Business Intelligence Testing

What's there in the Business intelligence?

Business Intelligence is a technology, which makes use of the specific tools, application, methodologies and frameworks to derive useful information from the large pool of data. Based on Datawarehouse technology, its basic purpose is to transform raw data, available in large chunks into useful and meaningful information, which are being used for the business purposes by the business analyst, data analyst and other IT professionals.

Some of the commonly used business intelligence technologies/ systems are

  • MIS-Management Information System
  • OLAP- Online Analytical Processing and Multidimensional Analysis.
  • CRM-Customer Relationship Management
  • EIS-Executive Information System

What is meant by the business intelligence testing?

It simply means testing the business intelligence system to ensure it proper and desired functioning. It is a special type of testing and is very much different to traditional testing as the whole testing revolves around the data, i.e., data-centric strategy will be required to carry out the testing.

Generally, business intelligence testing is used to check proper integration and flow of accurate data among the business intelligence applications. This type of testing is usually done to examine the complete structure or architecture to ensure the data completeness, accuracy, consistency, reliability, integrity and security.

The chief purpose of this testing is to provide credible and conceivable data outputs through business intelligence system.

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Testing business intelligence system is a very complex and complicated job, keeping in account problems or difficulties associated with it such as

  • Large data volume.
  • Complexities, associated with each data type.
  • Multiple data sources.
  • Dynamic and hidden business logics.
  • Probability of data loss, during integration process between the sources.
  • Very good expertise and excellent understanding is required, in the business intelligence domain.

As such, an effective and productive strategy is a must requirement to perform the testing activities. The strategy may be build in the direction of, covering each stage and every flow of the data throughout the business intelligence architecture ranging from end to end. Some of the valuable points which may increase testing strategy effectiveness may be seen as under:

  • Outlining and defining the scope of the testing, involving what needs to be tested and testing techniques to be used.
  • Setting up the test environment.
  • Availability of data, to ensure the coverage of entire functionalities or features of the system.
  • What should be the quality of the data and defining acceptance criteria for the system's performance.

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How to perform it?

  • Identifying the test data also known as production data, which is further refined to create new test data.
  • Designing test cases for each test scenario and thereafter, implementing them for the execution to validate the data quality, checking end to end flow of the data, accuracy, consistency and reliability of the data, and many more such things. Some of the sample test case that may be considered for the testing purpose are:
    • Verifying the integrity of the data, copied from data source to the target system.
    • Checking data duplicity or redundancy in the system.
    • If the data values are being loaded by process table.
    • If the target system and the data source are well connected to each other.
    • Replicating the records, which already exists in the system.
    • Whether BI reports are reflecting the date and time.
  • Thereafter, performing OLAP and cube testing.
  • Testing the generated reports, which may involve evaluation of the layouts, styles and format of the report, as per the standards, assessing the drilling, filtering and sorting attributes of the report, multiple formats (pdf, word, excel) for the report and many other possible examinations.


As most of the business decisions are based on the data and information, incorrect or inappropriate representation of data or information, may lead to wrong decision(s), which may bring a huge loss to an organization. Business intelligence testing is an important testing technique, done in the direction of providing credible and reliable results.

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