A DATA DISCOVERY TOOL WITH EXCELLENT MS OFFICE INTEGRATION

Why D4E for Accountants
THE PROBLEM OF THE ACCOUNTANT
Many accountants today are faced with the problem of under-powered data analysis capabilities in their tool of choice - MS Excel. For example, to get business intelligence and enterprise reporting, many go outside Excel for web-based report-writing solutions. There are also 3rd-party solutions that profess to be "Excel-based", but lock the accountant into proprietary objects (formulas/buttons) in their spreadsheets. This makes it difficult to transport and reuse reports.  Even if these "Excel-based" solutions have data mart and data warehouse capabilities, they fail to impress accountants because of the extra workflow process. Extending the work flow process of the accountants' monthly period can be very costly for the organisation.  

Many accountants also believe that accessing Financials data should take much less effort than they currently do.  These access issues discourage opportunities to analyse data beyond Financials - such as product information, customer details, CRM, and other statistics. Expanding the data sources to analyse can result in more access issues to resolve.  


IMPORTANT IMPLICATIONS OF THE PROBLEM
Even though they have access to powerful ERP and traditional data mart / BI / DW tools, these accountants are unable to use the full potential of Excel. Their best attempts only result in, either:
- additional workflow effort in dealing with Excel and non-Excel toolsets; or,
- the proliferation of Excel objects with varying stages of proprietary links that prevent Excel reports from being used freely within accounting and management areas. 

This gap between a very easy to use analysis tool (Excel) and the very important data it needs to analyse - frustrates accountants and managers.   They do not seem to get the full value of their ERP expenditure. On the other hand, if accountants can efficiently connect Excel to enterprise-wide data, it will increase their productivity, enable them to complete their functional accounting work and then help guide the business.

THE DATAMART4EXCEL SOLUTION
D4E provides the answer by presenting an end-user tool that uses only options and menus already in Excel, while still providing data mart capabilities with unlimited filtering and unlimited combinations of how information can be retrieved from ERP data bases. More importantly, the workflow process is the same as if accountants are using Excel alone.

D4E achieves this by:
- simplifying access to the data sources,
- providing easy-to-use but powerful parameter prompts, and
- transparently integrating with Excel to execute powerful SQL commands to access data. 

Example
To get the latest transaction listing for the month, the accountant simply fills in intuitive account ranges. A spreadsheet is then generated with the list of transactions.  

Alternatively, the user selects a previously built and highly-formatted report. D4E then populates the user-written report with the latest data from the ERP - without the use of external proprietary formulas. 

The same spreadsheet report can be emailed to and edited by other Excel users (without the D4E tool). The report can still be refreshed  when reopened within D4E.  

In this example, D4E provides what many accountants have been looking for - a way to access large enterprise-class data using Excel alone. In so doing, Excel becomes a far superior business intelligence client tool than any provided by 3rd-party BI suppliers. 

Power Can Be In Your Hands ... Now
It is no surprise that users of D4E, will experience a paradigm shift when they have an easy method to analyse Financials. They will immediately see the need to do the same for other corporate information - non-Financials, customer information, CRM, and legacy Financials. 

Multiple data marts can provide access to any data source. If those data mart tools are found within Excel, the accountant will want to point those tools to as many other interesting sources he can get his hands on.

That is the kind of accounting power that D4E gives you.


Why D4E for IT Analysts
THE NEED FOR A DATA DISCOVERY TOOL
Many business analysts, data analysts and test analysts today need to discover information to be able to provide the best analysis of the business problem  they are faced with. Typically, they have to look at source reports, data dumps, and rely on difficult SQL many times.  Without a data discovery tool, their time is wasted on waiting for others to provide them with data. They sometimes need the very tool that they are being asked to build for the end-user (a reporting system). Many Business Intelligence tools provide data discovery tools, but they are geared for end-users and usually focused on a single pre-defined schema or data source (for example an ERP module.) Other generic SQL-based tools exist but are generic only because they require SQL programming all the time. 

Between the end-users who have high level BI tools and the programmers/developers who have SQL skills to view data; the business analyst is caught in the middle without a much needed analysis tool.  


IMPORTANT IMPLICATIONS OF THE PROBLEM
Without a data discovery tool for the project team, individual members will find their own different ways to analyse data. Some will be more effective than others, some may be faulty and cause analysis errors that impact the project results during coding or testing. Furthermore, there will be a proliferation of adhoc tools with no possibility of being improved or reused in the future.

With a common and effective discovery tool, the business analyst and data analyst can focus on the job of designing the system that improves the business. As they go from project to project, the same bare-metal data discovery tool can be reused.

