Synthetic data is a class of data artificially generated through advanced methods like machine learning that can be used when real-world data is unavailable. It offers a multitude of compelling advantages, such as its flexibility and control, which allows engineers to model a wide range of scenarios that might not be possible with production data.

Market awareness of synthetic data for software testing has been very low and its potential has not yet been realized by software engineering leaders. Gartner has found that 34% of software engineering leaders have identified improving software quality as one of their top three performance objectives.

However, many software engineering leaders are inadequately equipped to achieve these objectives because their teams rely on antiquated development and testing strategies. These leaders should evaluate the feasibility of synthetic data to boost software quality and accelerate delivery.

Take Advantage of the Benefits of Synthetic Data

While market awareness of synthetic data is generally low, it is rising. Compared to large language models, synthetic data generation is a relatively mature market. Synthetically generated data for software testing offers a number of benefits including:
Security and compliance: Synthetic data can mitigate the risk of exposing sensitive or confidential information to comply with data privacy regulations.
Reliability: Synthetic data allows for control over specific data characteristics, such as age, income or location, to specify customer demographics. Software engineers can generate data that matches their product’s testing needs, and update the data as use cases change. Once generated, datasets can be retrained for reliable and consistent testing scenarios.
Customization: Synthetic data generation techniques and platforms provide customization capabilities to include diverse data patterns and edge cases. Since the data is artificially generated, test data can be made available even if a feature has no production data, resulting in the ability to test new features and inherently enhancing the test coverage.
Data on demand: Quality engineers can create any volume of data they need without limitations or delays associated with real-world data acquisition. This is particularly valuable for testing features with limited real-world data or for large-scale performance testing.

Software engineering leaders can enhance development cycle efficiency by strategically transitioning to synthetic data for testing. This enables teams to conduct secure, efficient and comprehensive tests, resulting in high-quality software.

Calculate ROI for Using Synthetic Data for Software Testing

Today’s challenging economic climate is driving companies to prioritize cost-cutting initiatives, with ROI meticulously examined before any investment is made. While the benefits of using synthetic data are evident, it’s essential to delve into the costs organizations may encounter during its implementation.

It is vital to determine ROI that outlines the strategic significance, expected returns and methods for mitigating risks to generate the requisite support and secure budget for synthetic data investment.

To accurately determine ROI, software engineering leaders should include non-financial benefits such as improved compliance, data security, and innovation. Benchmark ROI against other investment opportunities to determine the best allocation of capital. Reassess ROI yearly as actual data comes in and update projections to reflect any changes.