For those of you who have children, you would’ve heard about Minecraft or will do soon enough. I have a 6 year old boy, and he has repeatedly asked for this game, a Nintendo Switch, and a list of many other gifts, as children do at this time of the year. I have to admit, I had never heard of Minecraft (closest I did was Minesweeper – remember that game?). So, in wait for the game one day in his life, my son has started to watch videos of other people playing the game online. Spending many hours watching him watching other people play made me think about how Minecraft can be relevant to financial processes such as accounting and analytics. From what I know, the game is about building different worlds, villages, and buildings—but it is really all about survival.
Finding the right materials / data
To get anywhere in Minecraft you need to build stuff, and to build stuff you need to find good quality raw materials. In the same way, to get anywhere with your financial reports or dashboards, you need to present the right information and to do this, connect to the correct multiple sources of data.
One key raw material in the game is wood, and to get this you need to chop down trees. You won’t chop down all of them, but just those that give you good quality wood. The raw materials then need to be stored somewhere. In a way, this is the supply chain that brought the raw materials back to whatever you’re building, and you may have multiple stores for this and quite similarly Alteryx allows you to store your data in many ways and thus helps you organize your supply chain.
Another aspect of finding raw materials / data, is having the right characters who know how to take down the wood and upskilled talent who have knowledge of the data in your organizations. This then goes down as variable costs on your financial reports, and the tools / platform to allow you to do this, things like operating costs / supplies.
Governance & security
In the world of finance and at Alteryx, this is very important, and it seems so in Minecraft, too. The players mine stuff and then must store this somewhere. It’s all about survival and there are security measures in place, so other players do not steal the raw material. You can have different ways to segregate the different types of raw material and identify what is going to be useful to what you’re building. Quite similarly, you can profile and cleanse your data within the Alteryx platform, apply your rules and logic in a governed and secured way, and in the world of finance, this is really just doing the accounting of your data/raw materials/line items on those reports.
Wood to a house / data to a dashboard
Eventually whatever you’ve mined, wood, stone, metal, ends up being part of a building or a house. The wood is turned into planks and this into tables and structures. Players must continuously refer to their materials and refine what they’ve built. In the same way, in Alteryx, you are building an end-to-end process that’s visual via workflows. You might have to revisit your data stored in multiple places, like SAP, Oracle or Snowflake, and iteratively build your process. In the game, the players are measured on the time and money spent, and this is the same in your organization too.
Time to market is very important and Alteryx allows you to realize the value and ROI on your processes, especially where you build a process out once and can scale this out across your organization.
When we think about analytics, the first thing that comes to mind is analysis but we don’t always think about the other important part, the synthesis. Analysis has become directly linked to technology and statistics, and I speak to customers who have moved from static PowerPoint presentations to more dynamic and proactive dashboarding.
Minecraft is about both analysis and synthesis and teaches us about experimentation – you need to explore your environment and try different things until they work and, in the game, you need to synthesize strategies and processes and focus on resource management and prioritization.
The world of analytics has moved from the static PowerPoint presentations and scorecards often produced from Excel models, and there is now an increase in people experimenting in the world of finance and analytics.
It was quite interesting to make synergies between Minecraft, Finance, Analytics and Alteryx, and it will be great to get your thoughts on this, too.
Now, as we approach Christmas I wonder whether Santa will make my son’s wishes come true and who knows, one day he will build Alteryx workflows to help his Minecraft strategies in the game.
I wish you all reading a very Merry Christmas and a very Prosperous Happy New Year. See you in 2022 everyone.
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