Using Analytics for a Just-in-Time Data Project: A Financial Director’s Perspective
Posted by James Courtis-Pond on January 11, 2018

Ed Perrett, the financial director for Park Cameras, was heading into the crunch time of his year, and he wanted some help.

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Park Cameras is the U.K.’s largest independent photographic retailer, and Perrett was responsible for reporting the company’s huge stock of photographic and video equipment—a vital task, but one that had proven to be highly time-consuming during the company’s busiest time.

“Planning for Christmas and January is the most productive and riskiest time of the year,” Perrrett explained. “The balance between shifting stock and creating value out of a marginalized profit event requires careful inventory analysis within a small timeframe. I would normally expect to spend a week on this task.”

Perrett realized that data analytics technology could make the task significantly easier and more efficient. “As an FD, I’m acutely aware that in an increasingly competitive and data-savvy marketplace, it’s critical to have access to smart business intelligence that builds value,” he said.

But time was of the essence. Any BI solution needed to not only produce accurate, current, and relevant data and analytics, it needed the capability to be implemented quickly and provide immediately actionable insights. It needed to be “just-in-time.”

Where to start?
Perrett understood any bottlenecks in the process would undermine any solution he selected. He also wanted a solution whose value could be demonstrated without delay. “A long-term investment like this could only be considered once some real experience of how Park Cameras would use its data at departmental level was gained,” he said.

However, Perrett was frustrated by the time involved in onboarding and evaluating typical data analytics technology. “When I reached out, most BI vendors were flogging bits of the puzzle with rigid products and ties-ins, expensive and complex licensing, and lots of upkeep,” he said.

Then he found AnyData Solutions.

“What I needed was a company to help me with a priority project to build the ongoing financial case for data analytics, and it was at this point I was introduced to AnyData and we discussed a just-in-time analytics solution,” he said.

It’s important to partner with a team that understands all your objectives and priorities—short, medium, and long-term. In this case, AnyData’s just-in-time solution met Park Camera’s immediate need for fast data-driven, value-yielding results.

What happened next
AnyData’s secure, self-serve, cloud-based Kwiqvis tool did the heavy lifting. It can load, fix, and join any files (like Excel, .csv, or .txt) literally in minutes.

“As a business user, I opted for self-service, cutting out the cost of delay associated with developers, IT experts, and access,” Perrett said. “In my role, data must be current and accurate, so being able to use it when and how I wanted ranked high on my shopping list. The experience was friendly. The tool bar was familiar, and I was instantly able to slice and dice straight to key information and instantly see associated issues such as bad data input, which was interesting.”

It took only 10 minutes to load a 6,000-line spreadsheet into KwiqVis and create a full stock report.

“Within 20 minutes of loading my data and seeing a report, I was able to analyse and digest my inventory using the highly interactive dashboard, which I was even able to email straight to finance, operations, and sales from my workstation,” Perrett said. “Having the sales stock earmarked and processed with absolute accuracy also created greater control and compliance measures going forward. It not only saved me a ton of time, but staff bought into the report and put the data into action immediately. AnyData’s solutions are highly recommended.”

Topics: analytics, KWIQVIS

Written by James Courtis-Pond
James Courtis Pond, founder and Chief Executive Officer of AnyData, is a former finance lawyer for Clifford Chance & A&O, and Board Member of Edision Mission, First Hydro and Fiddlers Ferry power stations.
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