least, reduction in Carbon footprint due to reduced disk storage and CPU consumption and organizations taking on the Go-Green initiative
The benefits far outweigh the investments made in having a dedicated TDM team and in the long run, organizations will gain much more as there is overall reduction in CAPEX and OPEX due to increased efficiency and effectiveness seen with streamlined Test Data Management and provisioning of data.