Is the lack of timely available data harming your daily positions reporting and the ability to make effective decisions? Could hidden data errors be affecting your view on unrealized margins and exposures? Is excel used by your business for critical business processes that require high levels of preciseness and resiliency? If the answer is 3x yes, it might be time to provide your analysts with a vacation from spreadsheets!
THE DATA STRUGGLE IN COMMODITY BUSINESSES
Times are tough for commodity houses as margins are thinning due to increased competitiveness. The hunt for data expertise to help business gain a competitive edge is high and companies are seeking new ways to exploit information and insights to help them profit from price volatility and capitalize on opportunities.
In today’s fast-moving digital world, data plays a key role in businesses’ daily activities. Especially commodity businesses, dealing with vast amounts of global data, still rely on excel as their go-to data management tool. Excel, being one of the greatest inventions in the digital history, is easy to use, learn and can easily be adapted to business processes. However, as companies grow and their processes become more complex, more structural and centralized solutions are required. Timely and accurate reporting and analysis is a major challenge and cannot simply be effectively managed in spreadsheets in a sustainable manner.
SPREAD SHEET MANIA
One of the greatest challenges for commodity businesses is to keep a good overview of their global performance and exposure. In practice this means having daily actual and up to date insight in their overall portfolio, which is traditionally labor intensive, error prone and expensive. Especially as the underlying data usually resides in different internal and external systems and data sources.
Still many commodity businesses use excel as their core data management, preparation, visualization, analytics and reporting tool. Most of the time excel is what they know best and they do not have enough time to learn a new tool. On top, excel is usually considered “good enough”. Why bother fixing something that is technically not broken?
CAN’T SEE THE WOOD FOR THE TREES
Analysts often handle millions of data points daily, applying business logic and complex calculations. As data quality and consistency issues are often not visible or identifiable until reports are ready, much inefficient back-and-forth interaction is required to achieve consensus. By not having a transparent and centralized single version of truth which is visible to everyone, analysts must perform labor-intensive “data-fixing” tasks.
Analyst spend approximately 80% of their time on data preparation and only 20% on analyzing.
Analysts work with data from many different data sources and systems within the company. Working with so many data sources makes it difficult to centralize data in one place making it difficult to scale, visualize and derive value from data. This can quickly lead to confusion, scattered data and even losses.
SORRY YOUR SPREADSHEETS CONTAIN ERRORS – 88% DOES
Usually companies have analysts’ departments with a high number of people working on the same data files that can be difficult to maintain. Human error, data inconsistencies, security breaches cannot be avoided. Poorly managed data can cost companies millions of their operating revenue per year.
“JP Morgan lost 6 Billion from a copy paste error in a VAR model, the process of which was strained due to increasing pressures from the traders to meet deadlines.”
THERE IS LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL
All in all, it does not have to be this way, the answer is simple - automate and integrate! TRADESPARENT, built by the market for the market, can easily digest any amount of data across different sources in any format – centralizing, standardizing and visualizing. These tools are available for any size business whether you need an enterprise solution or bespoke functionality, the software easily adapts to your business needs.
Key benefits of using TRADESPARENT’s software services over spreadsheets:
1. Data Integration: Easily adaptable, flexible ETL for any type of data integration – just plug and play
2. Centralized: Single version of the truth “accurate” data repository for effective decision making
3. Coherent: Reconciliation checks for consistent and complete data
4. Value: Powerful analytics for insights creating a competitive edge
5. Efficiency: Save hours/days on data preparing, managing and integrating
6. Scalability: Control board allowing you to put the analytics in the hands of the people of your choice
Best of both worlds?
Still cannot break up with excel? Our flexible solution and data distribution feature allow for input vs output and can easily push your consistent and accurate data sets back into your spreadsheets.
Sources: 1. Wall Street Journal 2013. 2. What We Know About Spreadsheet Errors, Raymond R. Panko 2008. 3. The greatest spreadsheet errors of all times, Rebecca Fowler 2015