By Terese Jackson

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I am a financial analyst. I was not hired simply to do data entry, or data extraction, or data sorting, or data filtering, or a thousand other mundane tasks I find myself spending an inordinate percentage of my day on.  Don’t get me wrong—I'm a fanatic about numbers—but I need to spend my time on studying them, gaining business intelligence from them, and conveying my findings and recommendations to colleagues...not simply moving them around in Excel.  Yet, that’s what I’m forced too often to do; it’s a painful means to an end.

My impressions of the capabilities offered by Business Intelligence Technologies led me, first, to imagine pulling real-time data from multiple systems at the touch of a button, and to analyze that data whenever I needed to.  I began to enumerate those “non-analyst” tasks I could gladly abandon:

  • Waiting 10 minutes for a Crystal Report and starting the whole process over again when it fails
  • Getting yet another cup of coffee in the time it takes Excel to sort thousands of lines of data
  • Wishing I had created just one more PivotTable when I get asked a question I hadn’t anticipated
  • Updating my spreadsheets over and over…and over again with the most recent data
  • Pulling my hair out when someone replaces my formulas with typed-in numbers
  • Bouncing back and forth between multiple systems and multiple spreadsheets to put the data together in a new way
  • And the list goes on…

Even large global corporations with cutting edge technologies at their disposal can seem to be stuck in the dark ages when it comes to data management.  With every acquisition, another data source is added to the company, and converting disparate businesses to one common platform can be cost-prohibitive.  And so Accounting, Treasury, and Finance personnel find themselves working endlessly to pull data from each system on a monthly, weekly, or even daily basis, and then translating the data to a common language and feeding a high-level summary of the numbers into a corporate reporting system, completely losing any granularity in the process.

Business Intelligence Technologies puts in place an engine that works in the background, to pull the data so you don’t have to – in real time.  Excel doesn’t get bogged down with more raw data than it can handle. A user can fly through Excel just to arrange and visualize!  There's no need to send files via email or save them to a shared drive or Box folder for review; your colleagues can make changes and leave comments simultaneously, which are instantly reflected on your screen. 

The result? Freed-up time to focus on value-added analysis and collaboration, which is the whole point my work as a financial analyst in the first place.

First impressions count. I expect that solutions from Business Intelligence Technologies can count for a whole lot more.

 

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