AutoExcel

Premise

Devious Solutions was approached by Halcrow, to improve on some of their processes when generating reports. Halcrow had raw telemetry data that needed to be refined and entered into their analysis software. The existing workflow tied up two full-time employees (graduates) to perform data entry and management. After a quick consultation, Devious Solutions was engaged to implement an automated data entry program for that system.

Description

Devious Solutions analysed the current workflow to determine a way to proceed after conducting meetings with the principal stakeholders in the project.

Due to the corporate IT infrastructure of the target computers, there were strict limitations on what software could run. We developed the end solution in Python, but used the Java virtual machine to execute the program (Jython). By using Jython, the software could run on the corporate systems without needing to explicitly whitelist our solution.

“Why not just use Java?” I hear you ask. At the time, Java’s integration with Microsoft Excel was limited in comparison to some of the libraries available to Python. Some of these limitations would have required compromises on the end system functionality. To implement the functionality required would have greatly exceeded the time and budget expectations of the client.

“Wait, Excel? Why not just use macros or something like Visual Basic?” Great question! Company policy blocked work systems from running these solutions, especially if some of the target systems were in remote environments.

Outcomes

A task that would have previously taken hours to complete could be completed in minutes. We were reliably informed that it was “just about the right amount of time to make a cuppa“.

With this one small change, reports could be submitted more quickly – allowing our clients to get paid sooner. Amazing what magic a spot of automated data entry can do!

"I don't need you, I have wifi" mug of tea. No milk, no sugar, leave the bag in.

* No graduates were harmed fired in the making of this project – they were able to do the jobs they were originally hired for!

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