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Past Analytics Excellence Awards

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Author: Jack Morgan (@jack_morgan), Project Management & Business Intelligence

 

Awards Category: Most Time Saved

 

After adding up the time savings for our largest projects we came up with an annual savings of 7,736 hours - yea, per year! In that time, you could run 1,700 marathons, fill 309,000 gas tanks or watch 3,868 movies!! Whaaaaaaaaaaaaat! In said time savings, we have not done any of the previously listed events. Instead, we've leveraged this time to take advantage of our otherwise unrealized potential for more diverse projects and support of departments in need of more efficiency. Other users that were previously responsible for running these processes now work on optimizing other items that are long overdue and adding value in other places by acting as project managers for other requests.

 

Describe the problem you needed to solve 

The old saying goes, Time is of the essence, and there are no exceptions here! More holistically, we brought Alteryx into our group to better navigate disparate data and build one-time workflows to create processes that are sustainable and provide a heightened level of accuracy. In a constraint driven environment my team is continuously looking for how to do things better. Whether that is faster, more accurately or with less needed oversight is up to our team. The bottom line is that Alteryx provides speed, accuracy, and agility that we never thought would be possible. Cost and the most expensive resource of all, human, has been a massive driver for us through our Alteryx journey and I'd expect that these drivers will continue as time passes us by.

 

Describe the working solution

Our processes vary from workflow to workflow, however overall we use a lot of SQL, Oracle, Teradata and SharePoint. In some workflows we blend 2 sources; in others we blend all of them. It depends on the need of the business that we are working with on any given day. Once the blending is done we do a variety of things with it, sometimes is goes to apps for self-service consumption and other times we push it into a data warehouse. However one thing that is consistent in our process is final data visualization in Tableau! Today, upwards of 95% of our workflows end up in Tableau allowing us to empower our users with self-service and analytics reporting. When using databases like SQL and Oracle we see MASSIVE gains in the use of In-Database tools. The ability for our Alteryx users to leverage such a strong no code solution creates an advantage for us in the customer service and analytics space because they already understand the data but now they have a means to get to it.

 

Audit Automation:

Audit Automation.PNG

 

Billing:

 

Billing.PNG

 

File Generator:

 

File Generator.PNG

Market Generator:

 

Market Data.PNG

 

Parse:

Parse.PNG

 

Describe the benefits you have achieved

The 7,736 hours mentioned above is cumulative of 7 different processes that we rely on, on a regular basis.

 

  1. One prior process took about 9 days/month to run - we've dropped that to 30s/month!
  2. Another process required 4 days/quarter that our team was able to cut to 3 min/quarter.
  3. The third and largest workflow would have taken at estimate 5200 hours to complete and our team took 10.4 hours to do the same work!
  4. The next project was a massive one, we needed to create a tool to parse XML data into a standardized excel format. This process once took 40 hrs/month (non-standard pdf to excel) that we can run in less than 5s/month!
  5. Less impressive but still a great deal of time was when our systems and qa team contracted us to rebuild their daily reporting for Production Support Metrics. This process took them about 10 hours/month that we got to less than 15 sec/day.
  6. One of our internal QA teams asked us to assist them in speeding up their pre-work time for their weekly audit process. We automated their process that took them upwards of 65 hours/month to a process that now takes us 10 sec/week!
  7. The last of the 7 processes that have been mentioned in that our above write-up would be a process for survey data that took a team 2 hours/week to process. That same process takes our team about 20 sec/week to process.

 

We hope you've found our write-up compelling and win-worthy!

 

Author: Jack Morgan (@jack_morgan), Project Management & Business Intelligence

 

Awards Category: Most Time Saved

 

After adding up the time savings for our largest projects we came up with an annual savings of 7,736 hours - yea, per year! In that time, you could run 1,700 marathons, fill 309,000 gas tanks or watch 3,868 movies!! Whaaaaaaaaaaaaat! In said time savings, we have not done any of the previously listed events. Instead, we've leveraged this time to take advantage of our otherwise unrealized potential for more diverse projects and support of departments in need of more efficiency. Other users that were previously responsible for running these processes now work on optimizing other items that are long overdue and adding value in other places by acting as project managers for other requests.

 

Describe the problem you needed to solve 

The old saying goes, Time is of the essence, and there are no exceptions here! More holistically, we brought Alteryx into our group to better navigate disparate data and build one-time workflows to create processes that are sustainable and provide a heightened level of accuracy. In a constraint driven environment my team is continuously looking for how to do things better. Whether that is faster, more accurately or with less needed oversight is up to our team. The bottom line is that Alteryx provides speed, accuracy, and agility that we never thought would be possible. Cost and the most expensive resource of all, human, has been a massive driver for us through our Alteryx journey and I'd expect that these drivers will continue as time passes us by.

 

Describe the working solution

Our processes vary from workflow to workflow, however overall we use a lot of SQL, Oracle, Teradata and SharePoint. In some workflows we blend 2 sources; in others we blend all of them. It depends on the need of the business that we are working with on any given day. Once the blending is done we do a variety of things with it, sometimes is goes to apps for self-service consumption and other times we push it into a data warehouse. However one thing that is consistent in our process is final data visualization in Tableau! Today, upwards of 95% of our workflows end up in Tableau allowing us to empower our users with self-service and analytics reporting. When using databases like SQL and Oracle we see MASSIVE gains in the use of In-Database tools. The ability for our Alteryx users to leverage such a strong no code solution creates an advantage for us in the customer service and analytics space because they already understand the data but now they have a means to get to it.

