Past Analytics Excellence Awards

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Author: Francisco Aristiguieta, Audit Specialist


Awards Category: Name Your Own - Best Engagement From Management


Describe the problem you needed to solve 

With operations in all time-zones and more than 10,000 people, my company needed an effective way to ensure we don't have rouge employees exposing us to corruption.


Before our Alteryx tool, we had a very complete compliance program focused on prevention; but we did not had a viable method to verify the mandates were understood and followed across the globe.


Describe the working solution

Our plan was to every month inspect every payment the company had done for signs of potential problems. We would do this by searching each invoice line for keywords that could represent problems.


The plan was simple, although the implementation would have been an enormous problem if we had not had Alteryx.  Here are a few of the (multiple) humps Alteryx helped us address:


1. Payment information was broken in multiple tables. Even if we would be working with Oracle data, our IT department insisted that we worked with off-line copies of the tables instead of connecting directly. This made our data source a series of multiple monthly csv tables, where the tables had no meaning on their own.


>> Importing all files in a folder, and using "Unique", "Filter", "Select" and "Join"; allowed me to conquest this first challenge.


2. I used "find replace" to do the keyword searches; which was a great step forward. Sadly, in many cases our chosen "keywords" were part of innocent words, which caused a plague of false positives for follow-up. i.e. the word "magenta" would be caught when we searched for "agent". 


>> Using "Formula" to set-up some "If-Then-Else statements", and carefully using "and" to set-up my conditions, I was able to safe list some of these innocent words and get rid of a large portion of these false positives.


3. Because the outputs of each run is stored separately, my last big challenge was making sure I didn't report/investigate the same transactions month after month as we re-ran the tests.


>> Solving this was easy through a collection of file imports, "union", and "join" to compare the current results to the recent past (keeping only new hits) in my analysis.



Describe the benefits you have achieved

Even if (after follow-up) the tests have not found any real problems, we are very happy to finally have peace of mind regarding how our employees are behaving across the world. This test was a great way to demonstrate the value of analytics to the more traditional pockets of our company, and its results have been greatly celebrated, giving me and my team some great exposure to the highest levels of my organization. Here are a few quotes from our clients:


  • "This is another SUCCESS for the Data Analytics initiative.  There is NO WAY we would have ever even known this was an issue without this capability "
  • "I believe that this proactive approach is clearly one of the most significant advances in early detection techniques that (the team) has implemented in quite a while"
  • "The mere fact that the word will get out that we have tools like this to potentially catch such payments should be a powerful deterrent"
  • "Our analytics practices have changed the way we (work) increasing our effectiveness and efficiency"
  • "I am looking forward  to work on another (analytics) initiative with (the team)"