Spreadsheets and the Underwater Analyst
You’re an Analyst so you love data, right? Data is the oxygen of an organisation, but just as a living creature needs a heart and clean arteries to keep its oxygen infused blood flowing smoothly, an organisation also needs to maintain its systems and system interfaces to keep that data flowing smoothly and efficiently. As an analyst you will probably feel physical pain if your supply of data is cut off, and may even begin to experience panic attacks, but a good analyst will persevere in finding a cause of the blockage and find a way around it. That’s why we have spread sheets everywhere. Spread sheets are like virtual scuba tanks for an analyst, providing a personal supply of data to play around with in a world where the usual source is either unreliable to completely unavailable. What’s even worse is that the supply of data is generally under someone else’s control, which will often be your resident IT group. Need a report on Sales for a new product by region? Ask IT. Need the data on a daily instead of weekly basis? Better ask IT to change the extract. Need to know which customers are churning by a specific market segment? You guessed it.
So you get a report to tell you everything about everything, stick it into a monster spread sheet and start to play. But then the data changes. It’s no longer relevant and you haven’t been able to get an update. You’re blind and the presentation is tomorrow morning! You are facing the same reality that countless organisations are facing across the globe, which is that data held in spread sheets and on laptops around the organisation starts turning stale as soon as it’s loaded, and that can lead to organisational paralysis. Despite the promise of flexibility and agility spread sheets can actually cause inflexibility, as functional silo’s become more divided and inter-functional processes break down.
There must be a better way. If only the data was always to hand and you didn’t need to go to IT cap in hand to get a report that is obsolete before it’s delivered. If only you could get instant access to the data you need in an enterprise strength repository that automatically loads data 24/7, and then provides you with all the tools you need to transform, enrich, aggregate, correlate, forecast and generate beautiful charts to make sense of it all. Then imagine that the product that does all this is the core for a wide range of integrated solutions from billing to network management, asset assurance and cost management, and that you, or anyone else in the organisation, is now able to pull up to the minute analytics out from any those systems, as well as any other systems within your organisation, from one central portal. Then you would be looking at the Subex ROC, the powerhouse at the core of a comprehensive range of products that put control back in your hands.
Mark Jenkins has worked in the IT industry for over 15 years as a BI and Analytics consultant, and more recently as ROC Product Manager for Subex Ltd. He has designed and deployed solutions for global companies in many sectors including Insurance, utilities and telecommunications. Mark holds a BSc Hons in Computer Science from Manchester University (UK).
Spreadsheets fail to maintain a sustainable ecosystem. Collapse of the Ecosystem would be catastrophic for the business. A single spreadsheet getting corrupt can become the flap of the butterfly wing! Let me take a step back and elaborate…. Everyone loves “their” data and does not like to share it, unless there is something real positive about it, or something that brings a positive spotlight on the team or the individual. (Hence no doubt people do not like auditors a lot! Audit is the organizational health check, and not sharing negative information is a culture issue- more on that sometime later)… Read more »