We loved working with BT as our agile multi-disciplinary approach brought together our strong Alteryx capabilities and our regulatory understanding to help them achieve their ambitious targets .
BT Key Stats
Department: Regulatory Finance
legacy Excel models replaced with Alteryx
members of the BT team upskilled in 2 weeks
reduction in time to insight
A сascade of manual effort
BT Group (BT) is the UK’s leading telecommunications and network provider and a leading provider of global communications services and solutions, serving customers in 180 countries. Its principal activities in the UK include the provision of fixed voice, mobile, broadband, and TV (including sport) and a range of products and services over converged fixed and mobile networks to consumer, business, and public sector customers. BT provides managed services, security and network and IT infrastructure services to support global customers’ operations all over the world.
As a company that services the public, BT must comply with strict reporting regulations to protect consumers as well as maintain healthy market competitiveness.
Previously, BT used more than 140 legacy Excel models to run its regulatory processes. Because of the network of linkages between multiple models, BT had to update and run each of the 140 models in a specific order, a process they named the 'Cascade'.
Running the Cascade during a compliance cycle required a large team and took up to four weeks for a single run. The Cascade had to be run multiple times before the reports were ready to be published each year, requiring a significant amount of time and resources.
BT also faced a number of other challenges using legacy Excel models including:
- Cumbersome change control: With complex logic buried deep in cell formulas, it was difficult to audit changes in Excel.
- Risk of errors: Having 140 complex Excel models meant error reporting was a never ending and frustrating job as even very small errors needed to be reported to regulators.
- Knowledge management: Excel isn’t the best tool for annotation and knowledge transfers, so with 1,500 unique data inputs requiring specific methodologies, knowledge transfers became immensely difficult.
Automating the cascade at breakneck speed
Nearly 50 BT employees were trained over a two-week period through a mixture of self-serve learning materials from Alteryx Academy and formal sessions delivered by Alteryx and PwC. The teams then began working in an agile, sprint-guided approach which allowed them to successfully re-platform the 140+ Excel-based cascading models in just over 16 weeks.
Having joined BT to make people’s lives easier through digital transformation and data democratization, Ilya Dronov, Head of Digital Transformation – Group Finance at BT, knew the task at hand would be difficult, especially with the pandemic creating an increasingly virtual environment. He set out to accomplish three major initiatives:
Leveraging the simplicity of building in Alteryx, BT and PwC developed workflows using a set of “golden standards.” This included a standard set of rules around which tools to use, relative paths, ensuring calculations were dynamic, and other conventions to aid teamwork. Using Alteryx servers, BT crunched through millions of lines of data and was able to achieve their first initiative of making regulatory modeling both faster and easier to complete.
Alteryx’s native in-workflow commentary functionality helped BT check off their second initiative – achieving model transparency and simplifying change control and audits. Using Alteryx’s automation diagnostics and PwC’s accelerator tools and expertise in Alteryx Automation, they built model prioritization. The team was able to see workflow building blocks and easily trace calculations from start to finish by color coding workflows and utilizing tool containers.
To accomplish their third initiative, BT embedded links within workflows that led to the relevant documentation within their Confluence instance. This made navigation through workflows seamless for audits, reviews, and handover purposes.
After an additional round of optimization where efficiency improvements were identified within Alteryx workflows, BT reduced over 40% of the workflows within the cascade and published them to the Alteryx Server. They utilized macros to schedule the run sequence and enable automation. With Alteryx and PwC, Ilya’s and the BT team’s vision was fully materialized.
A visible transformation
The BT team prioritized speed, transparency, efficiency, and knowledge management to achieve amazing results including:
- Faster and easier modeling: Powered by Alteryx Server, BT saw 75% reduction in man-hours required to run the cascade and showed 60%+ runtime performance improvements over desktop implementation.
- Improved transparency: With Alteryx’s workflow commentary feature, analysts and auditors can pick up models built by others, quickly understand what the model is doing, and complete their work.
- Better knowledge management: The new Alteryx-powered cascade, combined with Confluence, allowed the BT team to provide a transparent, scalable, and repeatable regulatory reporting process.
- Excellent ROI: The reduction in manual effort will allow BT to recover the costs of the transparency project within a year while improving their service to the regulating committee.
- Innovative controls tools: A range of supporting workflows will help the team identify changes to the data or workflows and streamline audit processes.
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