Entergy had been providing Walmart with extensive reporting related to energy being used in all stores that were supplied by Entergy throughout the region. Overall, we understood that this level of service, including the reporting, was unique and not being done for other clients other than Walmart. The reporting had to be compiled and presented weekly. This effort required two (2) full-time professional accounting staff members, two (2) days each, to pull and organize the data from the Entergy IBM mainframe. The high-level granular tasks included exporting data from the mainframe, in turn importing "edited" data from it into Excel, and then integrating the formulas, charts, and sparklines to provide a simplified presentation of daily, weekly, and ongoing energy usage to Walmart.
Overall, we needed to develop and deploy a solution that would automate and replace the manual process described above. Our solution included Microsoft's task scheduler. We pulled the the data from the IBM mainframe using Microsoft SSIS. After the data was acquired, we had code in place to manipulate the data to eliminate, reformat, and modify the data prior to importing it into a spreadsheet (for further manual manipulation, if needed). We then programmatically added formulas, graphs, and more to provide the desired presentation.
Overall, the automation reduced the labor-intensive process (not enjoyed by anyone) to a 5-10 minute process. At the end of the day, the professionals who used to gather, organize, and build the presentation were freed up to do other things.