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Case Study

Western Union uses Alteryx for Transaction Confirmation and to Improve Customer Insight

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Company Overview

Western Union meets the financial-services needs of people worldwide by providing innovative solutions, high service levels, and omni-channel integration for cross-border, cross-currency money transfer. Western Union has an extensive network, including more than 500,000 agent locations in more than 200 countries and territories, more than 100,000 ATMs and kiosks, and the capability to send money to one-billion-plus accounts. Western Union has a strong global brand, tailored solutions for businesses, and compliance and regulatory capabilities that allow the company to operate in a complex environment.

Business Challenge

Bob Bulkley, manager of reporting and Analytics at Western Union, needed to collect and blend multiple data sets and get them into usable format for reporting and to use for customer improvement processes. Reporting required a lot of pre-staging and ETL. Bulkley used Excel and then imported the data into an SQL Server database and ran more than 30 queries to get all of the elements needed for analysis. Then he had to search for the few pieces that really mattered. This took a long time to set up and run and did not provide any output for further analysis. Worse, he had to watch his screen to make sure the processes ran properly.
Another big business challenge was managing Western Union’s compliance reporting. Western Union must report on local offices and call centers every day for compliance with global laws, including U.S. and European laws. It took hundreds of people to do the follow-up work on these reporting functions. For example, it’s a regulatory requirement to send a letter to a customer following a transaction. Western Union employed dedicated offshore teams to do this work to keep the company within the required regulatory timelines.


Bulkley found Alteryx at a Tableau conference. When he got back to his office in Denver, he downloaded a free trial of the software. His Alteryx sales rep and a local solutions engineer came for a follow-up visit. Together they found solutions to problems that Bulkley hadn’t been able to solve.
Today, Bulkley works with about eight different data sources. He blends mainframe data, call center data, customer interaction data, demographic data, transaction data, and more, from both Western Union’s legacy and its new systems. With Alteryx, he can bring all those data sources together to work with them in a single platform.
Western Union uses both structured and unstructured data. Bulkley uses the text analytics tool to analyze customer survey data. The Alteryx text analytics tools allow him to look at a list of control words and phrases that Western Union needs to pay attention to. He can find them anywhere in unstructured memo fields and classify the customer survey data based on what actions Western Union needs to take.

If somebody took Alteryx away from me, I’d have to find a new job. It is business critical to everything that I do now that really adds value to the company.


Western Union quickly reaped the benefit using Alteryx. One of Bulkley’s first projects saved Western Union millions and took a significant stress off of Bulkey’s team during a high-pressure holiday season. Following compliance laws, one of Western Union’s regulatory requirements is to send transaction confirmation letters to customers. The teams were panicking under the volume of letters to send and no one was enjoying the holiday season. With Alteryx, Bulkley was able, in about three hours, to automate the process and put it into production on a regular basis to generate over a thousand letters a day. Western Union was compliant, customers were notified, and employees were able to enjoy the holiday season.
Another important project Bulkley has been able to accomplish with Alteryx is to identify the voice of their customers. Using text analytics, Bulkley can identify what the customers are really asking about, what their pain points are, and what they’re excited about. Before Alteryx, he didn’t have a way to gather this information other than have teams of people read the surveys line by line. With Alteryx, it’s automated. He exports the results with the tags plus the appropriate surveys. It saves Bulkley and his team a ton of time and the team is able to deliver new insight that they didn’t have before.
Using Alteryx, Bulkley is able to implement a quality review process, maintain compliance activities, and identify the voice of the customer by analyzing unstructured survey data. Alteryx allows him to perform these tasks on the fly, tweak, and get exactly what he needs out of the analysis without needing to use IT resources get it done.
Bulkley has more time to listen to the people who use the reports and find out what they need, work on quality issues or implement next steps. He has a lot more creative time because of Alteryx.

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