Inadequate testing can wreak havoc on production environments; User Acceptance Testing and a sound testing strategy can help keep business processes running smoothly
ATLANTA — August 7, 2012 —
Liaison Technologies, a global provider of secure cloud-based integration and data management services and solutions, recommends that all companies performing data integration on-premise set up a User Acceptance Testing (UAT) environment and create a sound strategy for pre-production integration testing. Inadequate testing for translation maps or application upgrades can wreak havoc on production environments, interrupting critical business processes.
Many companies use ad hoc testing to evaluate changes to translations maps—testing just a few maps for a quick verification, instead of all maps against a full battery of tests. This invariably leads to maps being released into the production environment that end up breaking because they haven’t been tested in all scenarios. Another problem is with new versions of applications. According to Rob Fox, Liaison’s senior director of EAI/B2B Software Development, just as it is important to test new maps and changes to maps in a test environment first, it is equally vital to test software upgrades with maps before deploying them to production.
“It’s not unusual for smaller companies—and even some pretty large ones—that do on-premise data integration to have inadequate testing processes for new and modified translations maps and software upgrades,” he said. “Changing a map or putting a new one straight into the production environment, or upgrading an application that uses maps without testing the consequences, can be costly. If it doesn’t work correctly, you have three choices: figure out how to fix the map, roll back the upgrade, or call tech support — all of which take time and effort and can seriously impact operations.”
Fox recommends that companies adopt a pre-production testing strategy comprised of these five best practices for on-premise data integration testing:
- Have a UAT environment — Having a User Acceptance Testing environment to test integration maps, and to test application upgrades with established maps before they go into the production environment, is critical for preventing business process problems.
- Establish acceptance criteria — Acceptance criteria help prevent problems in the production environment by establishing a standard which maps and software must meet before they are deployed.
- Develop a comprehensive set of tests — This test suite should examine every possible permutation of a map across applications to have the best chance of catching problems before the map or a software upgrade goes into production.
- Adopt automated continuous testing — Organizations that make frequent changes to maps or run a high volume of tests should consider using an automated testing system that runs continuously and issues alerts when a test fails.
- Use version control — Version control provides visibility into exactly what version of a map is running and where and what changes were made to it, making it much easier to fix the problem, whether it’s in the test or production environment.
“The best testing environment for on-premise data integration is comprehensive, continuous and automated with strong version control and a rollback strategy,” said Fox. “Setting up a UAT environment and establishing a testing strategy based on best practices help to ensure that map changes and new software versions won’t interrupt business processes.”
Liaison Technologies is a global data management and integration company. It provides innovative solutions to integrate, transform, harmonize, manage and secure critical business data on-premise or in the cloud. With a comprehensive array of business-to-business and application-to-application integration and data transformation services, as well as on-premise and cloud-based data security solutions, Liaison’s practitioners implement data management infrastructures adapted to each client’s specific business requirements. Headquartered in Atlanta, Liaison has offices in the Netherlands, Finland, Sweden and the United Kingdom. For more information, visit www.liaison.com.
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