Here are some thoughts that will give you an idea of how I think and work.
Gather… Analyze… Judge… Execute… GAJE is a way of looking at what we do every year, every project, every day.
Gathering and analyzing information take valuable resources (time, energy, money) needed to do the second two, more important actions – making a decision and acting on it.
A customized business solution can automate those first two tedious tasks, creating systems that take raw data and turn it into useable information – quickly and accurately – for better, more informed business decisions.
Data is always moving. The way I see it, there are three phases of data processing:
- Input. Data can be entered into a system by a user interface (such as a form), fetched from an existing source (like another database or a flat file), or calculated using existing data (e.g. if you have length & width, the area of a rectangle can be calculated). Some data is procured from FTP sites or online downloads, then uploaded via a flat file. Other data can be acquired from Excel add-ins such as Bloomberg’s market data functions.
- Processing. Calculating or moving data from one place to another can make analysis easier. Models make routine calculations automated to leave decision-making an easier, more readily-identifiable process.
- Output. Whether reports summarize data or output each detail of every record, they are the end-result of the entire process. This is where everything must be meaningful, whether to the person reading the report or to the next application that will be reading the data (back to #1, Input).
This is data’s circle of life.
Understanding what the client needs is the first step in delivering the right solution.
“Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.” Einstein said that.
Data processing systems often get built over time, in various phases, by different parties, and frequently take on excessively complicated routines.
I’ve found that by taking time to understand the ultimate goals of any business need or system, time-savers and increased data integrity can usually be found.