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17 May 2017

Overwhelmed by complex data?

by Jonathan Watters Senior Manager

Businesses have never had more access to data – and that can sometimes bring enormous problems as well as benefits. The more data you have, the more difficult it can be to organise, analyse and make use of. Fortunately, there’s technology available to help.

Managing big, data-heavy projects can be daunting. To give just two examples, we’ve worked recently with a company that needed to review its data for thousands of counterparties for compliance with anti-money laundering legislation. The company was given six months to complete the review, which would mean processing, checking and (if necessary) remediating 5,000 case files, each one of which had many supporting documents.

In another, we worked with a national government that needed to review more than 1,000 capital projects and decide on a case-by-case basis whether to cancel or continue with them. Each one of these projects involved many contracts and supporting documents – they all had to be reviewed by up to four different teams, each with their own perspective and level of security clearance.

This sort of project is by no means unusual in modern business. The good news is that the data you need will almost always be available. The bad news is that there’s invariably so much of it that making sure that you have everything you need, and are reviewing it in the way it needs to be reviewed, is a massive exercise.

In practice, projects like these means combing through a mass of documents, checking and confirming details, consulting with third parties, and then making a decision. Each step is independent, but interrelated – and each has to be followed in the right order, to the letter, leaving a clear audit trail.

This is where custom workflow tools come in. In the world of big data you need technology to bring information together in a logical and helpful way. PwC Pathways, for example is a web-based document management and workflow platform that’s designed specifically to make complex information review projects simple, straightforward and flexible.

Pathways is easy to use and visual, meaning you don’t need to be an ‘expert’ to use it. It can be scaled up to handle even the biggest and most complicated of projects. Typically, we spend a few weeks working with the client to customise the Pathways platform to fit their particular needs and make sure that their team is comfortable with it – after that, they can then carry on with the work themselves.

A custom workflow tool like PwC Pathways helps makes sense of data-heavy projects – making sure that you always get the best out of your data.

If you would like to discuss these issues, or the impact of emerging technology or data and analytics on your industry, then contact our Data & Analytics team.

by Jonathan Watters Senior Manager