Leaders in analytics are often defined by their titles: Manager, Director, or VP. But it’s more than a title that defines a person who leads an analytics movement in their organization; it’s a mission. We call those movers and shakers Analytics Champions.
They’re the bold problem-solvers who are always looking for ways to enable more people in the business to uncover insights and make better data-driven decisions with confidence.
We see Analytics Champions in action every day. They include our customers and data leaders who are building an analytics culture empowered by Alteryx to process and analyze the most complex data sets with self-service ease.
What are their secrets? Let’s take a look at how Analytics Champions in various roles and industries are driving business impact and how they are using Alteryx to put the 5 core tenets into practice: Create Trust in Data, Automate to Accelerate, Enhance with AI, Optimize the Data Stack, and Empower the Business.
Create Trust in Data
The foundation of data-driven insights is data quality. Because data that isn’t clean, complete, and accurate can’t be trusted and can’t be used to make quality decisions. Broken trust creates chaos for Analytics Champions, whose goal is to empower all users in the business to use data — clean, consistent and reliable data — for better business outcomes.
KPMG, one of the big four accounting firms, faced data quality challenges in its Mergers and Acquisitions practice due to manual, error-prone processes. In some cases, it would take 30 minutes in Excel to re-calculate a complicated workbook.
Kevin Casady, Managing Director of the M&A tax practice, discovered Alteryx and knew the automated analytics solution would provide the data quality, transparency, and speed to insight they were looking for. “Because we work with such large volumes of data, it’s easier to ensure that user errors are eliminated in the underlying computations,” said Casady.
Kevin championed the effort that now enables his team to mitigate risk from errors and improve the value of their services to clients. “We’ve fully automated our process of entering and accessing client data,” said Kevin, “making it easier for our teams to dedicate their time to gaining insights from the data.”
Empower the Business
Some of the most valuable business outcomes don’t come from traditional tech roles — they come from workers with functional domain knowledge who are closest to business problems.
That’s why Analytics Champions want to shift away from the reliance on analysts for data insights and the endless iterations of dashboards that go along with it.
“Digital transformation is only successful when you involve the people it impacts,” says Tim Kessler of Siemens Energy. Tim, a program lead for digitalization, championed a solution using Alteryx to enable data insights across his business unit, which supplies energy network components to global customers. Empowering business users with automated insights saved thousands of hours and enabled dozens of new insights.
“With Alteryx, domain expertise becomes more important than IT skills,” says Tim. “The business users can build their own workflows and solutions at high speed based on their needs, and then it can be made available to everyone.
Automate to Accelerate
Getting data in the hands of all workers is not always a problem. After all, spreadsheets are still ubiquitous. However, analyzing data manually is not efficient or scalable for organizations striving for analytics maturity.
The Head of Data Science at Roquette, a global leader in the production of plant-based ingredients, recognized there were significant opportunities to create efficiencies in their data-rich industry. Pierre-Louis Bescond’s first target was the slow, manual process of consolidating and analyzing production data, which pumps out up to 3,000 records every 30 seconds.
Pierre-Louis and his team use Alteryx to automate manual processes to improve productivity, impact business outcomes, and accelerate insights. Just one automated workflow built in Alteryx saves his team 100 days every time it runs.
Automated analytics has also accelerated the digital strategy at Roquette. “By allowing users across the organization to take control of large volumes of data, they can implement processes that influence and improve business outcomes,” said Pierre-Louis.
Optimize Your Data Stack
To achieve large-scale and agile performance with analytics, Analytics Champions also play a role in modernizing the tech stack. The need for a future-proof stack is especially evident with the rise of generative AI. Modern data stacks accelerate innovation and efficiencies with tools and technologies that are flexible, modular, and easily integrated.
Chick-fil-A, a restaurant chain with more than 2,000 locations in 43 states, had a patchwork of messy, siloed data pockets across the organization, making it impossible for analysts to access collective company data.
After decades of expansions, the constraints of aging legacy toolsets and the pressures of modern analytics had caught up with the company. “You have to constantly figure out how to reinvent as a leader, as an analyst, and also the tools in the system,” said Justin Winter, Manager of Supply Chain Analytics at Chick-fil-A.
He knew Chick-fil-A needed to be able to easily join data from multiple sources and empower both data analysts and line-of-business users to quickly perform their own analytics.
Justin championed the effort to add Alteryx to an ecosystem that included AWS Redshift for data warehousing and Tableau Server for presentation. Using the powerful tech trifecta, Justin’s team can query and analyze 5 billion records in just 20 seconds.
“We’re creating dashboards in minutes to hours, versus a six-month development cycle,” said Justin. “It’s really just changed the way that we work from a business analytics standpoint, which has been great.”
Enhance with AI
Generative AI may be in its early stages, but Analytics Champions understand its potential for significant impact on business efficiencies and outcomes.
They are not going to ‘wait and see’ but are taking a proactive, incremental approach in areas like self-service analytics, where generative AI can enable users to discover new, faster ways to explore data and share insights.
For Iain Reid, Head of People Analytics at Kingfisher, a home improvement retail chain based in the UK, AI-powered insights are helping analysts, line of business experts, and executives get the answers to not just what’s happening, but why.
Iain and his team are using Auto Insights by Alteryx to get data to internal customers in a format they can engage with and understand while also contributing to better decision-making. Iain and his team can control the data layer using tools like Alteryx Designer, ensuring that high-quality, trusted data is prepared and governed centrally. Auto Insights then acts as the first line of defense for end users who can interact with relevant data stories and explanations for metrics performance.
“Auto Insights tells users why KPIs have changed and what’s influenced the number, says Iain. “They are allowed to model the data themselves in real-time to drive their own analytical insights.” AI-powered, self-service insights also reduce the back-and-forth waiting game of asking analysts to build new dashboards to answer additional questions.
By creating trust in data, empowering domain experts with data insights, and driving efficiencies with AI, Analytics Champions create a culture that enables everyone to make better decisions that drive value for the business.