Engine Works

Under the hood of Alteryx: tips, tricks and how-tos.
MeganDibble
Alteryx Community Team
Alteryx Community Team

Does easy and repeatable reporting feel like an impossible mission at your company? 

 

Time to load the data. (Source: GIPHY) 

 

Before you say “Mission Impossible!” let me introduce you to the Missions feature of Auto Insights so that you can Cruise through your analytics reporting. 

 

What is a Mission in Auto Insights? 

 

An Auto Insights Mission is a consolidated collection of insights. You can subscribe to updates when the data is refreshed and share them with others in your organization. 

 

If you are new to Auto Insights but not the analytics industry, then you can think of a Mission like a dashboard—it has views that are refreshed when new data is available. Unlike a dashboard, though, there is not much manual effort involved in creating a Mission, and it gives you summarized insights in text form (which are dynamic as data changes). 

 

If you are not sure when you would use a Mission, here are some examples of business processes that would benefit from one: 

  • Monthly management meetings 
  • Weekly stand-ups/project updates 
  • Daily KPI reports 
  • Ad-hoc reporting requests
  • 1:1 Coaching

 

The themes here are that these processes involve reviewing data with stakeholders on a re-occurring basis. Additionally, there are some standard KPIs or measures you are targeting for improvement in these processes. 

 

Questions to ask when creating a Mission 

 

Source: GIPHY 

 

Before jumping into creating a Mission, here are some questions that can help guide you: 

 

  • What measures do I need to continuously monitor to validate a hypothesis? This will inform which pages you add to your Mission (and what analytics you include on those pages) 
  • Who is my target audience for this Mission? This will inform how you structure your Mission—adding descriptions, showing/hiding views, etc. 
  • Is there a reporting cadence I need to set up? This will inform how often you update your data and share new insights 

 

If you can answer these three questions, then you have enough to get started on building your Mission! 

 

How to create a Mission 

 

If you have not used the search page to build a query in Auto Insights, please refer to this blog post for a detailed walk-through on how to formulate your business questions. For this section, I will assume you already have a query built. 

 

Once satisfied with your query in the Search tab, click “Add page” in the top right corner. 

 

MeganDibble_2-1659630801226.png

 

From here, you can create a new mission or add the page to an existing Mission. 

 

MeganDibble_3-1659630801228.png

 

Now, if I switch over to the Missions tab, I will see all the Missions I have created and the ones that have been shared with me. There is also a “Create Mission” button on this page, so you can start the mission creation from this tab instead of the Search tab if you prefer. 

 

MeganDibble_4-1659630801230.png

 

When I click into my “Weekly Report Out” Mission, I see a summary of the page I just saved to the mission. Clicking on the next page button takes me to the detailed view, which looks identical to the view I saw in the search earlier. 

 

MeganDibble_5-1659630801232.png

 

As I add more pages to my Mission, I will see an overview of them on the summary page, and I will be able to navigate through them with the arrow buttons in the top right corner. 

 

How to edit, present, and share a Mission 

 

You can do a few things to prepare your Mission for a presentation. First, you can go into edit mode and edit each page to change the page title and add author notes to give more context to your analysis. 

 

MeganDibble_6-1659630801233.png

 

MeganDibble_7-1659630801234.png

 

You can also re-arrange the contents on the Mission pages and even hide sections from your presentation to customize it for your audience. 

 

MeganDibble_8-1659630801235.png

 

Once you are satisfied with the look and feel of your pages, you can go back into present mode.  

 

MeganDibble_9-1659630801236.png

 

Great! Now it’s time to share. Perhaps you are in a virtual meeting, in which case you could simply share your Auto Insights screen. Or, you can share the Mission with others in your organization using the Share button. 

 

MeganDibble_10-1659630801237.png

 

To learn more about the details on sharing Missions, check out this documentation 

 

Conclusion: How Missions Add Value 

 

Missions can bring so much value to your business processes and save you time when your reporting is cyclical. If you are on the analytics side, then you do not have to do manual reporting tasks for each business cycle—you just have to create a mission once and then it will be refreshed each time the data is updated. If you are on the business stakeholder side, then you do not have to wait on the analytics team for ad hoc data requests—you can go into a Mission and update or add a query to answer your question with data. 

 

For example, let’s say that a business leader has access to a Mission with data about product growth, and they want to identify which regions are performing the best and worst. Instead of going back to the analyst with this request and waiting for an answer, the business leader can interact with the existing Mission to understand the drivers of change by region in a few clicks and have a comprehensive understanding of that change. So not only do Missions save time, but they also can increase data democratization at your company. 

 

Hopefully, after this article, you have some ideas on where and how to embed Missions to add value to your organization! 

 

Mission… Possible. 

 

Walking into that meeting and feeling prepared with your Mission. (Source: GIPHY) 

 

p.s. If you don’t already have Auto Insights and you would like to learn more about how it works, click here. 

 

Megan Dibble
Data Journalist

Hi, I'm Megan! I am a data journalist on the Alteryx Community Team. I work to make sure our blogs have high quality, helpful, and engaging content. As a data analyst turned writer, I am passionate about making analytics & data science accessible (and fun!) for all. If there is content that you think the community is missing, feel free to message me--I would love to hear about it.

Hi, I'm Megan! I am a data journalist on the Alteryx Community Team. I work to make sure our blogs have high quality, helpful, and engaging content. As a data analyst turned writer, I am passionate about making analytics & data science accessible (and fun!) for all. If there is content that you think the community is missing, feel free to message me--I would love to hear about it.