Data Analytics – Twirling data into information and information into intelligence

Trent Limited, is one of the pioneers of branded fashion apparel retail chain offering exclusive range of products through 250 plus stores across India with offline and digital presence. Having said that, technology plays a major role in managing activities and internal processes to streamline the operations within the organization. As one would say - ‘Information is the oil of the 21st century, and analytics is the combustion engine’, it stands so true in case of our organization. Since store operations involve immense data; prompt analysis and ultimate usefulness of predictive data models become important to achieve accuracy and integrity for constructive outcome. Excel spreadsheets are now substituted with ERPs like SAP and POS for improved structure and data discipline. With more simultaneous access support, it makes up for in speed and ease-of-use to go beyond limitations for data analysis in Excel.

One of the fundamental objectives of an auditor has always been to improve the quality of audit through data analytics. It becomes an efficient way to reliably process sizeable information from inception and put it into production through data analytics tools. This impelled our team to consider an option to deploy an analytical tool which will enable structured output and subsequently visualize as needed without recreating the wheel.

Audit data analytics involves the analysis of a plethora of data sets with primary objective of identifying anomalies and trends for further investigation along with providing audit evidence in support of the incongruities identified. It is evident that analytics is transforming audit activities and facilitating the introduction of disruptive technologies. It therefore enables us to examine far more data which would not have been possible earlier, which left us with no option but to resort to audit sampling. Needless to mention, audit is undergoing a data modernisation with rapid expansion in various types of digital analytical tools helping industries to perceive business activities with a different eye and changing approach in analyzing these high-volume data. Constant upgrades in improved technology are allowing us to concentrate our efforts towards outliers in population and test complete data rather than adopting to sample-based approach. The use of audit data analytics in current practice is allowing us to test audit evidence in real time.

Technology is a driving force that has led to significant strides in the audit profession. With core analytical platforms, this field has become more focused on innovation and improving problem solving abilities within the audit landscape. It remains a pivotal part of the move towards the audit of the future. Widespread availability of technology through analytical tool has translated in reaping benefits of saving time for downloading reports from ERP, reduced manpower and detect irregularities while yielding more truthful outcomes. The advanced collaboration of data analytics with technology has helped our organization to achieve functional and purposeful amount of automation that will characterize the next phase of data structuring. Real time data analysis has accelerated our vision to commence digital transformation initiatives at the store level by slicing & dicing at the item level, drilled down to the cashier level at the store.

Our team and organization stand to gain from changing trends with more people understanding data analytics and utilizing it to solve problems quicker than ever before. The benefits of analytics will have far reaching effect on internal operations with new possibilities unlocked in no time with technology upgradation.

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