Workflow governance is a big topic for our users, and we recently published a list of best practices. Exact governance requirements may vary by industry, sector and use case, but one general point is that when considering how to manage and govern analytic workflows, it is helpful to distinguish managing workflows on users’ desktop vs. execution of workflows on Alteryx Server.
Customer-managed telemetry fills some of the governance gaps for desktop users. In this post, we discuss what customer-managed telemetry is, how to turn it on, and how to deploy it. Subsequent posts will highlight analyzing the gathered information.
When enabled, customer-managed telemetry writes a log file into a directory every time a user runs any workflow on their desktop. This capability was added in Alteryx Designer 2021.4. The resulting log files exported by Customer Managed Telemetry are not sent to Alteryx or consumed by Alteryx in any way. The log file contains metadata about the workflow – such as user ID, machine ID, and time stamp – and saves the entire workflow in Extensible Markup Language (XML).
Customers can view all workflow-included tools and how they were configured. As explained below, the directory can be on a shared network drive, making log file parsing easier.
Imagine the following situations:
Here are the steps to turn on Customer-managed telemetry:
In addition to the full workflow details, the log files store the following metadata:
Timestamp that identifies when the workflow was executed. Timestamp is in UTC with this format: yyyy-MM-dd'T'HH:mm:ss'Z'.
The user email submitted at time of product activation.
The machine hostname.
Unique Run ID.
Fully qualified path for the file that was run.
License key used to activate the product.
A few comments on the file location:
First, turning on this feature might subject administrators to obligations under local privacy laws, such as the responsibility to disclose the collection of personal data.
Second, for large Enterprises, careful upfront planning is needed to identify which information is needed and how long it should be stored. If the user base is large, log files accumulate fast, and processing the information could become complex.
Alteryx recommends distinguishing alerts from reporting cadence, i.e. information needed on a periodic basis. For instance, it may be useful to scan logs and send an alert if a malicious user accesses confidential data. In contrast, information on which Alteryx versions are being used or comparing tool usage across teams to identify training opportunities would likely rely on longer data collection periods, compiled less frequently.
For scheduled data gathering, Alteryx recommends mocking up a report or dashboard to identify and refine how the data will be used. This determines what information should be extracted from log files and how long data must be stored. A sample dashboard is below:
In this post, we scratched the surface of how powerful Customer-managed telemetry can be in filling governance gaps and how to turn it on. Future blog posts will detail how to process and parse the information gathered from customer-managed telemetry and build sample Alteryx workflows to process the information available in a Starter Kit.
For complex IT environments, additional configuration may be needed, and a working session with Alteryx Professional Services (firstname.lastname@example.org) could be helpful.
A new Enterprise Utility that features Customer Managed Telemetry is now available. This utility lets you process the telemetry data you've collected using this new telemetry feature in Designer into usable data. The utility also includes 2 sample dashboards that automatically populate with your data to streamline your journey to insight.
To download this utility, go to the Alteryx Marketplace. In the search box type "Enterprise Starter Kit" and select "Customer-Managed Telemetry."
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