Engine Works

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

Sometimes when I imagine IT and other technical roles (like data engineers and solution architects) making decisions about which data technologies to buy, I picture a room where everyone is at a table planning and discussing important things.


And then I get “The Room Where It Happens,” from Hamilton stuck in my head.


Source: GIPHY


As an Alteryx user, you might feel like you’re not in the room where it happens when it comes to the company’s overall data strategy and IT architecture decisions. And then when it’s time to get IT approval on the budget for Alteryx, you find yourself on the defensive because of these communication gaps:


Misaligned priorities: You care about self-service and democratization. IT cares about governance and security. Both appear to be at odds.


Technology stack changes: A major infrastructure decision is made – such as adopting a new cloud provider like Microsoft Azure – and you have to show IT that Alteryx still makes sense with the technology strategy.


Tight budgets: As you expand Alteryx in your organization, you’ll likely be required to make more purchases through IT. That means pulling from their budget, and IT is already strapped for cash and looking to streamline tools.


When you deal with these blockers, it seems like IT and business are “diametrically opposed foes,” as they say in the song. But it doesn’t have to be that way!


The key to getting in the room where it happens is more proactive communication with IT. See what matters to them, and show them how Alteryx supports their goals. Here are some of our recommendations for getting started.


1. Get up to speed on what IT cares about.


What do business outcomes look like for your IT department? How is IT measured? Their version of success is about regulatory compliance, security, and operational efficiency. They don’t always love the sound of “self-service.”


When having conversations with IT, focus on the overlap between what they want, and what Alteryx can help with:

  • Faster time to implementation: IT hates “shelfware.” That’s the word for unused technology. Since Alteryx is easy to use and learn, you can assure IT that you’ll be up and running with your first use case in days instead of weeks or months.
  • Visibility: IT wants to see what’s going on. With Alteryx, IT can monitor everything users are doing, from which workflows are running to which datasets are accessed.
  • Security: IT and CISOs (Chief Information Security Officers) are on the hook for securing the data. Make sure they know Alteryx has robust governance and security features, like password encryption and role-based access control. Heck, Alteryx is commonly used in banking and accounting!
  • Administrative ease of use: Alteryx takes work off the data analyst’s plate – but IT also wants to make sure Alteryx won’t create a bunch of work for them. Ease of use is just as important for IT as it is for you. The effort to maintain Alteryx is low compared with other IT workloads, and in most cases, Alteryx doesn’t require a full-time admin.


Remember, democratization and governance are not mutually exclusive. In fact, they both enable the other. You can pass this blog along to your IT team to guide this conversation.


2. Proactively communicate how Alteryx fits into the IT modernization vision and evolving data stack.


IT is responsible for big-picture modernization initiatives. When the C-suite decides your company is going all-in on cloud, IT will be in charge of the cloud strategy. They will constantly be evaluating which technologies are working, which to shut off, and which to invest in for the future.


So there’s a good chance your underlying data stack will evolve every year. Keep an ear to the ground for changes to these data architecture pieces:


  • Data warehouse: Many businesses are shifting to a cloud data warehouse or lakehouse, such as Databricks, Snowflake and Amazon Redshift.
  • Cloud hyperscaler: Your organization might sign a big agreement with a major cloud provider like AWS, Azure or Google Cloud.


Good news: Alteryx is a technology-agnostic platform! The Alteryx AI Platform integrates with your organization’s choice of technology vendors and operating environments. So when IT has a preferred technology setup, you can show them how Alteryx drives value in that setup.


By the way, Alteryx doesn’t just fit in with a modernization initiative. It can help with the journey. IT cares about business continuity during a major transition – and what better solution for that than a data analytics platform that can evolve from on-prem to cloud? If it makes sense for your business, check out solutions like Cloud Execution for Desktop.


3. Make IT the business hero and show them how Alteryx drives ROI.


At the end of the day, IT doesn’t want to be seen as a business blocker. They want to help the business move. And the business moves faster with Alteryx.


You already know that, but it’s important to get across to IT. Because when you’re having those budget battles, you need to convince IT that they will see business ROI from the investment. There has to be value in it for them, not just for you.


Some points you can make:

  • Analysts can answer business questions faster without having to wait for IT.
  • Because Alteryx has a broad range of features, IT can reduce TCO (total cost of ownership) by replacing point solutions with Alteryx and reducing “tool sprawl.”
  • Hello, automation! IT loves automation – they’re all about efficiency. Show them how Alteryx automates and orchestrates costly manual processes.
  • AI is one area IT is investing in, not cutting. Tell them about all the AI things.
  • Alteryx has a user community over 500K strong (woot woot!) and that’s important to IT – they know you have the resources and support needed to find answers.


Ready to engage with IT and get into the room where it happens? Here are some resources that will help you have more collaborative conversations with IT.


360 Governance with Alteryx

Alteryx for IT Leaders

Democratization or Governance? You’re Asking the Wrong Question

Your Travel Guide to Modernizing the Data Stack

Alex Gnibus

Hi there! I'm a technical product marketer on the Alteryx team, which means I love talking about all the awesome things you can do with Alteryx and its technology partners like Snowflake, AWS, Tableau and more. I'm passionate about making technical information fun and accessible so more people can learn about it!

Hi there! I'm a technical product marketer on the Alteryx team, which means I love talking about all the awesome things you can do with Alteryx and its technology partners like Snowflake, AWS, Tableau and more. I'm passionate about making technical information fun and accessible so more people can learn about it!