Adrian Evans, BEng, BSC, MCP, MCSA, CIO / CTO AJE Consulting, Indigo DQM Data Management, Indigo DRD Data Reporting Software

IT leaders face continued new challenges with ever-changing and complex business Data

CXO THOUGHTS
Adrian300dpi IT leaders face continued new challenges with ever-changing and complex business Data
Adrian Evans, BEng, BSC, MCP, MCSA, CIO / CTO AJE Consulting, Indigo DQM Data Management, Indigo DRD Data Reporting Software

My name is Adrian Evans and I am the CIO / CTO of a technology specialist, IT consultancy and data management and reporting solutions based business in the beautiful landscape of North Wales, United Kingdom.

Holding degrees in mechanical and electrical engineering and software engineering I am also Microsoft certified. One of the UK’s leading specialists with 20 years’ experience in business working with clients from diverse sectors and solving some extremely complex and challenging issues with enterprise data and reporting; my experience is both varied and unique.

During the years working with my clients I have adopted a very hands on approach talking through different options and concepts to enable the most efficient and cost effective resolution of difficult tasks.

In some instances I have been approached because companies own vast IT departments have been unable to solve specific or complex reporting requirements and needed a specialist with specialist tools to do the job. The most frequent requests from clients are to produce high-level management information reports (MI) required for the evaluation of important financial indicators that business directors and managers need to make critical business decisions.

A client I helped in 2014 had a network of financial advisors and the data captured by the 3rd party software solution used by the network was ‘tricky’ to report on and analyze because of the nature of the data being a mixture of different formats.

They needed management information reports on the performance of the advisors in their network for an awards ceremony around Christmas 2014. The standard out of the box reporting solutions by some of the market leaders struggled to work with this mixed data and schema limiting the information that could be presented in the management reports to the business leaders and so a unique approach and implementation was required using our own custom reporting tools.

The data was stored as a mixture of relational and hierarchical so needed a two pronged approach with standard querying using SQL and then XQuery to access elements of the XML stored in the database. All this then needed to be knitted together with certain hooks in the data to produce a report with performance indicators on advisors and firms in the company network.

This was a big task but all the reports were produced in time much to the delight of my client and the firms that won prizes based on the management reports produced for advisors and firm performances.

I believe by taking the time to understand the importance and value of client data, and more importantly, how to interpret and monetize that data, that is certainly the best approach to help businesses increase their value and reach their objectives in a much shorter period of time. Adaptability is also important as each data set is unique to each client and therefore requires a different perspective each time and an understanding of what the client wants from their data. Often clients are completely unaware of the importance and value of some of the data they may have in their possession or how to analyze, extract and report on their data. This could be customer data or their own marketing data which can be used and leveraged to their own business gain with the potential to increase business profitability.

One common thing that has become apparent with a lot of the clients I have worked with over the years is the disarray of different data formats and types with often important and mission-critical data often being stored in Microsoft Access databases, spreadsheets, and other disjointed formats. This presents a number of problems for businesses who want to maintain a certain level of compatibility for the sharing of data and content but also need to consolidate and report on their mixed data assets.

The areas I have consulted on frequently gave me some valuable insights into areas of client data hence the reason for developing new software tools to assist me with my work and the important help I provide to businesses.

By using our own specialist tools developed over the years as a result of the problems I have encountered I have been able to provide services and solutions to clients with very complex reporting requirements that had previously remained unsolved.

When dealing with new challenges it is always best to keep an open mind and of course, learning new technology and adapting to rapidly changing business ensures you can stay at the top of your game in demanding and dynamic environments.