Technology Services Group

Waterfall Methdology

When you bring Pilothouse Advisors onto your team, we want to make sure you are there with us every step of the way. Waterfall Methodology is flexible because it allows us to go back to a previous step or multiple “waterfalls”.  The name Waterfall also comes from the nature of the methodology to complete everything before starting the next step, like how a waterfall cascades down.

Requirement Analysis:
Requirements of the system are determined and documented so they can be analyzed in a requirement specialization document.

System Design:
This phase in Waterfall is where you take the requirement specialization document and analyze it. After that is done, a system design is prepared. This system design aids in identifying specific hardware/software and requirements.

The system is built through small programs called units. Each unit is tested for its functionality in a process called Unit Testing. Once that process is complete, the units are ready to be integrated.

Integration and Testing:
All units that have been developed in the implementation phase are integrated into the system after the process of User Testing. Once the integration is complete, the system is tested as a whole.

System Deployment:
Once the functional and technical testing is done, the product is deployed in the customer environment.

In the event that things need to be changed or patched, we are there to provide assistance. Also to enhance the product, better versions are released. Maintenance is performed to deliver these enhancements in the customer environment.



Agile Methodology

Agile is designed to be a fast, easily updated methodology. The basis of Agile is “user stories” that encompass these requirements. User stories are what get designed, tested and implemented. User stories are small chunks that are built separately and then combined later. The user stories build up to the completion of the project. The fully developed and tested user stories are released into the work environment throughout the process. If the customer finds additional user stories are needed, then we incorporate the new user stories to the timeline. Once you are happy with the end product, then we stay in touch, offering support.



What is Enterprise Performance Management?

Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) is a method of business planning that relates to business intelligence. EPM involves evaluating and managing performance for a business to reach performance goals, enhance efficiency, or maximize business processes.

Enterprise Performance Management involves three main activities. The first is a selection of goals that you want your enterprise to accomplish. The next activity is to consolidate all relevant measurable information that is helpful to accomplish the goals that were set in the first activity. The final activity is interventions made by managers who have taken the information and applied a change.

Those managers who plan for EPM tend to rely on performance metrics related to value and cost. Evaluating overhead costs and how these costs relate to performance goal is just one example of how Enterprise Performance Management can work for you. Return on Investment is another key metric. Budgeting and forecasting is also an important piece of the EPM puzzle.


What is Business Intelligence?

Business Intelligence (BI) is a technology driven process that analyzes data and presents the information in an accurate way. BI is used to help corporate executives, business managers and other end users make better informed business decisions. There are a variety of tools, applications, and methodologies that people who are proficient in Business Intelligence use. They use these tools to collect data, prepare it for analysis, develop and run queries, and create dashboards and reports.

Benefits of Business Intelligence are: accelerated and improved decision making, optimized internal business processes, increased operational efficiency, discovering new revenue sources, and gaining competitive advantages. BI data can include historical, budget, forecast data as well as new information such as “big data” sources.


Spreadsheet Risk

Pilothouse Advisors are ready to help with all your spreadsheet needs. Spreadsheets are an integral part of everyday business practices. However, there are studies that have shown that an estimate of 88% of spreadsheets contain errors and 5% of those errors are serious. Some of the Spreadsheets errors are listed below.

Data Entry Errors:

This type of error occurs when a number is mis-typed or gets incorrectly labeled in the spreadsheet. There are many ways to prevent this, for example, by not allowing the data to be hand keyed in or using validation routines to check for errors.

Calculation Errors:

Calculation errors are the type of error that occur when Excel formulas are incorrectly applied or specified. Calculation errors can occur when the designer of the spreadsheet may be incorrect or the designer inserted too many rows or columns. Calculation errors are hard to detect because people that consume the spreadsheets typically assume that the spreadsheet is correct.

Aggregation Errors:

The tedious process of combining spreadsheets to summarize data has a tendency to introduce errors. These errors exist because of the sheer amount of spreadsheets that exist in a company’s business processes. The system we employ does the aggregation on its own so there is no risk of human error.

Common Understanding (One Version of the Truth):

One issue with individualized spreadsheets is sometimes people do things differently. For example, commission may be calculated in different ways that would make it difficult to accurately compare performance. Working together we establish a common model used system wide.

Out of Memory Errors in Spreadsheets:

In some instances, spreadsheets can become so large that even modern day computers cannot handle them.  Users encounter an “Out of Memory Error” when working with these files which can be a major time waster in trying to make the spreadsheet work or rebooting the computer.

Interpretation Errors:

Interpretation errors occur when the data is technically correct, but may be misleading. This error is the most difficult to control because it requires user to have extensive knowledge beyond what the data displays.

Despite these errors, most companies still use spreadsheets, in fact, 95% of companies use spreadsheets.