By Karin Pindle
In this post, I’m going to share some insights on Oracle Eloqua sandboxes and offer some tips for users who leverage them. But first, let’s start with a little history…
For many years, Eloqua and other marketing automation platforms did not offer a sandbox or test environment. Everything was intended to be set up and tested in production. That changed about five years ago when sandboxes came out. At first, many users got excited until they found out that they weren’t a true sandbox like we think of with other SaaS platforms. Why? You can only push production setup to the sandbox and not vice versa. It’s worth noting that this is the case with most marketing automation platforms, not just Eloqua.
In my time in the marketing automation space (13 years), I’ve often seen clients bewildered by the lack of functionality in the sandboxes. Most use it for a subset of use cases such as testing integrations with their CRM sandbox, changes to Eloqua lead management programs, and revisions to forms impacting the CRM integration.
Here are 5 tips for organizations leveraging an Eloqua sandbox:
- You must rebuild anything you create/edit in the Eloqua sandbox in Eloqua production, so factor that into your project tasks and timelines.
- Pushing data from Eloqua production to the Eloqua sandbox is not possible – no contact, account, custom object or other data is included in a “Refresh.” Essentially, when you refresh all data in the Eloqua sandbox is overwritten with blank values. We recommend exporting/importing the required data set manually.
- Eloqua landing pages are not live in the sandbox. You have to create a new microsite (aka subdomain) to be used only in the sandbox for testing. This means you also need the form IDs from the form in your sandbox updated on the landing pages so they submit to the sandbox, not production.
- If you have users in your Eloqua sandbox that are not also in your Eloqua production, they will be removed from your sandbox in a “Refresh.” Remember to re-recreate them in the sandbox after the refresh is complete.
- If you have your Eloqua production integrated with a CRM(s), be sure you update the integration area in the Eloqua sandbox with the CRM sandbox user’s password. Why? After a “Refresh,” your Eloqua sandbox integration will be paused but connected to CRM production instead of CRM sandbox.
A few other items to note:
- Reporting is not available in the sandbox so you must test reports and dashboards in production. We recommend copying, editing the copied version and testing it, then making the edits to the live reports and/or dashboards.
- You cannot promote your Eloqua sandbox to another Eloqua sandbox so whatever setup and testing you do in your sandbox remain there. You have to manually recreate it anywhere else, so again, consider that in your project tasks and timelines.
Do I think an Eloqua sandbox is still worth the investment? Yes, if you want to test the items covered above, mainly around integration. That said, there are ways that testing can be done in Eloqua production but it is trickier to setup and does incur increased risks.
Have questions? More details on Eloqua’s sandboxes can be found here.
Have fun playing in your sandbox!
Do you need help deciding whether an Eloqua sandbox will meet your needs? Or guidance using your Eloqua sandbox? Contact us and we’ll be happy to guide you.