Systems administrators have a complex job today, as companies adopt multiple business intelligence platforms and cloud solutions. The admin staff has to manage upgrades, new content, patches, fixes, and security developments. This includes the impact of these changes on existing data, dashboards, and reports. This requires a significant amount of time, skills, and manpower. Any undetected effects on the data can lead to the poor performance of the software, inaccuracy of the data, and reliability of data-guided solutions throughout the organization. This will all reflect negatively on the systems administrators.
Typically, the systems administrator would review data for inconsistencies following fixes manually. This involves selecting a subset of data and reports and checking their accuracy. However, this would not be realistic on large-scale upgrades therefore, automation is critical to ensure the long-term success of the applications. Here are our tips to support the automated maintenance process;
- Ensure you’re testing realistic use of the application. It is important to test the application following an update in the way the customer or user would require it to function to meet their everyday needs.
- Replicate the user’s environment. It is important not to affect the current live working environment. Therefore, the tests need to be run a replica of the company’s live system. This step is easier with a cloud platform, as a replica environment is easier to develop.
- When creating an automated testing system we would recommend using a platform approach rather than disjointed separate scripts. This will allow you to test multiple scenarios at various scales within the application.
- Examine your test results to a granular level. These tests should not purely result in a pass or fail, all detailed statistics and data should be gathered and examined to help predict future potential issues and to improve the automated testing practice.
- Store results in an optimized format, such as a data warehouse. This allows easy analysis, enables the performance of the application to be reviewed and historical analysis to be monitored.
This is all time consuming and challenging tasks for the systems administrator, who is already in high demand. MicroStrategy has developed a testing platform that can be used to analyze over 20 different customer applications. They even use this single platform to test their systems before releasing updates, in an attempt to minimize disruption to the data. For more information on managing application upgrades and developments contact our team of experienced business intelligence consultants.
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