Inspire Europe is only two months away and we are in full-swing with the second-round of the 2018 Analytic Excellence Awards. To help give you an idea of the kind of stories we are looking for, we reached out to one of our first-round winners, Caleb Catalano, to provide some tips and tricks on how to write an award-winning use case.
Caleb Catalano (@Caleb)
Caleb is a Solution Architect with Slalom Consulting in Chicago focusing AI, Machine Learning, and Automation. In his role at Slalom, Caleb works closely with local clients to solve some of their most challenging business problems.
Q: Can you go into more detail about the steps taken for your use case?
A: I created my solution after my former colleagues at The Academy Group requested on-demand reporting for their summer school data. Following this conversation, I worked with Alteryx for Good to enroll The Academy Group in their non-profit support program. I kicked off the engagement by working with Academy Group leaders to establish requirements for the project.
I spent the next few weeks developing a process that would enable teachers to quickly enter student data into Google Forms instead of capturing it in offline spreadsheets. This process allowed me to use Alteryx Designer to connect directly to Google Drive where I captured, transformed, and outputted data to interactive dashboards. The solution needed to enable fast entry of data for the teachers, and quick data processing for me. After transforming the data into a new structure, I was able to create shareable interactive dashboards using Google Data Studio. The entire process was able to be automated using Alteryx Scheduler, as a result, teachers would be able to analyze the data they entered in the forms in near real-time. Fast access to data allowed teachers to spend more time lesson/intervention planning and less time digging through spreadsheets.
At high-level I suggest the following approach to creating a transformative Alteryx solution worthy of an Analytics Excellence Award:
Q: What got you interested in applying for an Analytic Excellence Award?
A: I decided to submit my use case because I hadn't seen another solution that used it's approach. Unlike many of the enterprise-level submissions, my use case included a very lean and cost effective suite of software. Additionally, the process can be replicated by developers with very little Alteryx experience. I felt that submitting it as a use case might help educators think differently about how they prepare and utilize their data. I received encouraging feedback from my local Alteryx user group when I presented the project as a case study. After that I thought that the use case could be a strong candidate for an Alteryx Analytics Excellence Award, so when the window opened for submissions, I made sure that I entered it in the contest.
Q: Share some advice on how to put together a use case.
A: A winning use case should be able to showcase the capabilities of Alteryx and the simplicity of a well-built solution in the span of a few paragraphs. No one wants to read through technical documentation. A well-written use case helps the reader quickly understand the context of the problem and how it was quickly it was solved using relatively a straightforward architecture. The use case should also inspire creativity and innovation. Use cases rarely align completely to another persons business problem, it's important to create a story that is easily generalizable to the reader and their conditions.
Q: Why are visuals so important to include in use cases?
A: Including concise and illustrative visuals that aide the readers comprehension if the solution architecture is another important component of your submission. Visualizing the simplicity of your process can make your audience feel more capable of recreating your work to suite their business problem. Moreover, adding sample workflows can be a great way to demystify the use case and provide concrete examples of what you accomplished with your process.
Q: What was it like to win an Excellence Award?
A: Winning an Alteryx Analytics Excellent Award was an amazing experience. It was an honor to be on-stage with the other recipients and get to share the Academy Group’s Alteryx for Good story. Education is not often top-of-mind when discussing analytics, this was a great opportunity to show-off Alteryx’s capability to adapt to generalize to any industry. Attending Inspire was a great way to meet the Alteryx Community in-person! Inspire is my favorite conference because there are so many like-minded people trying to solves the very same problems. It felt so good to see so many familiar faces that have helped me along the way my Alteryx Journey.
Q: What was the most memorable part of Inspire Anaheim?
A: I'll never forget the feeling of walking across the stage in front of the entire conference to receive the award. It's hard to believe that was possible for a project with such small beginnings.
Q: After winning the donation prize, who did you decide to donate to?
A: In addition to the Analytics Excellence Award, Alteryx donated my share of $25,000 dollars to the Luvin Arms Foundation. I am incredibly grateful that my work could result in a sizable amount of money being donated to an organization that shares my values. Recently, Luvin Arms contacted me directly and invited me to visit their location in Erie Colorado to meet some of the Animals they are helping. I plan to make a trip out there soon! It felt great to see that this work made an impact beyond the initial scope.
Q: Did Anything exciting happen after you became a winner?
A: Many of my colleagues at Slalom Consulting have taken an interest in learning Alteryx after my award was announced. A few even signed-up for Alteryx for Good and began working with their own non-profit partners. More of our clients are talking about Alteryx as well, it definitely helps to be able to tell your clients that your in the Analytics Hall of Fame!
Q: If you were to submit another Analytics Excellence Award, what type of use case would you pursue?
A: I would like to submit another use case for an Analytics Excellence Award in 2019. I think I will to continue to focus on the non-profit space to help an organization get smarter about how they make decisions by levering Alteryx Predictive Tools. There is already a huge opportunity for building the capabilities of small organizations by leveraging repeatable workflows for data processing. I think the next big opportunity is bringing systematic and automated decision making to industries that historically have not had access to advanced analytics.
Thank you to @Caleb for sharing these award winning tips!
Whether you're just getting started or more advanced, if you're using Alteryx to address a business need, in your personal life, to give back to your community or just for fun; we're looking forward to hearing how you're leveraging the Alteryx platform and what benefits you've achieved! Read the announcement.
Don’t wait! Submit your Alteryx Use Case by August 30th -- Extended Deadline! -- to qualify for the 2018 Alteryx Analytics Excellence Awards presented at Inspire 2018 in London. This is your chance to be recognized as a leader in the industry and contribute some serious cash to amazing charitable organizations.
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