We had the chance to connect with many Quantrix customers at our annual Seminar by the Sea user conference, and several of them agreed to share their stories on video. Henry Shin is the principal of Power Market Consulting, and has used Quantrix to develop OASISLive, a tool that models congestion revenue rights (CRR) in California’s power market.
The owners of power lines and towers have introduced financial rights to transmission capacity, and these CRRs are a financial instrument traded by banks, trading houses, and power marketing firms. Power Market Consulting’s OASISLive uses Quantrix’s multidimensional data modeling technology to model CRR transactions.
“I saw right away that the fundamental approach to looking at problems people are dealing with is very different with Quantrix,” says Shin in the video. “We’re in the business of helping our clients…we want to improve and change the things they do.”
One of the most fascinating aspects of working for Quantrix is seeing the different ways that companies use our multidimensional modeling solution. We have plenty of companies using Quantrix Modeler for cash flow forecasting and business planning – but every once in a while we find that one of our customers is using our software to help change the world.
Daktari Diagnostics realizes that diseases such as HIV and AIDS cannot be eradicated until they are diagnosed. It’s relatively easy to do that in the US, but not all countries have access to advanced medical facilities. Daktari’s solution brings the laboratory to the patient – its mobile diagnostic device turns HIV-related test results around within 15 minutes, and has the potential to revolutionize healthcare.
We’re excited that the company is using Quantrix to fine-tune its device. According to company CTO Fred Farber, the ability to create formulas once, drag and drop them into multiple matrices, and view comparisons of multiple dimensions is key to its efforts.
Learn more about how Daktari Diagnostics uses Quantrix Modeler to diagnose its medical device.
Quantrix is known for its many uses in business and finance, including for its ability to develop ad hoc scenarios that provide insight for business decision making and for its ability to develop comprehensive business plans and forecasts. But the multidimensional nature of the Quantrix Modeler solution means that it can be adapted to a number of information management applications as well. One case in point is the risk model developed by Quantrix customer Montana Associates that helps companies prepare for legal issues such as e-discovery on their unstructured data. A new article in Sandhill.com provides insight into a new application developed on the Quantrix platform by Montana Associates.
Montana Associates specializes in information management and governance, and consults with Fortune 500 companies and other clients to help them map laws and other requirements against their data sets to create risk models.
According to principal John Montana, Quantrix Modeler “works better for risk models and is more flexible than a purpose-built tool would have been. And it cut our development time by a couple of years.”
Learn more about its new legal compliance tool, Khoste, which was just released as a SaaS product, in this piece by Sandhill.com editor Kathleen Goolsby.
Quantrix periodically surveys customers to discover trends in business and finance, and the most recent edition of our Business Planning Survey uncovered some distinct challenges in the profession.
Challenges with tool sets: Many users who must interpret data from a variety of model sources, including spreadsheets, listed deciphering model formulas as a top challenge. They also noted how difficult it was to find an efficient way to get data into a model.
Challenges with information: Few models are created using information and data from one source, so it is no surprise that users cited the problems of getting timely and comprehensive data as a top information challenge.
Challenges with collaboration: Most models are developed to provide insight to numerous members of the team. Yet business and finance professionals cited access as a top challenge – they need tools that enable simultaneous access to multiple users. Version control was another top challenge, citing difficulties of reconciling models that are passed around for input.
These challenges are legitimate – it’s difficult to make business decisions when you can’t figure out how data within a model is calculated, or when you’re not sure if you have the right version of a model. But none are insurmountable. All of these challenges can be solved with modern toolsets. Quantrix Modeler, for example, uses natural language formulas that are visible simply by clicking within the model. It tracks versions easily, and also “rolls up” multiple models into a concise, easy-to-understand consolidated model. Additionally, you can easily share your models with others in your organization via the interactive web enabled Quantrix Qloud.
The real challenge isn’t the lack of availability of the right tool sets, it’s the fact that too many organizations are reluctant to break away from the tools that they have outgrown. Inertia can be a powerful force, but we’ve seen the results that multiple customers have achieved when they deploy Quantrix. A business professional will use Quantrix for a limited purpose or within a single division, and when he or she shares models with others in the company, they quickly understand the benefits of a better modeling solution. Many Quantrix sales start out small, but quickly become enterprise deployments
If you’re interested in solving your business challenges, check out Quantrix Modeler for a 30-day trial. And if you’d like to see how your concerns measure up against those of your peers, download a copy of the Quantrix Business Planning Survey.
What challenges do you face in your day to day modeling needs? Use the comments field in this blog post to let us know.
Quantrix thanks our customers, partners and staff for making the 2013 Seminar by the Sea a great success. In September, customers joined us in Portland, Maine from Bermuda, Italy, Mexico, England, Ireland, and Austria, as well as from all over the
United States. They represented markets including financial services, higher education, software, reinsurance, energy, legal compliance services, consumer products, management consulting, and agriculture. We also were joined by staff from our parent company IDBS for our three-day event.
