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Under the hood of Alteryx: tips, tricks and how-tos.
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Symbiosis is an interesting word. It’s from biology. It means “interaction between two different organisms living in close physical association, typically to the advantage of both,” or a mutually beneficial relationship between different people or groups. Drilling further into the meaning, there are actually 3 types of symbiotic relationships:
 
  1. Mutualism –where both parties benefit
  2. Commensalism –where one benefits while the other is neither helped nor harmed
  3. Parasitism –where one gains and the other loses
 
We see this phenomenon play out in business every day as sparring groups within organizations. I’ve talked about some of these interactions in past blogs, notably, “The Two Ways Organizations Solve Problems.”
 
symbiosis1.jpg

 

 
Before we explore a little more, let me state that I’ve had the privilege of being in the IT industry for 18 years (before I went to the “dark side” 15 years ago in Sales and Marketing. (For my Sales and Marketing friends, I “came to the light”.) I’ve been blessed to form relationships with many different individuals that have held - or hold - the titles of CDO or CAO: chief data officer and chief analytics officer, respectively. In my experiences, I’ve come to the conclusion that the CDO and CAO roles have a symbiotic relationship. Which type of symbiosis? That’s your story ...
 
The CDO, as described by CIO Magazine, oversees a range of data-related functions that may include data management, ensuring data quality and creating data strategy. He or she may also be responsible for data analytics and business intelligence, the process of drawing valuable insights from data. This is a vision – not necessarily the reality. In discussions with CDOs, more often than not, their actuality has become narrow. It is focused on data governance and policy. Revenue tends to start and end conversations.
 
The CAO, as described by CIO Magazine, heads up a company's data analytics operations, transforming data into business value, and drives data-related business change. The role is often viewed as interchangeable with that of the chief data officer. In discussions with CAOs, their actuality is typically frustration as enterprise data governance and policy stifles transformative insight AND they are siloed to one or maybe few types of problems.
 
You can also see built-in contention here. According to the same article, the CAO “role is often viewed as interchangeable with that of the chief data officer,” while the CDO “may also be responsible for data analytics and business intelligence, the process of drawing valuable insights from data.”
 
Wow. (As in flabbergasted “wow”). Just ... wow. Parasitism.
 
But ... what if ... the contention was removed.
 
If the reality of the CDO can get out of the “mire” of governance and policy, THEN the reality of the CAO could actually transform data into business value. Mutualism.
 
How would this play out? Swim lanes. Stay in your “swim lanes.”
 
 
 
symbiosis2.jpg

 

 
 
The CDO’s swim lane is to BUILD DATA. This is accomplished by architecting an environment that organizes and houses good, clean, quality DATA. This means the CDO should have a GLOBAL presence. Accelerating the “good, clean, quality” data means money. Data quality should be and needs to be built into the processes within this environment. For large organizations, this also means designing a federated data architecture –bringing the right DATA to the right LOCALE at the right TIME.
 
The CAO’s swim lane is to BUILD KNOWLEDGE. This means that the CAO should have a LOCAL presence. It can be dangerous to NOT be close to the lines of business –don’t miss the problem! So how does the CAO accomplish this? Global Analytic GOVERNANCE. By architecting a federated analytic environment that can be governed globally but disseminates knowledge locally.
 
Let’s put these two concepts together ...
 
If the CDO can effectively federate data delivery to a local entity while maintaining a global data governance policy, and the CAO can effectively federate analytic knowledge to a local entity while maintaining a global analytic governance policy, then timely VALUE and INSIGHT are delivered at the local level.
 
Nirvana.
 
So, how can this happen?
 
Here are some questions to consider.
 
  1. Does your organization have a common foundation for data, processes, analytics, and insights? If not, no nirvana on the horizon.
  2. Does your organization have the right set of tools to allow good communication between your data and your analytics personnel? If not, no nirvana on the horizon.
  3. What symbiotic stage is your CDO and CAO relationship? If not mutualism, or moving that way, well, you get the picture ...
 
For the CDO – organizational metadata should be the “beginning of intelligence” – not the end.
 
For the CAO – analytics should be the “touchpoint” for in-sight – not data.
 
Will your “nirvana” ever happen? I can’t answer that for you, but, I’ll say this – if you cannot answer the above questions positively, I can assure you that it will be a long row to hoe.
 
“Two sides of the same coin” –  "feed off each other” – however you want to say it when describing the CDO and CAO.  What do organizations need? Symbiotic Mutualism – both parties benefit – organizations win.
 
Drop me a note, or talk to us here at Alteryx, let's talk about your current state and future outlook.
Gary Spakes
Director | Solutions Architecture

Gary focuses on both the technical aspects and business implications involving the Alteryx architecture. Gary engages strategically with customers world-wide on a variety of technology topics including but not limited to Data Management, Analytical Process Lifecycle, Insight Delivery, and underlying technologies. Gary’s goal is to help organizations leverage technology to turn data into information, information into insight, and make “better” decisions. An 18 year IT veteran prior to going to “the dark side” in Sales and Marketing, Gary has implemented and led operational teams for ERP systems, been a DBA and DBA manager, and developed investment management and mutual fund accounting software during stints with Price Waterhouse, Chase Manhattan Bank (now JP Morgan Chase), Acxiom Corporation, and SAS. Spakes holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Tampa with majors in Mathematics and Management Information Systems. He resides in North Carolina.

Gary focuses on both the technical aspects and business implications involving the Alteryx architecture. Gary engages strategically with customers world-wide on a variety of technology topics including but not limited to Data Management, Analytical Process Lifecycle, Insight Delivery, and underlying technologies. Gary’s goal is to help organizations leverage technology to turn data into information, information into insight, and make “better” decisions. An 18 year IT veteran prior to going to “the dark side” in Sales and Marketing, Gary has implemented and led operational teams for ERP systems, been a DBA and DBA manager, and developed investment management and mutual fund accounting software during stints with Price Waterhouse, Chase Manhattan Bank (now JP Morgan Chase), Acxiom Corporation, and SAS. Spakes holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Tampa with majors in Mathematics and Management Information Systems. He resides in North Carolina.