Alteryx Inspire Conference 2017

by Rana Banerji

In a whirlwind 3 days in Las Vegas, I reaffirmed my belief in the future of data analytics and its potential to change organisations for the better.

I had the pleasure of attending the first Alteryx Inspire conference – post IPO in Las Vegas. This was truly an inspiring conference, not only due to the record number of customers in attendance but also because it contained news about the IPO and recent acquisitions, as well as management team discussions on product strategy & the direction of the company.

One of the big changes that came out of the conference was the branding focus on solving problems rather than just data preparation. Alteryx is being recognised by its customers & data analysts as enabling organisations to solve complex problems and create business value. It’s the emotion of solving these problems that Alteryx is embracing in its branding messages going forward: “Thrill of Solving”.

 

 

New Acquisitions & Product Directions

Through its recent acquisitions of Semanta (now called Alteryx Connect) and YHat plus some exciting product developments – Alteryx has built an enterprise analytics platform that provides capabilities from data governance, information discovery, data blending, data science and deployment.

 

Alteryx has always been strong with the breadth of data connectors and blending but the data analytics capabilities have been greatly enhanced. Analytics power isn’t about what we know, but what we share with others. Through sharing of data: the research and the results, others can learn faster, collaborate better and put work into action.

Alteryx Connect is a data exploration platform that empowers users to discover and collaborate on data assets, visualisations, reports and workflows, typically siloed across large enterprises. With Alteryx Connect, users can easily find curated data and relevant information from both Alteryx-connected data and other data sources – ultimately decreasing time to insight.

As organisations become more data-driven, it is critical for business analysts performing self-service data analytics to use governed and trusted data sources. With Alteryx Connect, organisations can capture the tribal knowledge about data that has spread across an organisation and present this knowledge back to business users so that they can begin the analytics process using the best sources of information.

This release enhances the analytics workbench so that Chief Data Officers and analytics organisations can better scale globally, capitalise on more data assets and grow their skill set to obtain answers for critical business decisions.

Alteryx Data Science: Most data scientists today build predictive and machine learning models in open source programming languages. They then deploy that code into different technology frameworks, which is time consuming, error-prone and requires additional development resources - often stalling data science projects altogether. The Yhat platform helps reduce the roadblock between data scientists and development teams by accelerating the model making and model deployment processes.

Yhat specialises in providing data scientists and analysts with self-service data science tools for developing, managing and deploying machine learning models to web and mobile applications faster and with fewer resources. The acquisition will further enhance the Alteryx data analytics platform and build on its strategy to help organisations empower citizen data scientists and trained data scientists to rapidly deploy and manage Advanced Analytic models.

The reporting studio direction for Alteryx will also be exciting in years to come. Currently, Alteryx can provide “static reporting” capabilities (improvements in report layout and usability were shown) that complement Tableau with its focus on data discovery and analysis. However, I feel as though Alteryx may infuse AI or natural language generation capabilities (speculation only) and focus on competitors like Narrative Science (www.narrativescience.com) and Automated Insights (www.automatedinsights.com).

During the keynote session, Alteryx also discussed continued platform flexibility with future Spark enhancements and embedded Python capabilities. The ability to R, Spark or Python greatly extends capabilities and highlights that Alteryx is moving in pace with market trends and requirements.

 

More customers than ever!

The range of industries & business functions represented by Alteryx customers at the event was great. Business Leader sessions highlighted use cases at Werner, Mastercard, Art Institute of Chicago and Autodesk; while Data Analysts from Staples, Intermountain Healthcare, SCL Health, and DELL | EMC, Redbox, Alaska Air Group, Marketo, and Universal packed the rooms to share their hands-on expertise and tips to fellow analysts.

 

 

The Alteryx ecosystem is growing fast to deliver more value for customers.

There was a lot of buzz at the Alteryx Solution Centre and Hall of Analytics during the Alteryx Inspire conference. The solution centre was where analysts could bring their problems and receive advice, tips & tricks (similar to Tableau doctor). Having the user group forum and Alteryx community activities present was also great to see.

The Hall of Analytics highlighted how far the Alteryx partner ecosystem has evolved. The big players of Tableau, Microsoft and Amazon were represented but so too were up & coming partners like DataRobot & Snowflake. As more partners continue to build connectors with Alteryx, it was also interesting to see DVW (SAP connectors incl SAP BW, BO, Ariba, Successfactors) and Grazzitti (Facebook, Google, Youtube etc).

 

The hands-on workshops were as oversubscribed as ever.

 

 

One of the best kept secrets that I found out at the conference was the cataloging of use cases in the Alteryx community. As more and more customers and analysts continue to share their use cases, this will further grow as a great repository for information.

Please check out the Alteryx use case link below:

https://community.alteryx.com/t5/Alteryx-Use-Cases/tkb-p/use-cases

The closing sessions were a celebration of the icons of analytics, Alteryx for good, and recognition of the excellent work done with the community and by Alteryx employees.

Stephen Dubner, author of Freakonomics and a renowned economist, closed out Inspire with a memorable story about money, monkeys and sex, and resonated with many of the audience members in the excitement of solving problems and the thrill from doing so.

There is an exciting future ahead for Alteryx, so please reach out to the Tridant team to learn about how we can solve your business problems.

 

 

 

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