By Peter Miller
In my last posting, I talked a bit about what makes a data analysis program successful. I mentioned those that didn’t address all 3 components (people, process and software) were probably doomed to failure and would become back-sliders. I think there’s more to be said about back-sliders. Who are they and what do they look like?
A long standing ACL user and friend of mine, let’s call him Bruce, told me of what happened when he encountered a back-slider in his organization. Now before we continue, let me say that Bruce is a died-in-the-wool ACL keener. He’s what we call an ACL Champion. He is also an ACL Certified Data Analyst.
Bruce did tons of work to ensure that the people in his organization had the training they needed, access to support both his direct support and that or the ACL Help Desk. He worked with his IT guys to get access to their SAP data so the team could conduct their AP audits efficiently. Stipulating that ACL should be using to identify transactions over a certain dollar threshold for detailed analysis was part of the audit plan. All seemed well and truly in place.
Then one day Bruce was visiting one of his organization’s remote offices. He stumbled upon someone paging through spreadsheet of AP transactions. Manually. With the “Page Down” key. Absolutely flummoxed, Bruce asked what was going on. This particular person, who had been trained in ACL some time previously, said that they were more comfortable looking at data in a spreadsheet application and that they were seeking transactions over the threshold amount. Of course Bruce walked away silently, in somewhat of a daze, wonder what went wrong. I’m not certain what Bruce did after that.
But what happened here at ACL some time later was the realization that getting more people to benefit from data analysis is sometimes about letting the user choose how they interact with data and providing users with choices. Some people relate to different technologies, so we decided to embrace that.
In AuditExchange 2, we’ve provided the ability for users to access and view results via a new web-based interface. We call it Gateway. It provides non-technical users with the ability to view the results of analysis in an easy-peasy interface and allow them to do “light analysis.” By “light” we don’t mean hitting the Page Down key, but rather simple filtering, grouping and profiling of results. With AuditExchange 2 we have also enabled the storage and viewing of any file type – Word documents, PowerPoint decks, PDFs, images, spreadsheets, etc. So if a user is more comfortable consuming ACL results in a spreadsheet, they can do it.
Find out more: ACL Blog