### The Matrix

I have started to love the power of matrices (plural of matrix). Here I am not referring to the 'matrix' as an arrangement of numerals in a grid-like form which can be inverted, multiplied by using mathematical formulae. This is not even about the movie 'Matrix'. What I'm referring to is a method of representing complex textual information. My appreciation for this form of data organization is not coming from a business book or from a third person but is a result of analysis and presentation I've done at my job. Main benefit of this method is that it gives the creator and viewer a summary glimpse of full data. We have limited memories and can understand and process only a limited amount of data in given amount of time.

Instead of delving into this topic at more abstract level, I'll present an extremely simple example, which one could be analogous to a complex business scenario involving several variables. Contrary to what I said above this example actually uses numbers but is good enough to convey the idea.

Tom, Dick and Harry went to see movie and on their way, they felt like eating fruit (remember eating junk food is not good for health). Tom said I want to eat 3 apples and 2 cherries if we stop by at Store X but I don't mind eating only 10 apples if we went to store Y. Dick said I hate apples at store X; I will eat 5 cherries and 3 bananas if we went to store X but will take 7 bananas and 7 apples if we went to store Y. Harry said I'll eat 9 apples at either stores and 20 cherries if we went to store X and 25 cherries if we went to store Y.

Ok, that seems too much to digest. Let's say, you want to present this to top management or to a customer. You might end up probably preparing a presentation with several bullets showing choices of each person under different circumstances. But you could present this entire information in a matrix form as well with multi-color coding.

| AX BX CX ToT-X | AY BY CY ToT-Y

--+----------------+----------------

T | 3 2 5 | 10 10

D | 3 5 8 | 7 7 14

H | 9 20 29 | 9 20 29

--+----------------+----------------

| 12 5 25 42 | 26 7 20 53

--+----------------+----------------

In another example, a Fan company representative wants to present performance data about it's products under various conditions. This time I'll let you look at the matrix below and think what would it take to present this is in textual manual irrespective of whether done verbally or in written.

Keys:

E - Exceeds Performance Standards

M - Meets Performance Standards

B - Below Performance Standards

Winter Spring Summer Fall

-------------------------------------

Model-I E B B E

Model-II B B B B

Model-III E E E E

Another advantage of this method is that it becomes very easy to identify patterns.

I'll use this representation in my posts to come.

Instead of delving into this topic at more abstract level, I'll present an extremely simple example, which one could be analogous to a complex business scenario involving several variables. Contrary to what I said above this example actually uses numbers but is good enough to convey the idea.

Tom, Dick and Harry went to see movie and on their way, they felt like eating fruit (remember eating junk food is not good for health). Tom said I want to eat 3 apples and 2 cherries if we stop by at Store X but I don't mind eating only 10 apples if we went to store Y. Dick said I hate apples at store X; I will eat 5 cherries and 3 bananas if we went to store X but will take 7 bananas and 7 apples if we went to store Y. Harry said I'll eat 9 apples at either stores and 20 cherries if we went to store X and 25 cherries if we went to store Y.

Ok, that seems too much to digest. Let's say, you want to present this to top management or to a customer. You might end up probably preparing a presentation with several bullets showing choices of each person under different circumstances. But you could present this entire information in a matrix form as well with multi-color coding.

| AX BX CX ToT-X | AY BY CY ToT-Y

--+----------------+----------------

T | 3 2 5 | 10 10

D | 3 5 8 | 7 7 14

H | 9 20 29 | 9 20 29

--+----------------+----------------

| 12 5 25 42 | 26 7 20 53

--+----------------+----------------

In another example, a Fan company representative wants to present performance data about it's products under various conditions. This time I'll let you look at the matrix below and think what would it take to present this is in textual manual irrespective of whether done verbally or in written.

Keys:

E - Exceeds Performance Standards

M - Meets Performance Standards

B - Below Performance Standards

Winter Spring Summer Fall

-------------------------------------

Model-I E B B E

Model-II B B B B

Model-III E E E E

Another advantage of this method is that it becomes very easy to identify patterns.

I'll use this representation in my posts to come.