 

Audit Automation:

Audit Automation.PNG

 

Billing:

 

Billing.PNG

 

File Generator:

 

File Generator.PNG

Market Generator:

 

Market Data.PNG

 

Parse:

Parse.PNG

 

Describe the benefits you have achieved

The 7,736 hours mentioned above is cumulative of 7 different processes that we rely on, on a regular basis.

 

  1. One prior process took about 9 days/month to run - we've dropped that to 30s/month!
  2. Another process required 4 days/quarter that our team was able to cut to 3 min/quarter.
  3. The third and largest workflow would have taken at estimate 5200 hours to complete and our team took 10.4 hours to do the same work!
  4. The next project was a massive one, we needed to create a tool to parse XML data into a standardized excel format. This process once took 40 hrs/month (non-standard pdf to excel) that we can run in less than 5s/month!
  5. Less impressive but still a great deal of time was when our systems and qa team contracted us to rebuild their daily reporting for Production Support Metrics. This process took them about 10 hours/month that we got to less than 15 sec/day.
  6. One of our internal QA teams asked us to assist them in speeding up their pre-work time for their weekly audit process. We automated their process that took them upwards of 65 hours/month to a process that now takes us 10 sec/week!
  7. The last of the 7 processes that have been mentioned in that our above write-up would be a process for survey data that took a team 2 hours/week to process. That same process takes our team about 20 sec/week to process.

 

We hope you've found our write-up compelling and win-worthy!

 

DSC_0035.JPGAuthor: Erik Miller (@erik_miller), Sr Systems Engineer - Cyber Security Analytics

 

Awards Category: Most Time Saved

 

Describe the problem you needed to solve

My team's story starts from the ground level of analytics: no tools, no resources, no defined data sources. But our Information Security team had an idea: to be able to report out on all of Western Union's Agent Locations (think Kroger grocery stores, mom & pop shops, etc) and the risk they posed by not having certain security measures implemented - look at every PC/terminal they have to determine their individual risks (2.4 million when we started), their fraud history, their transaction limits, etc, etc. and risk-rate every one of those 500,000+ Locations. We completed a proof of concept and realized it was completely unsustainable, requiring over 100+ hours every month to be able to produce, what outwardly looked like, a simple report. We took that process and built it out in Alteryx. And with just a little over 2.5 hours with the tool, we took a process which dominated my time and turned it into a 5 ½ minute layout of time. What's more, we've turned this POC project and turned it into a full-fledged program and department, focused on risk analytics surrounding employee & contractor resource usage (malicious or uneducated insiders), customer web analytics (looking for hackers), and further Agent analytics.

 

Beyond our humble beginnings, there's the constant threat of data breaches, fraud, and malicious insiders in the Information Security world - it's the reality of the work we do. Having the ability to build out an strategic analytics program has been a huge step in the right direction in our industry and company & not an area which many other companies have been able to focus on, which also sets us ahead of the curve.

 

Describe the working solution

We are using Alteryx to assess several data sources - HR data sets for active/terminated employees & contractors, clickstream data from our digital assets and websites, security data from our Netezza system, fraud data, log files from our various security platforms, user behavior data from our UBA (User Behavior Analytics) system, Identity and Access Management attributes/entitlements, system infection logs, installed applications, etc., etc. As I've said in other talks, we don't have a data lake, we have an ocean.

 

We are currently exporting our data to Tableau tde files, Hadoop, and MySQL databases. In addition, we have started looking/experimenting with our Alteryx Server implementation (which I support for our company).

 

Describe the benefits you have achieved

Overall time savings is nearing 150 hours a month, so a massive savings and an ability for our team to stay incredibly lean - no additional FTEs needed to keep taking on more and more data and challenges. We've also been able to give visibility to the security implementations for all of our 500,000+ worldwide locations - something which we didn't have visibility to prior to now, and which helps us drive the business to implement security features where needed - based on logic, numbers, and fraud data, not feelings.

 

We also are able to provide insights into our user base - how are our employees using our assets, what are they doing that's lowering our security posture, how are they getting infected. We're providing insights which can help our company become more secure.

 erik_miller_workflow.png

How much time has your organization saved by using Alteryx workflows?

What has this time savings allowed you to do?

With just our first workflow, we saved over 100 hours per month - so over a full FTE of time has been taken off of my plate. Alter
yx has allowed us to now only save time each month, but keep our team incredibly lean (we only have three people, and that's all we need to churn through massive amounts of security & fraud data each month).

 

So what has this time saving allowed us to do? Many, many things.

 

First, I was promoted to Sr. Systems Engineer - Cyber Security Analytics. With that change in title, also came the opportunity to build out a strategic-focused Information Security Analytics team, focused on looking at all security data throughout the company and identifying areas where we can improve our security program and posture.

 

Second, It's allowed me time to work with other departments to build out their analytics programs and help them learn to use the Alteryx tools in their respective areas.

 

Third, it's allowed my team to work on new, expanding projects with great ease.