In the long list of jobs companies need to do in order to be successful, maintaining a strong grasp on data management and analysis, while high on the priority list, can hardly be considered an exciting task.
Returning the thrill of problem solving to data analysis, Alteryx is helping analysts do analytics in a new way. Removing the dependency on IT skills, the California based company is hoping to expedite the preparation time to make analysis a breeze in the UK. We spoke to Alteryx CMO, Seth Greenberg to discover if analysts really should be excited.
What does Alteryx do for analysts in real terms?
We are trying to change the difficult and time-consuming process of data analysis and put the power back into the hands of businesses. In real terms it means you don’t have to be a coder, or know sequel to use our system. It’s very intuitive – kind of like a drag and drop.
The heart of the analytics process is “where can I find data and how can I take different sources of data, blend them together and prep them and then advanced analyse that.” We provide analysts with the unique ability to easily prep, blend and analyse all of their data using a repeatable workflow, then deploy and share analytics at scale for deeper insights in hours, not weeks.
How do you market to analysts who might feel that they already know the tools to get the job done?
Our client list is quite broad but within an enterprise it could be a secret on how to handle a companies data. One of my jobs is to help be the pied piper and help our champions let their colleagues know that they can save hours and get their life back, not stuck in ‘excel hell‘. We want to help people do better analytics, being more tactful with the company and also get home at a reasonable hour instead of grinding on data.
I used to manage analysts and they would be working until 2 or 3 in the morning crunching numbers because they didn’t know about something like Alteryx. This platform has the ability to save you days weeks and months by expediting the process and making things seem a bit more manageable.
The opportunity in this is that it is flexible and so you can apply it to any situation and it will still be a viable way to work. It can be used in ten different ways within any given company; it can be used for marketing, risk analysis, all sorts. We have auto manufacturers who use our product for predictive analysis.
For example they will take a feed from CalTech, which tells you when an earthquake is happening and they will blend that in with their supplier chain and so if there is an earthquake in a certain part of the world that might affect a supplier they will go to their second supplier immediately so there is no interruption. Its quite interesting how it can be used.
Another thing that is important too is GDPR – we announced our acquisition of what is called Alteryx connect and the regulation changes are coming, whether you like it or not. It will light a fire under businesses and I think that people will either just wait for it or they will be proactive. We have a great solution to manage that issue.
You went public recently, how has that process been?
For me it has been really great. I think the first thing it did was it signalled to the market that we are for real and we are going to stay and that we are quite a lot bigger than people thought we were.
I think some people felt like we were a one-trick pony but we immediately acquired two companies and we are trying to become more of an engine and the heart of the analytics platform. The IPO experience has been great because we can accelerate faster.
Has there been any difference so far in working between the UK and the USA?
The UK has this thirst for innovation – there is more of a sense of having to be more scrappy because there aren’t as many resources here for us as we are based in the US.
I haven’t seen any difference so far. I was at a meeting at the Savoy with partners this morning and they are telling me that the clients over on this side of the pond love Alteryx just as much as they do in the US.
How has Brexit affected Alteryx so far?
I think Alteryx can be a positive for Britain during this process too. For example, another client has used Alteryx once the US election finished with Trumps election, they realised there was a big instability of potential tariffs on import/exports from Mexico, so they built scenarios that near real time to look at what the difference might be to their supply costs based on what trump decided to do. I can imagine the same types of things being utilised for Brexit in helping businesses predict and assess what might be the best and most cost efficient path for them to take.
The mission is to “Unleash the thrill inherent in solving problems using data analytics”; what is the thought behind that mission statement?
I spent my first three months in this job pretty much ‘in the wild’ with analysts, observing them and interviewing them to understand what makes them tick.
What Alteryx allows you to do is not spend 80 per cent of the time usually spent prepping excel spreadsheets to actually solving the problem. If you’re the kind of person who enjoys solving a Rubik’s cube or a puzzle, you are the type of analyst who will stay up at night using Alteryx because you want to and not because you have to.
I think the analyst will appreciate the problem solving side of it and the enjoyment of that process but the bosses will be much happier with the amount of time and money they will be saving by using the product.