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Past Analytics Excellence Awards

Excellence Awards 2016: Kiran Ramakrishnan - Most Time Saved

Author: Kiran Ramakrishnan

 

Awards Category: Most Time Saved 

 

Through automating processes we received a lot of management attention and a desire to create more automated and on-demand analysis, dashboards and reports.

 

Another area where we have benefited significantly is training and process consistency. No more are we reliant on training new resources on learning the systems and process or critically affected by sudden departure of a team member.

 

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Describe the problem you needed to solve 

We are a semiconductor company located in the Silicon Valley. We are in business for more than 30 years with 45 locations globally and about 5000 employees. We are in business to solve our customers' challenges. We are a leader in driving innovations in particular for Microcontrollers. The company focuses on markets embedded processing, security, wireless, and touch technologies. In Automotive we provide solutions beyond touch such Remote keyless or networking. Our emphasize is IoT applications. We see a potential in the Internet of Things market combining our products especially MCUs, Security and Wireless Technologies.

 

In this industry, planning is essential as the market is very dynamic and volatile but manufacturing cycles are long. Most electronic applications have comparatively short product life cycles and sharp production ramp cycles. Ignoring these ramps could result in over/under capacity. For a semiconductor company it is key to clearly understand these dynamics and take appropriate actions within an acceptable time.

 

To forecast and make appropriate predictions, organizations need critical information such as actual forecast, billing, backlog and bookings. Based on this information Sales, BUs and Finance are able to build models. As End of Life parts convert immediately into revenue we need to treat them separately. Typically semiconductors sales is based on sales commission. Sales commissions are calculated on product category and type. Therefore each line item needs to be matched to a salesperson by product life cycle. In public companies this is done on a quarterly basis and regular updates increase an organization's confidence to achieve set goals. As electronic companies are demanding more and more security levels to data access, consolidated dataset needs to be protected to ensure compliance with customer agreements. Large organizations also require data security to ensure data is only accessible on a need-to-know basis.

 

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Historically, people from these different groups manually created, cleansed and merged data and information into various files and sources to achieve insight. It is common to use different environments such as Oracle DBs, SAP, ModelN, SharePoint, Salesforce, Excel, and Access. This is extremely time consuming and requires a huge manual effort. Usually data consistency between different sources is not guaranteed and requires additional cleansing and manipulation. As every person/group has also their own way to gathering and consolidating this information it typically leads to different results and layout as it is hard for someone outside the group to clearly understand the other person's approach. These reports are regularly necessary a necessity and need to be complied on a weekly/daily basis on the refresh frequencies.  We also want to get independent of resources to update dashboards on demand. Current process makes the reporting heavily reliant on human resources.

 

Describe the working solution

In Alteryx we found the solution to our problem. Alteryx was utilized to join data sources of in different data formats and environments gathered from different departments including Sales, Finance, Operations/Supply Chain, and Human Resources.

 

  • The Sales department provides Forecast in an Excel worksheet. As the worksheet is being accessed and edited by more than 500 individuals, data inconsistency between fields (such as time dimension) is an ongoing issue and data architecture needs to be re-organized and consolidated.
  • The Finance department provides Billings in the format of Oracle Hyperion, where there are data inconsistencies between Billings and Backlog & Bookings due to system differences. Billings need to be merged with Backlog & Bookings to identify EOL parts for commissions and forecast are identified.
  • The Operations/Supply Chain department provides Backlog & Bookings through SAP, which also has data inconsistencies between Backlog & Bookings and Billings due to system differences. Backlog and Bookings need to be merged with Billings, and EOL parts for commission and forecast are identified.
  • The HR department provides Organization Hierarchy through SAP HANA, in order to apply a row level security on the dashboards later on.

 

To resolve the issues, all relevant data is structured and follows the overall defined data architecture described in Alteryx. First, Alteryx pulls relevant data from various sources and stores it in a shared drive/folder. Then, Alteryx runs its algorithms based on our definitions. A special script was developed to publish and trigger a refresh of the dashboard with the latest data on a daily basis. Finally, a notification via email is sent to all the users (more than 500) with a hyperlink, once the refreshed data is published.

 

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Describe the benefits you have achieved

Prior to the Alteryx implementation, a lot of time was spent downloading, storing, and consolidating the files, which resulted in multiple unexpected errors which were hard to identify. The accuracy and confidence level of the manually created dashboard was not very high, due to the unexpected human errors. Very often, the dashboards required so much preparation that by the time they were published they were already outdated.

 

Through the Alteryx approach, we have now eliminated manual intervention and reduced the effort to prepare and publish/distribute the reports to less than 1% compared to previous approach. In addition, through this streamlined approach we have stimulated collaboration on a global basis.

 

Departments such as IT, Finance, Sales are able to work much tighter together as they are seeing results within an extremely short period of time.

The other advantage of this solution is that it is now broadly being used throughout the organization from the CEO to analysts based on the defined security model.

 

Running_Time.pngHow much time has your organization saved by using Alteryx workflows?

It used to take us one week to create and develop the workflow. The biggest challenge we faced was to determine the individual steps and the responsible person as various resources and departments were required to contribute.

 

Through Alteryx workflow we are able to save more than 15 hours per week in data merging alone and at the same time we are now able to publish the reports/analysis on a daily basis. Through Alteryx we are now saving over 75h from various departments to run the process from end-to-end on a daily basis.

 

What has this time savings allowed you to do?

Through automating the process we received a lot of management attention and a desire to create more automated and on-demand dashboards and reports.

 

Another area where we have benefited significantly is training and process consistency. No more are we reliant on training new resources on learning the systems and process or critically affected by sudden departure of a team member.

13 Comments
Atom

Fantastic use case. Congrats!

Excellent post!!

Excellent Post!!!

I vote for Kiran.  Great job. 

I vote for Kiran, he has done tremendous work using Alteryx , introduced it to the company and the people. He was the champion of Alteryx at Atmel.

I Vote for Kiran,Great Job

I vote for Kiran.. Excellent work.

I vote for Kiran. Excellent work.

Atom

Fantastic job!  I vote for Kiran.

Great Work Kiran, I like it, and I strongly recommend for other Semis to follow