Take control of your data, maintain your audit independence

Data is seldom cooperative, it comes in innumerable formats, and in many/most cases isn’t conveniently located in a Windows accessible database. In many situations the only “easy” organizational data is in the organization’s data warehouse or marts. Sadly, data warehouses are expensive, and so typically contain only the tiniest fraction of the organization’s data for which a compelling business case has been made.

What about the other 99% of the data? When you limit your analysis to the easily available data then you can cripple (or at least limit) the power of your analytics.

Sure, you can get at hard to access data by asking IT to flatten it, but this is a process that can take significant IT time and resources. As well, it has to be fit into IT’s already busy schedule, and compete against other mission critical projects. This can mean your data conversion may be weeks or months away. Even if this all goes well, your auditor’s independence is often compromised, unless you can independently verify or reconcile the data that is provided to other records.

What you might not think about is that a typical analytic project identifies new data requirements as it progresses. You produce one result, and this may change your understanding of the problem. This may lead you in another direction that needs new data. If you rely on IT for your data access, then each time you need additional data it’s a new request, and subject to the same delays. You might not even know if the data exists, or if it does, what it is called; further complicating your request and perhaps delaying delivery. This may result in analytics projects taking months instead of hours, or it may even mean that you can’t get the data by the deadline, so you abandon the (extended) analytic altogether, despite its apparent merits.

When data availability affects the tests you perform then it can have all the characteristics of a limitation of scope. You wouldn’t accept a scope limitation in any other form, so why now? This is why your analytic solution should access the widest possible range of data sources.

Imagine, if you will, that you could directly access all your company’s data, regardless of source, using the same easy interface as for Windows databases. This is exactly what Arbutus offers. Arbutus is proud of our support not only for the Windows and SQL platforms, but also your SAP, IBM mainframe, iSeries/AS400 and Linux data. With native servers on all these platforms, you can seamlessly access virtually any data, right now, and with minimal IT support. Your independence is maintained, your results are available immediately, and your analytics aren’t constrained.

Written by Grant Brodie