The Alteryx Certification Program provides customers with the opportunity to prove their skills, improve their skills, and advance their careers. The program offers three levels of Designer certification: Core, Advanced, and Expert, as well as two specialized certifications: Automation Master and Spatial Master. The Core and Advanced exams are offered online, on-demand, and free of charge. Learn in this use case how we automated the administration part of the program using Alteryx Designer and saved 40 hours a month.
Describe the business challenge or problem you needed to solve
When the program launched in late 2017, we worked with an online platform to deliver the exams but didn’t have a way to administer the program (store data, analyze results, communicate with participants, create and send certificates and logos, and assign badges on Community). We needed a solution that met the following criteria:
1) Economical. The solution needed to be economical to ensure our continued ability to offer the Core and Advanced exams free of charge. This is very important to us because free exams allow participants to focus on learning and skill development, and makes career development accessible to everyone. The high cost of many tech certifications can be an obstruction to many users and favors those who already have a job or are able to financially invest in their careers. Offering exams for free allows certification to be accessible to analysts globally and provides an opportunity for everyone, regardless of financial ability, to advance their careers. Traditional Learning Management Systems (LMS) come with a steep price tag, motivating us to find a creative and cost-effective solution.
2) Automated. The solution needed to be easily automated with little manual intervention. Manually exporting results from the online platform and managing the program in spreadsheets takes a significant amount of time and will only increase as the program grows. Having an automated solution for administration allows the program manager to focus resources on other priorities like exam development and maintenance.
3) Scalable: We needed a solution that would allow us to expand and scale the program easily without additional financial or human resources. The solution needed to be flexible enough to accommodate growth in terms of volume, new certification exams, and global growth from localized exams.
Describe your working solution
The solution that met all of our needs was Alteryx Designer and Server! We created a workflow that was responsible for the majority of the daily operations of the program.
Overview of the process:
Overview of the workflow:
Connect to data from the online exam platform via an API:
Parse and prepare the downloaded data for downstream processing:
Write new exam results to the database and create and send an email with workflow run results to monitor operations:
Create customized certificates with the user’s name and certification date, and save them to a network folder:
Upload certificates to an AWS S3 folder via a Run Command tool so participants can add a link to their certificate on social media / LinkedIn:
Create and send congratulations emails that include a link to their certificate, an attached logo, exam score, certification expiration date, and links to announce their achievement on Twitter and LinkedIn:
Our last step was to automate the process by scheduling the workflow in the Alteryx Gallery to run every 10 minutes:
In addition to this workflow, we have automated several other processes with Alteryx, including assigning badges to the Community via APIs, creating visualizations and dashboards with program data, and creating and sending reports. As the program has grown the solution has been flexible and scalable, allowing us to incorporate new exams and create additional automated correspondence, like certification expiration reminders.
Describe the benefits you have achieved
This solution has allowed us to forego a traditional LMS to administer our certification program, which saved us tens of thousands of dollars. We were also able to avoid doing the administrative processes manually, which would’ve taken about 40 hours each month. Our automated solution has enabled the certification program to be successfully run by one person for nearly 2 years. On a personal level, this solution has impacted my job significantly by allowing me to focus on creating new certifications and enhancing the quality of the program instead of being stuck in spreadsheets. Ultimately, the biggest benefit to this solution is that it allowed us to offer two certifications free of charge so Alteryx users around the world can advance their careers in analytics.