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Model2Cloud Platform

Published on December 11, 2015 by Rohan Fernando

Model2Cloud is an innovative platform that caters to the evolving needs of sell-side research publishing with the support of interactivity. The aim of Model2Cloud is to transform an analyst earnings model to an interactive, web-based model while maintaining relevant logic and charting. Model2Cloud provides the option of building reports based on HTML5 and JavaScript standards in order to provide support for any operating system on any device, be it IOS, Android or Windows.

Model2Cloud provides the freedom and flexibility to access and use original analyst models in decision making. It also offers investors unprecedented interactivity and helps investment firms keep their clients connected with them.

The heart of Our Model2Cloud platform is the Excel Conversion Engine, the main components of which are:

  • An engine to convert any Excel model into HTML and CSS. This may include single Excel sheet or multiple Excel sheets

  • A Script engine that converts all the model behaviour (Excel formulas) to JavaScript-based functions

  • A UI scripting library that generates charts and data tables, and pushes the Excel UI to the Web

  • Mapping engine to map UI elements with the generated JavaScript functionality

Model2Cloud is based on four concepts:

Simplicity:

After doing a comprehensive study on Interactive reports and how to replace PDF to provide more interactive futuristic reports, We decided to build a platform which can be the solution for the main obstacle sell side firms faced in publishing interactive models. This involved lot of the complex algorithms and API calls on native Excel files yet we wanted to make it simple for the users. We wanted to build a platform that can create interactive reports with few clicks. Model2Cloud’s target audience is analysts. Our thinking is that a busy analyst will not want to spend much time on a platform to create an interactive report. Using Model2Cloud, the analyst simply needs to upload the original model, choose the sheet/sheets to be converted and assign the range. With a single click, the analyst will be able to convert the Excel model to an interactive report, which may consist of thousands of script lines. All complex algorithms will run behind the user interface.

Branding and originality:

We believe an analyst model is the ultimate blueprint; Model2Cloud is designed in such a way that it gives first priority to the analyst’s original model. Starting from colour, height, width and font, multiple attributes will be used to generate an interactive report that has the same look and feel as the original that was created on Excel; it will have same chart types, colors etc. On top of originality, we provide branding options with our Model2Cloud platform, wherein an organisation can integrate its own themes (templates) into the system and an analyst can embed the model inside a selected template that has predefined colour themes and branding information such as the organisation name, logo and contact details.

Mirror transformation:

This is the most important part of the platform: it converts Excel logic to JavaScript to create a one-to-one mapping. The Excel cell will be replicated as an HTML input box and the Excel formula will be replicated as a JavaScript function. Charts will be converted to JavaScript charts, which are highly interactive (provide drill down and zoom facility).

Portability:

The output of Model2Cloud will be a pure HTML and JavaScript file, which will work across any operating system across any device. Model2Cloud provides a feature to embed all relevant scripts to a single portable file, which will work offline. As the output is in plain HTML format, the analyst will have flexibility to integrate the output to any other platform or simply push it to the publishing platform.

Business benefits

Benefits for client investors

In traditional research publishing, an analyst publishes a static report containing certain assumptions and forecasts, and provides further information upon request (e.g., the share-price impact of the model’s assumptions). These static reports are usually in PDF and contain only a snapshot of a much larger financial model. Such reports do not offer interactivity where investors can tweak their own assumptions.

Model2Cloud, on the other hand, allows clients greater access to vital information on their investments and facilitates better decision making. It allows clients to interact with the actual model to change analyst assumptions and to ascertain the share-price impact directly. The original model remains intact throughout these manipulations, since Model2Cloud builds all logic in JavaScript. Changes made to the report can be saved in PDF format for reference.

This method is especially useful for model maintenance and updates, as new data can be fed at quarter-end for updated reports to be generated automatically and instantly. Moreover, the platform converts reports using technologies that preserve all formulas during conversion, ensure correct interpretation and protect the underlying financial model. It can also bind brand information tightly into the report using the templates.

Benefits for analysts

The solution lets analysts publish to the Web their original models (analysts spend most of their effort on model creation), which clients can access and interact with. The solution gives full value to the analyst-created model – unlike some existing tools that do not have their own models – and therefore requires no adjustments to the analyst-created model. Instead, it can absorb any model to create an interactive model on the Web. Importantly, the analyst can convert the report with a few clicks, and it will only take a few minutes to create a web-based report with branding in it.

Benefits for investment firms

Offering interactive reports on their investment portals will help sell-side firms transform their portals into a one-stop shop for all their clients and investors. This will ensure higher client engagement with greater portal usage, interaction and cross-selling opportunities. Model2Cloud also gives full value to the skills of the analyst, wherein the exact model will go to the web and the art of the financial model will be on the web without any changes.


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About the Author

Associate Director, Specialised Solutions

Rohan helps Acuity Knowledge Partners Colombo identify technologies and involve in-system designing and implementation. He has over 9 years of experience in software development covering multiple domains with a special passion towards the capital markets domain. Previously, Rohan worked at Virtusa Pvt Ltd. and James Finlays.

Rohan holds a Master of Science in Enterprise Application Development from Sheffield Hallam University, a Bachelor of Science (Hons) in Information Technology from Middlesex University and is pursuing a PhD in Information Technology at Management and Science University, Malaysia.

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