The Quantrix team presented an overview of future plans for the product line as well as details on new features. Brian Cabana, Quantrix Development Manager, explained new Qloud features such as the tabbed design, visual cues for users, ability to use notes, widgets, export to xls and csv, permissions, and how to use a Qloud model in DataLink. The team also conducted Road Map Roundtable sessions to gather customer requests for new features.
Ben Wake, who developed Quantrix’s new Timeline feature, explained Timeline’s Wizard, which enables users to easily set up a timeline, as well as other features such as the ability to drag and drop to link an entire timeline to another matrix, and the ability to have different timelines on different matrices within a model.
The Seminar included training sessions for beginners as well as for advanced users, where participants were able to receive hands-on instruction for how to best use Quantrix in their environment.
As at other Seminars, the Customer/Partner Case Studies were a highlight. John Taylor of Planning Models, Ltd. uses Quantrix for business modeling, planning, analysis, performance, and scenario what-if’s. He demonstrated how he uses Quantrix to help educational institutions forecast student admissions, retention, facilities needs, grants, tuition, and other business challenges.
John Montana of Montana Associates described how his firm uses Quantrix to manage the complexities of information governance, including legal requirements and risk management. Montana Associates uses Quantrix to manage and analyze huge data sets for litigation discovery, recalls, lawsuits, ethics requirements, document production and retention, and more.
Luca Erzegovesi, professor at the University of Trento, Italy, detailed how he uses Quantrix to manage his financial planning class. He demonstrated a creative and effective use of scripting to manage student registrations, evaluations, and dynamic communications to students about their exams. He also shared the sophisticated techniques he uses within Quantrix, including string comparisons, filtered list generation, message construction using variables, importing data from Sqlite3, and image management.
In addition to classroom sessions, presenters, attendees, and Quantrix staff had an opportunity to network during an evening sail in Portland, Maine’s Casco Bay on the historic schooner Wendameen. We viewed Portland Head Light, Ram Island Light, Cushing Island, and Peaks Island before docking at Great Diamond Island for a lobster dinner at Diamond’s Edge Restaurant.
We are already looking forward to our next Seminar by the Sea. Mark your calendar for September 10-12, 2014 in Portland, Maine. We hope you will join us! Let us know if you’d like to receive notice when we open registration.
I’ve spoken with many finance executives over the years and a question often comes up – how do I motivate the spreadsheet gurus in our company to embrace a different tool for financial modeling? This kind of question is not unique to Quantrix; it is often the case in any implementation of new software that people express some reluctance to taking the time to learn a new skill. One of the reasons in our particular domain is that many individuals who have gained mastery in spreadsheets feel that part of the value they provide to their company is being the “go-to” person whenever anyone has a question about how to do something. They have spent many years learning how to make spreadsheets do things they weren’t necessarily designed to do. However, in my experience, most of these spreadsheet gurus catch on to Quantrix Modeler in very short order. When they begin to use Quantrix, a light often goes off in their heads with the realization that they can do their tasks with much more speed, nimbleness and accuracy than they could have with the spreadsheet. In a real and tangible way, they are able to take their financial modeling skills to a new level and offer even greater value to their organization. That is a great motivating factor! On an organizational level, this is a major benefit to finance executives who are asked to make their teams more productive with fewer resources and is one of the key reasons they come to Quantrix. On an individual level, proficiency in Quantrix Modeler is a desired skill in the marketplace. Quantrix has over 1000 customers in 50 countries and we are often asked to refer individuals to employers who are looking for talent. So, investing the time to develop Quantrix skills will pay dividends in one’s career. For those who use LinkedIn, I highly recommend adding Quantrix Modeler to your skills in your profile. Simply log in to LinkedIn, go to Profile|Edit Profile, scroll down to Skills and Expertise, click Edit (blue pen icon), and type “Quantrix Modeler”. Then hit the Add button. You never know where your Quantrix Modeler skills will take you!
The Quantrix team would like to thank our customers and partners who participated in the 6th Annual Seminar by the Sea. This year’s event included three days of training and presentations during the peak of Maine’s leaf peeping season. While we spent most of the time indoors participating in sessions, we also enjoyed a “wicked walking tour” of the Old Port where we learned about Portland’s colorful and haunted history. This year’s event offered a variety of beginner and advanced topics, as well as a number of customer presentations. Special thanks to Armando Gonzalez who discussed his project with SABMiller, Max Jungjohan who presented his projects within the Chilean transportation market, Jim Heagney who reviewed his “CFO for Hire” projects with several start-ups, and Henry Shin who talked about his Quantrix-based data analysis and risk management solution for the California energy market. Our customers also benefited from ad hoc demos and discussions regarding all the interesting ways people are using Quantrix. We are already looking forward to next year’s Seminar!