The [Black Box] Killer
In the past when corporate finance came across a “Big” Data problem, very often the solution was created by a member of the team particularly good with VBA and access databases. They would often slave away for days on end creating the solution to this particular problem. This solution was usually needed due to row contraints in MS Excel 2003 or complexity around managing the next weeks/months data load.
Today some of these systems still exist. If you’re in corporate finance, take a moment to think about the part you dread most about month-end – It will probably be this system. Long abandoned by their original creators and supported by a process list stuck to the wall behind the last remaining workstation which can actually run the tool. The delegated management accountant shudders every month-end when the time comes for him/her to sit at the desk of the “Black Box”.
Next time you sit at the Black Box, perhaps consider the Black Box Killer, IBM Cognos Insight. Load your data in, perform the allocation/calculation via data spreading, or business logic. If needed create a couple of PDF Reports for management and put the Black Box to rest.