Altair Newsroom

Executive Insights

Streamlining Innovation by Drinking Our Own Champagne

By Jim Scapa | Chairman and Chief Executive Officer | January 29, 2020

As the founder and leader of Altair, I am constantly thinking about providing the best workplace for our people. How can I remove obstacles to innovation? How can I help free up time for our team to focus on value-added work, where they can use their bright minds to think and problem solve instead of performing repetitive “busy work?” The answer is simple: use our own tools.

When we acquired Datawatch in 2018 we were – and continue to be – bullish on the promise of using their data preparation, predictive analytics and machine learning (ML), data streaming and visualization tools to help customers make smarter decisions faster. When combined, the power of ML and artificial intelligence (AI) promised breakthroughs across all industries and segments. And guess what, we are seeing those improvements within our own processes.

I am proud of our people and feel it’s my responsibility to provide the best climate and culture for innovation and creativity. When burdened with less meaningful work, our teams’ full potential goes untapped. For example, they are better suited to think and problem solve than to do data entry. If we want to provide the best for our customers, we need to operate at our peak internally as well.

One of our goals in 2020 is to streamline several functions in accounting and finance, and with our own data analytics tools we can automate many processes helping us to achieve that goal. Case in point; Altair’s accounts payable department had very manual processes for almost everything it touched. One of those tedious tasks is a weekly check run. This run is performed starting with a “dump” of the data scheduled for that week, looking for any issues that prevent payment and then finally, starting the process of prepping payments. This process in its entirety can take roughly 2.5 days to perform.

Enter, Altair Monarch®, our best-in-class data prep tool. Monarch has essentially shaved off one full day each week of time and effort on the report. That’s 52 days annually – nearly two months! Let that sink in for a minute. Imagine what your team could do with that time saved.

I like to spend time talking with our team, gathering feedback and input (I firmly believe open and honest communication makes us better). I was speaking to Crystal, who runs our accounts payable department and she shared that this automation has “drastically improved” her work life for the better. And this is just the beginning, there are several other areas where we will be implementing automation thanks to our data tools.

Our Enterprise Business Solutions team is utilizing our collaborative data preparation and marketplace solution, Altair Knowledge Hub™ to curate and share data. Reports from this data are visualized using Altair SmartSight™, which provides insight into the current and future total cost of employees.

On the cybersecurity front, we are using Altair Panopticon™ to visualize live streaming data to help us spot any abnormal cyber activity and to benchmark and monitor normal activity. Panopticon will provide alerts to any security breaches and awareness/monitoring of our information systems.

I’m thrilled with the immediate impact this software is having on our own business and confident that our solutions can improve our efficiency and productivity.