The Analysis vs. Reporting Dilemma: The Genesis of Decypher
After graduating from college, my first job was working as a business analyst at a large company. I was excited by the job description and the prospects of being part fortune teller (forecasting), part navigator (strategic planning) and part sleuth (trend analysis and root cause Investigation). As the years went by, I realized my true role was that of number cruncher and story teller. My stories were in the form of Harvard Graphic slides which morphed into PowerPoint when Microsoft provided me with a new canvas for reporting weekly & monthly numbers. These reporting activities consumed most of my workday.
Not only did this repetitive churning of reports grow monotonous, but I realized we were not really adding value as a team. We had scores of people weaving fancy little PowerPoint and Excel presentations while foregoing our true purpose of improving business results. Since the presentation requests were coming from our corporate headquarters and from people with much snappier job titles, we were not in a position to abandon our storytelling efforts. This is when I decided to try and automate the manually created reports. Since most of our tasks involved updating existing reports with new weekly or monthly numbers, I figured there had to be a better way. There had to be a way to automatically update all the reports and distribute the graphs, presentations and charts without so much manual work. This inquiry paid off and after buying the Cliffs Notes version of the Microsoft Access training manual, I was off and running. This became my passion…to automate the creation and distribution of as many manual reports as possible. I knew this would free my team from report generation and create more time to forecast, plan and to help improve business results. I also knew this would boost morale because these analytical tasks require more skill and brainpower than presentation building. This would create time for more rewarding work while still satisfying our presentation hungry bosses.
In the first month of implementation, we automated 95% of our reports and even automated the email distribution. As a result, we were able to reduce our presentation work from 75% of our team’s efforts to a mere 10%. We emptied the document shredders and had a little ticker tape parade through our department to celebrate this success. The reduction of reporting activities allowed us to expand our analysis and business intelligence work. Our work became more meaningful and rewarding. One of our first uses of the extra time was to complete a cost analysis that identified wasteful spending. As a result, we were able to reduce annual expenses by 7%.
I spent nine wonderful years working on automation and creating mechanical graphic presentations as well as performing more fortune telling, navigation and sleuth activities in my latter years. As I entered my 10th year, I decided to take my magnetic nameplate and rubber tree plant and start Decypher, a Data Mining Company in Berkley, Michigan. Eighteen years later, we are kicking out some pretty sweet stuff with a staff much brighter than myself. We are still headquartered in beautiful Berkley and moved into our newly renovated office in October of 2016.
Founder of Decypher Corporation