Alteryx met our skillset well. The drag and drop interface is such a fast way to work — and you can just download it and get going. We knew Alteryx had options for scheduling too, which meant it could scale with us.
Change Grow Live Key Stats
Department: BI/Analytics/Data Science
Saved a full week
of working time every month, now producing a key report in just one minute
Created a holistic view
of users and services, with workflows pulling data from multiple systems
Switched from monthly
to daily reports during COVID, to help support vulnerable service users
The business of changing lives
Change Grow Live is the largest provider of drug and alcohol support services in the UK. With more than 4,000 staff and 1,500 volunteers, Change Grow Live has a wide reach that’s expanded rapidly since it began as an offender rehabilitation initiative in 1977. More than 100,000 individuals come to Change Grow Live every year for structured support, covering everything from overcoming opioid addictions to escaping domestic violence.
“We’re in the business of changing people’s lives,” explains Jeff Crouch, Director of Information at Change Grow Live. “It’s about making people healthier and happier. And in some cases, we’re genuinely helping keep people alive.”
Change Grow Live’s programs are supported by a central team of data analysts and scientists, as well as individual teams working with specific services. “We support the organization with good information,” says Crouch. “Our analysis helps people make better decisions, both on the front line and at the executive level.”
As a fast-growing organization, Change Grow Live’s leadership needed a lot of different monthly and quarterly reports to monitor its progress, which the team created and presented using Microsoft Excel. But additional ad hoc analysis requests meant Crouch and his team didn’t have the time or resource to focus on Change Grow Live’s future — or turn their vast stores of data into deeper insight.
“Excel is great for many applications, but it has drawbacks at an enterprise level. Processing and analyzing data in spreadsheets is repetitive, tedious, and potentially error-prone when it’s so manual,” says Crouch. “When you present your findings there are always more questions, and our spreadsheets couldn’t answer them fast enough. After 10 years of huge growth, Excel was creaking.”
With the go-ahead from executives to review Change Grow Live’s data model, Crouch and his team worked with consultancy TrueCue to find the best solution — one that would do justice to the data they had, and help support vital community services.
Switching out Change Grow Live’s engine
“We didn’t want a clunky data warehouse,” says Crouch. “And it needed to fit neatly. I liken it to changing the engine while the plane is still flying; it had to be seamless, or it would impact the whole organization.”
Change Grow Live chose Alteryx Designer, implementing analytic process automation alongside Tableau for an end-to-end analytics process that handles everything from ingestion to presentation. It pulls data from health records, referrals, assessment reports, prescription systems, discharge forms, and Change Grow Live’s case management system, to create holistic views of users and services.
Alteryx’s simple user interface has proved popular with the team, especially when Change Grow Live brought new graduates into the team. “The first task we gave them was to optimize our Alteryx workflows and improve efficiency,” says Crouch. “We’re confident enough to say that new recruits don’t need experience with Alteryx — just the enthusiasm to learn.”
Because it’s easy to optimize and adapt workflows, Crouch’s team hasn’t had to rip and replace processes as the organization’s needs have evolved. “We’re still using Alteryx workflows from four or five years ago,” explains Crouch. “All we need to do is make small changes to accommodate new requirements.”
3 Reasons Change Grow Live Chose Alteryx:
From business as usual to tackling unprecedented challenges
One of Change Grow Live’s most significant reports, the ‘Structured Treatment Report’, which details key activity across all its services, and displays performance figures, averages, and trends, previously took most of a working week to produce, every month. It was the first workflow they rebuilt in Alteryx — and now it takes less than a minute to produce.
The team had been working with Alteryx for several years, building an analytics function that was integral to Change Grow Live’s operation, when it encountered a new challenge: how to deliver vital, life-saving services when the world shuts down.
Like other health organizations, Change Grow Live’s services were hugely impacted by COVID-19 shutdowns; moving to digital service isn’t easy when you’re supporting more than 34,000 people on medication-assisted recovery programs.
Access to opioid alternatives, such as methadone, is crucial for helping maintain service users’ wellbeing and preventing them from relapsing. But many of Change Grow Live’s service users are considered clinically vulnerable, which meant the organization needed to ensure they had reliable access to their medication — and face-to-face support when they needed it. “We had to act quickly to support our most vulnerable service users, so data was front and center of our COVID response,” says Crouch.
Change Grow Live’s monthly reports became daily reports, with the data and analytics team running Alteryx workflows out-of-hours to deliver updates first thing every morning. To start with, this process required an analyst to manually trigger each workflow individually at 5 AM, but implementing Alteryx Server means Change Grow Live can now automatically run all its workflows together.
By combining millions of rows of data, from various systems and sources, Change Grow Live leadership can segment the data at service, region, and individual service user level to identify who needs more support and the best way to deliver it safely. And these changes driven by COVID will support service improvements for years to come.
Building on the foundation with predictions and forecasting
With its workflows built in Alteryx Designer and scheduled using Alteryx Server, Crouch’s team is now working on the next stages of analytics maturity. For example, Change Grow Live’s services collect a huge amount of unstructured data through case notes, referral letters, and other documents. One of the team’s pipeline projects is looking at text mining and semantic analytics to pull data directly from those sources, adding yet more detail to their insights. There’s also scope to explore predictive analytics, assessing and forecasting the impact of different risk factors on service users.
Every decision Crouch’s team makes — and every workflow it builds — ultimately supports vital care and support for vulnerable people throughout the UK, underpinned by data and deep insight.
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