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What is Business Intelligence Testing?

Business Intelligence (BI) is a process where the data is gathered, regulated, analysed, integrated and shared in such a way that meaningful and necessary information can be taken out of it to use it later to improve the overall business. Thanks to the insightful data one receives, refined and wise business decisions can be taken so as to drive growth.

Business Intelligence testing, popularly known as BI Testing, verifies the staging data, Extract-Transform-Load (ETL) process and BI reports and then tests whether the implementation is done in the right manner or not. It also ensures data credibility and accuracy of the insights derived from the BI process.

What are the components of Business Intelligence?

Business Intelligence is achieved through a series of tests, tools and technologies, which ensures the right kind of implementation of the whole process. The following are the major components of BI.

  • Analytics
  • Data Mining
  • Observe, Anticipate and Plan (OAP)
  • Business Process Re-engineering (BPR)
  • Benchmarking
  • Data Warehousing
  • Reporting

To give a better idea of how BI works, let us give you an example. Suppose you went to an international art exhibition and you buy an artefact or a painting from there and when you make the payment through your card, it gets rejected. This happens because the seller might be from an area where you have never used your credit card. As a result, BI notifies the application that there’s an unusual transaction and hence preventing the possibility of a fraud. Only once you verify that it is you who is using the card, will the transaction take place. This is one of the classic examples showing how BI applies itself in real-life scenarios.

Seeing suggested videos on YouTube just because you saw a similar video before is another example of BI doing its magic. Similarly, seeing recommended products on different e-commerce platforms is also an example of the same. In today’s fast paced world, where customers want data that is relevant to them, BI plays an incredibly important role. This is exactly why BI testing is imperative, as it ensures that all the flow of data involved in this is done the right way.

Business Intelligence Testing Sequence

  1. Check the data right at the source

Since all the data does not come from one source and in one format, it is important to make sure that the source and the type of data that it sends matches with each other. Furthermore, it is advisable to perform a basic validation process right here. The simple and obvious errors can be eliminated then and there, so that it does not cause bigger issues in the further scheme of things. In the ETL methodology, this phase usually belongs to the Extract stage.

  1. Check the data transformation

Right when the raw data is processed into business integration information, tests must be conducted in order to check if they are performed the right way or not. The data types of the source and the destination data should match. Primary key, foreign key, null, default value constraints and other such properties should be intact during this transformation phase.

Lastly, the ACID (Atomicity, Consistency, Isolation, Durability) properties should also be validated for both source and destination data. The testing strategies should be made in accordance with such aspects of data transformation process to ensure the credibility of the Business Intelligence data.

  1. Check the data loading

When the data is being loaded, be it to the data warehouse or any other data system where it is going to stay permanently, it is absolutely important to make sure that it is done the right way. Doing this should not hamper the functionality or performance of the system in any way.

Even though the actual scripts that load the data will undergo testing during the ETL testing phase, the data storage system has to undergo performance and scalability testing separately.

  • Performance Testing – Everyone knows how the volume of data increases with growth in business. As a result, several relationships are made between different data points and entities, which further make separate co-relations. Yes, all this is great for data analytics and data retrieval but it takes a toll on the data storage system and hence performance testing needs be to done.
  • Scalability Testing – As mentioned above, data is only going to increase with time and not decrease (in most cases), which means the data storage system has to undergo scalability testing to ensure that it can accommodate the new data that is coming its way. Another thing to test here is how the archives will work. You need to check for the old data that you feel might be useful later on. Storing this data with the current incoming data and keeping the whole system intact is very important and this is where the right test cases for scalability testing comes into place.

 

  1. BI Report Testing

Report testing is the last stage of the whole data flow in the BI testing method. This is where all your efforts come into play. Note that if there were any flaws in the preceding steps, the reports will have errors in them. One cannot really ascertain if the reports are correct and consistent. Here the tests must be conducted to see the applicability of the reports to the business modules and the appearance of the reports itself so that it is readable.

Furthermore, the testing should be done in order to see if the data in the reports can be customised and personalised to form groups or categories for the better use of the data. Finally, if you do find some element that can be integrated in the BI, then that element’s function should be included in the end-to-end testing as well.

Business Intelligence Testing Strategy

Now that you know the sequence in which the testing should be done, the typical stages of testing will be carried out in this case as well, be it related to functions or performance. The testing strategy will be as follows:

  • Test planning
  • Test strategy
  • Test design
  • Test execution
  • Reporting of defects and closure of project

As you can see, it pretty much follows the same strategy as a normal testing project. However, there is one major difference in the way test cases are created. Most of them will be query-intensive and not text-based test cases. This is applicable in the test design and test execution phase of the whole BI testing strategy.

In today’s times, Business Intelligence has become an integral part of several industries out there, be it e-commerce, healthcare, finance, banking, education, entertainment and many more. Naturally, it requires a robust BI testing phase, which addresses all the issues related to data collection and transformation. To get the best services of BI Testing, get in touch with TestUnity.

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