“Um, yeah. I’m also going to need you to come in on Sunday…”
Remember “Office Space”? If you’re a business analyst you’ve probably been there. Someone has a meeting or presentation next week. You were asked to pull together a few slides, charts, reports and visuals for them. Maybe it’s a revenue projection based on inventory, pipeline, cost of sale, and historical trend info, and also find what percentage of the Global 2000 accounts that consists of? That “quick analysis” has now forced you to work through the weekend, or pull an all-nighter.
Why? You have access to Salesforce.com, right? You should be able to run the reports you need, export to Excel and then create a few charts. Or better yet, import that into IBM Watson or Tableau. But, it wasn’t that easy. You can’t query your inventory control system, so you need to request that report from IT (which gets added to their queue). Cost of sale info requires expense report data, which is generated via PDF. You have personally been logging historical pipeline info in a master spreadsheet, but it’s formatted with macros, sub-totals and look-ups that will take some time to work with. And that Global 2000 list was just updated on Forbes.com, so you’ll need to import that somehow….This could take a while, unless you have the right data prep tool.
Whether you are doing weekly operational data consolidation and report reconciliation or analyzing trends and looking for market insights, you need to access, combine and clean this data fast! These tasks often push Excel beyond its limits, requiring a different, better approach. Self-service data prep enables any analyst to quickly and easily correlate multiple data sources, including multi-structured and unstructured data in PDFs and web pages. What once required manual data entry, VLOOKUPS, and IT creating custom views or reports can be streamlined and even automated for future use.
So don’t cancel your plans this weekend. Leave the office at 5! Get your life back. Spend more time analyzing data and less time prepping it, so you can find new insights from that data, get promoted and be the one presenting those findings at the next meeting. (And then take Monday off, too!)