THE DATAMART4EXCEL SOLUTION
D4E provides the answer by presenting an end-user tool that uses only options and menus already in Excel, while still providing data mart capabilities with unlimited filtering and unlimited combinations of how information can be retrieved from ERP or data bases. More importantly, the workflow process is the same as if accountants are using Excel alone.

D4E achieves this by:
- simplifying access to the data sources,
- providing easy-to-use but powerful parameter prompts, and
- transparently integrating with Excel to execute powerful SQL commands to access data. 

Example
To get the latest customer listing, the user simply fills in intuitive ranges or filter parameters. A spreadsheet is then generated with the list of customers and customer data.  

The same spreadsheet report can be emailed to and edited by other Excel users (without the D4E tool). The report can still be refreshed when reopened within D4E. Optionally, the database can be selectively updated using the same spreadsheet with revised customer data. 

In this example, D4E provides what many users have been looking for - a way to access large enterprise-class data using Excel alone. In so doing, Excel becomes a far superior business intelligence client tool than any provided by 3rd-party BI suppliers. 

Power Can Be In Your Hands ... Now

It is no surprise that users of D4E will experience a paradigm shift when they have an easy method to analyse the data. There will be a bigger focus on the design and analysis of the business system and less on finding and learning tools.


Why D4E for Business Users
THE NEED FOR A DATA DISCOVERY TOOL
Many business users and knowledge workers today need to discover information to be able to assist managers guide the business. Typically, these business users have to look at inflexible application reports and need to re-process them using Excel. Many of these reports were designed a some time ago and do not reflect much of the current data mix - new customer mix, new products, and new business rules. Without a flexible data discovery tool, they are constantly requesting for new reports to cater for changing business processes and information. Many Business Intelligence tools provide data discovery tools, however they are flexible only within the design of the Data Warehouse and intermediate data stages. Request for changes to Business Intelligence reports will typically involve changes to the Extract-Transform-Load (ETL) process by the IT team. The cost is high because IT resources are utilised instead of business users.  


IMPORTANT IMPLICATIONS OF THE PROBLEM
Without a self-maintainable data discovery tool for the business team, the business users will always be dependent on IT developers to fully cater for data discovery requirements. This will result either in further Business Intelligence ETL work or the need to create new reports that could otherwise have been created by business users. The business will need to wait for IT to respond to requests. This then limits their ability to respond to the market in a timely manner. With a common and effective discovery tool, the business users save resources and time. They are able to focus on the information discovered to run the business competitively.

THE DATAMART4EXCEL SOLUTION
D4E provides the answer by presenting an end-user tool that uses only options and menus already in Excel, while still providing data mart capabilities with unlimited filtering and unlimited combinations of how information can be retrieved from ERP or data bases.   

Datamart4Excel achieves this by:
- simplifying access to the data sources,
- providing easy-to-use but powerful parameter prompts, and
- transparently translating Excel friendly options to powerful SQL commands to access data. 

Example
To get the latest customer listing, the user simply fills in intuitive ranges or filter parameters. A spreadsheet is then generated with the list of customers and customer data.  

The same spreadsheet report can be emailed to and edited by other Excel users (without the D4E tool). The report can still be refreshed when reopened within D4E. Optionally, the database can be selectively updated using the same spreadsheet with revised customer data. 

In this example, D4E provides what many users have been looking for - a way to access large enterprise-class data using Excel alone.  In so doing, Excel becomes a far superior business intelligence client tool than any provided by 3rd-party BI suppliers. 

Power Can Be In Your Hands ... Now
It is no surprise that users of D4E will experience a paradigm shift when they have an easy method to discover data. There will be a bigger focus on improving the business and less on finding and learning tools.


Why D4E for Database Administrators
As a Database Administrator (DBA), do you manage multiple DBMS platforms and use different versions of Enterprise Manager tools for each DBMS?  Wouldn’t you like to have an easy-to-use common tool to view/update your database tables even if they are from different platforms, architectures and locations?Empower yourself by using a secured tool to access database tables using MS Office Excel and sharing this tool with others in the project team and even end-users. Implement security controls using the database user id profiles and not have to worry about releasing Enterprise Manager tools to inexperienced users.  

Without programming effort, create Data Marts that can use parameters to read and update data in conjunction with database owners. Assist database owners and developers by populating critical tables using Excel instead of repeated UPDATE/INSERT commands. Using Excel instead of SQL code, database table updates are easy to understand, audit, and document.

