Alteryx Designer Ideas

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Drive Alteryx designer improvements by measuring time to do common prep / cleanup

Many software & hardware companies take a very quantitative approach to driving their product innovation so that they can show an improvement over time on a standard baseline of how the product is used today; and then compare this to the way it can solve the problem in the new version and measure the improvement.

 

For example:

- Database vendors have been doing this for years using TPC benchmarks (http://www.tpc.org/) where a FIXED set of tasks is agreed as a benchmark and the database vendors then they iterate year over year to improve performance based on these benchmarks

- Graphics card companies or GPU companies have used benchmarks for years (e.g. TimeSpy; Cinebench etc).

 

How could this translate for Alteryx?

- Every year at Inspire - we hear the stats that say that 90-95% of the time taken is data preparation

- We also know that the reason for buying Alteryx is to reduce the time & skill level required to achieve these outcomes - again, as reenforced by the message that we're driving towards self-service analytics & Citizen-data-analytics.

 

The dream:

Wouldn't it be great if Alteryx could say: "In the 2019.3 release - we have taken 10% off the benchmark of common tasks as measured by time taken to complete" - and show a 25% reduction year over year in the time to complete this battery of data preparation tasks?

 

One proposed method:

  • Take an agreed benchmark set of tasks / data / problems / outcomes, based on a standard data set - these should include all of the common data preparation problems that people face like date normalization; joining; filtering; table sync (incremental sync as well as dump-and-load); etc.
  • Measure the time it takes users to complete these data-prep/ data movement/ data cleanup tasks on the benchmark data & problem set using the latest innovations and tools
  • This time then becomes the measure - if it takes an average user 20 mins to complete these data prep tasks today; and in the 2019.3 release it takes 18 mins, then we've taken 10% off the cost of the largest piece of the data analytics pipeline.

 

What would this give Alteryx?

This could be very simple to administer; and if done well it could give Alteryx:

- A clear and unambiguous marketing message that they are super-focussed on solving for the 90-95% of your time that is NOT being spent on analytics, but rather on data prep

- It would also provide focus to drive the platform in the direction of the biggest pain points - all the teams across the platform can then rally around a really deep focus on the user and accelerating their "time from raw data to analytics".   

- A competitive differentiation - invite your competitors to take part too just like TPC.org or any of the other benchmarks

 

What this is / is NOT:

  • This is not a run-time measure - i.e. this is not measuring transactions or rows per second
  • This should be focussed on "Given this problem; and raw data - what is the time it takes you, and the number of clicks and mouse moves etc - to get to the point where you can take raw data, and get it prepped and clean enough to do the analysis".
  • This should NOT be a test of "Once you've got clean data - how quickly can you do machine learning; or decision trees; or predictive analytics" - as we have said above, that is not the big problem - the big problem is the 90-95% of the time which is spent on data prep / transport / and cleanup.

 

Loads of ways that this could be administered - starting point is to agree to drive this quantitatively on a fixed benchmark of tasks and data

 

@LibbyD ; @SteveA ; @JPoz ; @AshleyK ; @AJacobson ; @DerekK ; @Cimmel ; @TuvyL ; @KatieH ;  @TomSt ; @AdamR ; @APolly 

 

 

 

 

1 Comment
Alteryx
Alteryx
Hi @SeanAdams, As always, appreciate you sharing your thoughts. I fully agree on this idea and we will work to improve the data prep experience and I like your recommendation to, "drive this quantitatively on a fixed benchmark of tasks and data." We just exchanged mails and I expect we'll be on a call in the next couple of weeks to discuss further, but thank you for pushing this critical point. Agreed, we do say it takes 90% of analysts time each year, and agreed, we can greatly reduce this time. Alex Polly