Let me start by giving you a little of my background. I am a test data management (TDM) engineer with eight years of experience. I have worked for Orasi for the past two years. During this time, I have specialized in providing integral solutions with CA Test Data Manager (formerly known as Grid-Tools). During the past nine months, I was assigned to Manheim.
Manheim is a wholesale vehicle auction operation that is transforming the buying and selling experience through investments in technology and innovative products and services.
The TDM solution was a great opportunity for improvement at Manheim, since they didn’t have an efficient process to provide data for functional testing, performance optimization, and several other teams. Additionally, when the old process could provide the test data, it took too much calendar time and man hours to deliver it.
The following is a brief description of the process that Manheim needed to create its testing.
The prior test data solution took approximately one month or even more to provide data for testing. The first problem we discovered was that a single record contained tons of columns, and for a record to be considered complete, it had to pass four stages at a minimum.
The test data solution also used Excel spreadsheets to manage and control this data, which made it more difficult and tedious to complete a task.
In order to start creating clean and useful data, our team started to analyze their data by asking questions about which fields were mandatory or could not have a null value. We were not able to make any progress and couldn’t create the data without the help of their employees.
Next, we began to learn the business rules and flow of the data through them. This phase took us four weeks to create some more complex data. Our planned time was delayed by other project requirements, such as creating test data for specific defects that delayed our work. However, as we worked together as a unit, we started to show some progress.
For example, Manheim’s User Acceptance Team required thousands of records to do some of their tests. After several design sessions with this team, we started creating this data. Considering it was the first time someone on this project had asked for data, we didn’t have a process to control the quality, time, and requirements for the specific kind of data this team wanted. So, we responded that it would take us about one week to have their data ready to play.
They couldn’t believe our answer. They were expecting it to take at least two to three weeks to complete their requirement. We completed it in three days. We could have done it in an even shorter time than that, but we didn’t know all the business rules involved in that request.
After that, other teams began to notice our work. We were victims of our own success. We needed to have a major control of the requirements and time deliveries. Manheim helped us by creating a help desk where other teams filled formularies and created tickets to request their data. By using that, we had a clean process for providing quality, quantity, and the most important thing, a customer satisfied by the results. Also, we could prioritize tickets and everybody was on the same page and informed about the status of their tickets.
The amount of data requested was increased exponentially. We had five teams requesting tens of thousands of records. Thanks to our experience and knowledge of their process, the tasks ran smoothly. We delivered around 15,000 records per week, and the most important thing, our data was accurate and complied with all the business rules required. This meant we had a very happy and satisfied client.
The ROI of our work meant 400% to 500% in savings for their fiscal year, considering man hours and time. And, we were able to provide new solutions to help them become more efficient with more people involved in the TDM process.