Immediately report and analyse application data securely from any database or ERP (IBM DB2, MS SQL, Oracle, or SAP).  With Data Marts linked directly to the database tables, you can analyse and compare between production and test data, new and legacy data, pre- and post-migration data, as well as between entirely different production applications. 

D4E is the tool you have been looking for because it provides business intelligence and enterprise reporting capability all within Excel.  D4E integrates with Excel friendly menu options and toolbars to create simple spreadsheets. You can create Data Marts with SQL written for any database and see them all in your Excel menu and toolbars. Because it can be deployed to all desktops with Excel, the same proven tool can cater for a wide range of reporting requirements by end-users.

D4E is a specialist form of Business Intelligence (BI) as it does not actually require the traditional BI components of Extract-Transform-Load (ETL) and/or Data Warehouse. D4E creates spreadsheets with application data extracted directly from databases. It does not use external formulas that can become missing values (‘#NAME?’) inside cells. Because there are no external formulas, other project team members (even those with no D4E) can open and update the spreadsheet.  By using a common BI data discovery tool, the data marts can be shared by members of the project team and any end-users who have Excel.


Why D4E for Chief Financial Officers

As the head of a large Finance team, do you feel you are being bogged down by the 80/20 dilemma of "data gathering" versus "data analysis"?   Wouldn't you like to have a tool that can compress your team's data gathering time, allocate more resources to data analysis, and leave the rest of the pack in the performance race? 

Many CFO's today are inundated with the preponderance of Business Intelligence tools that offer to improve the analysis of financial data.  Business Intelligence and OLAP tools offer the ability to slice-and-dice large amounts of information to provide a single metric. This helps the managers and the management accountants. But it does not help the Financial Accountants who have to collect accurate and reconciled information before analysis. It is this financial accounting work that needs to be compressed as it accounts for 80 percent of your time and resources. The very latest BI tools will try to squeze the data analysis time, but without working on compressing data collection time, your 80/20 benchmark actually gets worse!

What is needed is a tool to help Financial Accountants improve the time they take to prepare accounting information. Data Mart for Excellence is the tool you have been looking for because its powerful filtering and parameter processing provides a way for the Financial Accountant to slice-and-dice information from a large database, and produce, not a single metric, but a manageable set of results tailored to the financial accounting requirements. Without this tool, the alternative is for the Financial Accountants to depend on drill-downs with a lot of guess work - hoping that the required set of transactions and balances will appear on one of several ways to drill-down. It can also involve a tedious amount of search using large spreadsheets, if the results are not easily managed.

Data Mart for Excel, in true data mart fashion, provides the Financial Accountant a way to create a subset of any General Ledger information, by applying powerful filters across any segment codes and other parameters. With powerful filters, you are able to search based on a simple list of values, ranges, patterns or any combination thereof.  Because things are done entirely in Excel, you experience Excel's familiar look-and-feel. The powerful filters can be re-used in other searches and therefore provide the Financial Accountant a way to repeatedly massage/refine/manage the resulting data searches until the accounting data is complete, accurate and reportable.

D4E is a specialist form of Business Intelligence as it does not actually require the traditional BI components of Extract-Transform-Load (ETL) and/or Data Warehouse. Instead, it assumes that the ERP is the single source of truth and simply provides a data mart facility to directly access the ERP. This specialist form is also known as Accounting Intelligence.

Improve your 80/20 benchmark now, by getting your team to download and evaluate the Data Mart for Excellence free trial version. Download now.


Why D4E for Sales Managers

As a Sales Manager responsible for large clients and intermediaries, do you require the capture and upload of voluminous data for quoting and closing - such as details of client properties required to calculate price? Wouldn't you like to have a secure way for your intermediaries and clients to do this for you in Excel accurately and efficiently without exposing your systems and data to compromised SQL code in your templates. 
 
Many Sales Manages today use some form of Excel upload templates to capture customer information used to calculate prices to be more flexible and competitive. These templates must be designed to be secured and not contain SQL code that can be compromised. Any SQL code to upload must be found only within the Excel session when inside the organization. The Excel templates therefore contain only validation macros and helper functions that do not compromise central data.
 
Data Mart for Excel, in true data mart fashion, provides the Sales Manager a way to create a secure Excel uploader, by providing SQL code within addins installed only on authorised PCs. Data templates can be utilised outside the organisation; but when submitted to the back-office, the SQL code in D4E addins can access the data templates to upload data, just as easily as if the SQL codes were embedded in the templates. 
 
Use a secure Excel uploader now, by getting your team to download and evaluate the Data Mart for Excel free trial version. Download now.