Enhanced validation - Why Truugo?
Organizations are moving rapidly into electronic data interchange especially in invoicing. Business data is transmitted in a structured XML format from a system to system. This diminishes manual effort, enhances predictability and speeds up business processes. To reach all benefits in reality one must be able to process automatically all received (XML/EDIFACT) messages. When an electronic message contains an error, it usually takes more resources and time to solve it compared to traditional paper / fax based data interchange. Data correctness is reached only by a systematic validation.
Constant need for data validation
A deployment of an electronic data interchange connection requires message validation to ensure a message conforms to a message standard and receiver specific requirements. Whenever updates are made to systems or message conversions one must check that messages are still valid. In production one must have a fast and accurate error detection to minimize error consequences. In addition, a help desk must respond to a number of data quality issues on a daily basis.
Problems in traditional test process
Traditionally validation process requires resources from both parties when validation and reporting are performed bilaterally based on a common schedule. A delay between a test and a feedback might stretch into days when a total time might sum up to weeks in challenging deployments where a number of iterations are required. Iterative and manual tasks form a resource intensive process. Thereby quite a high volume is required to rationalize a decision to establish a connection for an electronic data interchange. Bilateral and partly manual testing forms also a significant challenge for a test reporting especially when there is more than one person responsible for the reporting. Same error might be reported in various ways depending on a day and a reporting person.
General XML editors (XML Spy, Stylus Studio, oXygen) help to identify structural errors by providing schema validation based on W3C XML schema. Using XML validator is a good start, but schema validation doesn't cover content validation which is more valuable procedure. Schema validation also has deficiencies regarding test reporting. Error descriptions are very technical, even cryptic, requiring specific technical knowledge for interpretation.
It's important to realize that even though an XML document is well-formed and even though it's valid against a message schema (DTD or W3C XML Schema) it doesn't imply, at all, that a content of a document is solid and valid. A common rule of thumb is that the wider the message scope the less significant is the schema validation. In other words, a message which is valid against such a schema might lack all data required by a message receiver. This is a common case especially in international message formats covering a wide variety of needs.
General test tool are poor at locating errors concerning message content and data relationships. These are also such errors which are really challenging to identify manually. A strong knowledge and a long experience of an underlying process and a message format are required and even then it's a hard task. It's justifiable to argue that it's a waste of resources and a significant risk to overload the most valuable resources with an uninspired task.
Truugo is a centralized validation service where one may run tests 24/7. Tests can be performed independently using predefined test profiles and as an instant feedback one gets a formal but sensible test report. A formal test procedure also guarantees that a test reporting becomes automatic and consistent.
Tests can be performed independently based on own schedule which adds flexibility and diminishes unnecessary bilateral interaction. A calendar time spend on testing will decrease drastically especially in challenging iterative test cases where an instant feedback mechanism enables validation and error correction at once. Data quality will be enhanced, without additional costs, when one can complete more tests to locate also infrequent errors. See overview of Truugo benefits.