AnyData: Another Analytics Arriviste from Across the Atlantic

Maybe some good is coming of all the gross incompetence in public sector spending, unreasonably long payment terms, and multi-nationalization of contemporary British companies … the last few years have seen more Analytics companies start in the UK than in the rest of the English speaking world. Anydata, founded in May, 2013, is one in the long list of UK-based spend analysis providers that have been receiving coverage here on SI and over on SM over the past year or so.

It’s one of the more unique offerings as, in some ways, it has more in common with Agiloft, a BPM (Business Process Management) vendor which recently forayed into Contract Management, building its first application in a matter of days using its visual development environment.

Like Agiloft, and unlike many other vendors in analytics, Anydata started out by building a visual development framework upon which it built its spend analysis offering. This gives it a number of advantages which include, but are not limited to, rapid configuration, rapid report and dashboard construction, rapid visualizations (that is on par or faster than Tableau, QlikView, PowerPivot, Birst, and other platforms they are typically compared against), and rapid development of workflows to support additional data collection.

The analysis platform is centered around powerful dashboard-driven analytics that can be customized by client from dozens of dashboard templates that include historic, strategic, geographic, vendor, company, office, cost-center, and chart-of-account overviews as well as savings opportunities, invoice opportunities, and category opportunities.

The categorization is quite powerful, and currently second only to Sievo in functionality currently on the market. Sievo’s unique multi-pivot drill-down approach allows users to classify data in chunks in any way they want to define those chunks in any order in a very collaborative fashion, which is currently unique on the market today. And while the AnyData approach is not as collaborative, it is as powerful as you can define chunks not on pivots and values, but on queries which can then be replayed, in the order of your choosing, as data is reloaded. So instead of having to define a three level breakdown to select a specific group of transactions for a category, it’s a simple query — which allows for much faster categorization if you are a power user good at creating SQL queries. Much faster.

And, rather uniquely, it has a very powerful data intelligence feature that allows an analyst to query and inspect the data and meta-data on a recently imported data source for the purposes of validating the accuracy and completeness — an activity that should go well beyond just validating the basic check-sums (against the annual financial reports). With AnyData’s platform, you can quickly identify sums, trends, and outliers for any time period of interest, use sliders to zone-in and zone-out on potentially anomalous data, use filters to restrict to dimensions (and even facts) of interest, and understand the characterization of the data you are importing. Not only does this help immensely in cleansing, but helps you pinpoint errors that standard techniques miss in cleansing and classification.

It has additional strengths, and, of course, weaknesses compared to other tools on the market — which can be explored in depth in the Spend Matters Pro series co-authored by the doctor and the prophet [membership required] (Part I) — but this should give you a good introduction to, and flavour for, what Anydata is.

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