The Lightbulb Went Off….Dates and LIBCRTAUT

This is a post theme I plan to repeat occasionally and I’m excited to kick it off here! The idea is to share big moments whenever I discover something that I feel is a breakthrough for me, or for a credit union I’m working with at the moment. I want to share these discoveries and strategies with everyone! Topics will usually be related to the tools or resources I use to work with data here with Asterisk Intelligence, but also look for analytical strategies or new insights uncovered from our data mining and analysis projects.

Just today I got off the phone with a credit union who was struggling to run her custom query because authority errors were popping up about the file/table it generates. She’s been using query for years and had already done most of the standard troubleshooting we’d recommend – Still no luck. We set up screen-sharing and worked together for a little more advanced troubleshooting, but as we’re talking the question comes up:

So what does LIBCRTAUT even mean? I use it all the time but I don’t have any idea what it does!

CU*BASE Help holds your answer this time – Assigning Authority for Custom Reports (Queries) and Files.

Here’s 2 more of the most interesting topics we swerved into in the same phone call:

Can I delete the database table my query is making? I’ve been told that’s not possible but I’d like to delete it so I can start fresh using the same table name.

The answer is Tool 1980 – Library Dashboard. And she was right, it wasn’t possible to delete a table on your own until Asterisk Intelligence launched that tool back in October 2017. Read specifics here. Be careful about who you allow to access this tool at your credit union – It’s a maintenance tool and there is no “undo” button.

I have so much trouble with the date fields in some of the data tables. It’s so frustrating when it’s not yet in the best format.

Wow, this is a good one and first thing I always say to this question is that there are multiple solutions and “right answers” for managing dates. The one you should choose depends on the date format currently in question. so what was the lightbulb moment here?

DATELOOKUP in your FILExx library. This is a relatively new table that I was able to share and the whole time I was thinking to myself “Why on earth don’t I use this more!?” It’s essentially a middle-man table which has every date, in nearly every format. You can join to it with one date format, then simply select the other format you need for the final output. Just watch out for how it treats dates with no century (Ex. 19xx or 20xx). As with any table, spend a few minutes reviewing it with a critical mind to figure out what it’s capable of before you plug it into any queries. If you do that and are still confused, give us a call.

THE ANALYST’S RESPONSIBILITY

If you work with Query in any capacity you can probably relate to having heard this statement at some point in your training (self-taught or otherwise) – “Just use ______ because that’s what we always use”. To be fair, there’s not always a need to know and understand the tiniest details of a tool’s capability. Scope is important and your job might only require the bare minimum of knowledge to use it, understanding it is optional.

But I am an analyst and I need to be aware of the full scope and capability of each of my available tools. Why? Good question and here’s a small embarrassing story that I think makes my point – I once spent an hour updating the same few spots on 112 Excel sheets by hand, then found out later in the same day that I could have multi-selected all 112 sheets, made the change on one, and all the rest would also automatically update with the new information in all the same spots!

If only I had googled an excel tutorial instead of muttering to myself about how “there has to be a simpler way…”, “you’d think a company as big as Microsoft would have built a button that could do this…”, etc etc etc.

I want to spend less time fixing problems or duplicating work across tools, and more time analyzing and using the results I get from the tools. My bosses probably want that too. 😉 For me, I can achieve this by working with an open mind to potential solutions, and staying curious about how things actually work.

So now, whenever the lightbulb goes off, I’ll work on sharing these moments so you all can learn along with me and the other analysts I work with every day.

Share your thoughts

2 Replies to “The Lightbulb Went Off….Dates and LIBCRTAUT”

  1. Annalyn,
    Great idea for a blog post and one I will definitely be following. I love learning new ways to do things, especially when it simplifies the process. (DATELOOKUP… ahhh – where has this been my whole life!) I look forward to more knowledge nuggets from Annalyn 🙂

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