The Investor Relations Vice President of a major diversified corporation required an automated system to accumulate their stock ownership and transaction data over time to meet several key information needs:
Much of this information was available via various online reporting services. Accumulating the data required that they log into numerous online systems, print reports, compare reports to previous data to find changes, enter data into spreadsheets for tracking, and then manually create the necessary management briefings and reports as needed.
The Investor Relations VP wanted a system to automatically log into all the systems, capture the data, analyze it for changes, and produce alerts and reports based on a set of criteria.
To create this system tools were needed for several functions. First, a tool to log onto the various online services, capture and parse the data, and store it in databases. Second, analytic tools to compare, summarize, and manipulate the data. Third, reporting tools. The reporting tool would need to be able to produce report quality graphs, charts, tables, and other elements for management reporting. Ideally, the result would be word processor ready for manual editing and final reporting.
An integrated software tool was selected that included modules for spreadsheets, databases, graphics, word processing, and communications. This package also included a high-level macro and programming language that could be used to automate functions within and between modules.
Development initially involved writing the communication and data capture modules. Once data was being accumulated the analytic modules were developed to pull data from various databases and analyze it for unusual activity based on several criteria. The data was also accumulated for various types of reports. A series of automatic daily reports were created. These included any alerts that were identified. Periodic reports were created that the user could select and produce based on criteria they entered. All variable data for the communications module, alert criteria, thresholds, and other user specific data that could change over time was placed in a user profile table to facilitate ongoing operation and maintenance.
A prototype system was presented to the client within one month. The client was extremely happy with what they reviewed. It met all of their needs as requested. However, reviewing the prototype gave them an opportunity to think creatively about what the system was capturing and how they were reporting it. They identified a series of new reports and additional alert criteria that they requested be added to the system.
The production system was delivered six weeks later. All functionality was included in the system. Within three months the system had alerted senior company management to several large investor transactions and was instrumental in justifying a new corporate initiative to attract smaller individual investors as owners of the corporation’s stock.
This system was subsequently commercialized as sold to six other corporate investor relationships departments.