The 2017 Alteryx Inspire “Icons of Analytics” user conference in Las Vegas, the first Inspire event since the company’s IPO in March 2017, marked the beginning of the next chapter of company growth with an expanded strategy to become a more inclusive end-to-end solution and enterprise analytics platform leveraging recent acquisitions. The event was attended by 1,700 passionate customers, employees and partners from 30 countries that participated in sessions, product training and a hands-on solution center that facilitated one-on-one discussions with Alteryx competency experts and partners. This all made for a highly engaging, supportive and collaborative atmosphere that filled the Aria conference center in Las Vegas for three days with presentations in four session tracks and the partner exhibition hall.
The opening keynote, delivered by Alteryx CEO and co-founder Dean Stoecker, emphasized how people combined with technology innovation have brought us through history to today’s Industry 4.0 – an age of analytics. Stoecker’s tale focused on how history repeats itself, and industrial revolutions are triggered when people were able to leverage technology innovations to drive an order of magnitude in human efficiency through automation. People are once again at such a point, becoming self-service-oriented in the analytics movement that is the democratization of data and analytics technology innovation. His call to action was for the attendees to be icons of this generation’s change and a catalyst for modernization.
In an afternoon keynote, Alteryx CTO Ned Harding shared the story of the company’s early days with data prep and their plans for meeting the demands of enterprise scalability and increased performance. This is significant because Alteryx is making a smart move in recognizing its core strengths and intellectual property in data prep while adding fresh and bright perspectives from recent acquisitions that fulfill its strategy.
The Alteryx business strategy is based on addressing challenges their customers face. To do so, the company intends to become an end-to-end, self-service, enterprise-class analytics platform, providing a full array of capabilities for citizen data scientists. This extends beyond the data prep and data science modeling functionality the product has featured to include functionality for business analysts and citizen data scientists to find and share data assets and easily deploy their analytic models.
Specifically, Alteryx will add two capabilities in addition to data prep and data science modeling. First, Alteryx Connect will be an agile enterprise semantic layer that drives self-service by simplifying how people find and collaborate on data sources and workflows. To be released this August, Connect will be based on the technologies from Alteryx’s Semanta acquisition this year. The second major capabilities announcement is that model deployment and operationalizing analytics will get a significant boost further down the analytic process from their just-announced acquisition of Yhat. Yhat technology has proven to greatly simplify and accelerate the deployment of data science models to production for use by applications via API service calls.
Other significant features announced include spatial enhancements in the analytic workflow and Spark integration for building models with R, Spark and Python. Also, a new report-delivery capability will enable business analysts to easily design and publish reports from the data prep and analytic outputs, thus delivering data to users quicker and without the need for additional steps to move data to, and incorporate, other tools for basic reporting. Also of note, Alteryx version 11.3 will soon be released in German and French to expand their global deployments.
The Alteryx strategy will make them a more significant player in the analytics market with key differentiators in the agile semantic layer and model deployment capabilities that many companies find challenging and slow. Having these capabilities will enable the faster development and deployment of analytics and create a critical mass among business analysts and citizen data scientists. The emphasis on the enterprise Alteryx Server (more so than the previous desktop software) should increase revenues for the company and the availability of Alteryx Server in both AWS and Azure cloud platforms will further simplify adoption for companies.