This first week of The Data School has been very eventful. We were visited by Chris from Tableau on Tuesday and we visited Alteryx Australia head office on Wednesday.

We were fortunate to have Jody-John Phillips, the Country Manager (ANZ) at Alteryx, presenting to us, where we learned Alteryx’s role in today’s VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity & Ambiguity) world and beyond, how data schoolers should position ourselves to progress our careers and the biggest challenges most corporates are facing today. The answer to those challenges, of course, can be answered by Alteryx software.

Before this week, Alteryx was like this in my mind:

* Hard-to-pronounce name
* A data cleaning tool and data cleaning tool only (I was wrong)
* There is no difference with Tableau prep (Again I was very wrong!)

Since then, I now know 3 more things about Alteryx that is probably going to change my perspective of Alteryx

1. Ability to save the workflow and share the love

In the world of excel, a lot of Excel gurus extended the power of Excel by creating Macros and reuse them. The problem with Macros is that with people come and go, whenever some changes need to be made, be it new regulations or new processes, it is hard to modify Macros and reuse them.

With Alteryx, users can save the works (be it a workflow, macro or analytics apps) and share it with the rest of the organization and be part of the organization’s properties. Unlike Macros, Alteryx’s documentation is easier to understand, even for admin staff that doesn’t code (like the old me). It might take 3 hours to create a workflow, however, it might save an organization 3000 hours juggling between Excels Macros.

2. Create a PDF with Alteryx and send it as part of an email automatically every day

In my previous work experiences, a lot of time was spent muddling around with reports to send off periodically. That is why when Pete (our main trainer of the 1st week) showed me you can just schedule a PDF attachment to an email using Alteryx without even a single click, my mind was blown away.

This is what the PDF looks like.

I think it is not very nice of us to steal the machines’ jobs because machines have rights too (just kidding). Robot soldiers are exceptions because they are not as cool, but that’s another topic for another blog!

3. Great community

I knew Tableau has a great community, but what I didn’t know is that Alteryx also has a strong community. Just like Tableau has Tableau public, where people can get inspiration, Alteryx also has a community website where people generously share their wisdom.

The weekly challenges from the Alteryx community website benefited me tremendously. Don’t be disheartened by the name, you can do those challenges at your own pace. Don’t worry about being stuck because solutions are provided as well. You will also be amazed at how much you can learn from the alternative solutions posted by the community.

Just a little disclaimer, this blog is simply based on my personal experience. If you don’t agree with me, that’s great, leave me a comment and maybe we can be friends!

Junya Wang
Author: Junya Wang