A client in the retail industry needed a solution to aid in reporting of key business performance indicators. They were relying on manually prepared MS Excel reports that would be distributed to the executive management and board at the beginning of every week. The required solution should have the capability to update the specified performance indicators much more frequently (twice daily) and should also be available on demand to any member of the executive management and board. Finally, the solution should be independent of the manually prepared MS Excel reports and should be fully automated – from data fetch to analysis to publishing of results.
Using Arbutus Analyzer and a few python procedures, we built and deployed scripts that performed the following key tasks :
- Connected to and imported to Arbutus the required data tables from the organization’s Enterprise Resources and Planning (ERP) application, the Laboratory Information Management System and other required business applications.
- Prepared the data for analysis.
- Analyzed the data to independently compute the required business performance indicators and get audit exceptions.
- Sent the reporting data to a data repository we had built on the server.
- Notified the internal auditors of any exceptions that were raised.
Second part of the project was setting up the visual dashboards to report on the performance indicators. We built various dashboards on MS PowerBI and used the MS PowerBI On-Premises Gateway™ to connect PowerBI to our data repository.
Finally, we created a twice daily update schedule on the script and PowerBI. So twice every 24 hours, the script would fetch data from the applications, process it and send the results to the repository where PowerBI would fetch it and update the visual dashboards.
The entire solution was completely automated – no intervention was required at any point.
The biggest result of the solution was real-time reporting on the performance of the business. Thanks to the twice daily scheduling, it was possible to get the performance indicators every 12 hours. Since the process is completely independent of manual intervention, there was greater assurance on the accuracy of the financial indicators presented on the visual dashboards.
The solution also freed up the internal audit and IT teams from preparing lengthy reports every week as the system would do this automatically. Presenting the results on visual dashboards also made it easier and quicker to interpret the performance of the business.