Why Analytic Process Automation Matters

Just three percent of the world’s data today get analyzed, observes Dean Stoecker, the co-founder and CEO of data science and analytics firm Alteryx. And with data doubling every year, organizations are dropping further behind.

Stoecker was speaking at an online event hosted by his company to highlight the importance of unifying analytics, data science, and business process automation. He noted that there is currently more than US$10 trillion of value locked up in data, and the onus is on businesses to unlock this value by doing things differently.

Of course, Stoecker would like us to leverage Alteryx’s Analytic Process Automation (APA) platform, as he ticked off three important traits he considers vital to succeed with data: easy access to data, automation of analytic processes, and the training of skilled data workers.

Why Analytic Process Automation

But why should businesses care about APA? According to Alteryx co-founder and chief operating officer Libby Duane, existing analytics software solutions only address the low-hanging problems. They are unable to transform current teams into highly productive “analytic workers”, up-leveling talent and scale, or support a deep culture of analytics spearheaded by skilled people.

“The first benefit of APA is democratizing data for people across the business… your teams can automate all of the necessary analytic processes by eliminating the manual work, and those manual handoffs that have been slowing the problem solving down for all of us. This is what unleashes more capacity and more power to the hardest part of digital transformation, which is people,” she explained.

Duane sees opportunities in the road ahead, predicting that companies globally will spend more than US$7 trillion on digital transformation with a large part of it focused around data and analytics: “There's no question that data analytics is at the center of what will enable successful digital transformations, for all businesses, large and small, everywhere in the world.”

How to succeed with data

What are some strategies that businesses can adopt to succeed in a data-driven world? After all, not every organization can afford to hire data scientists or a team of data analysts. For Suneet Dua, the chief product officer at PwC in the U.S., a mixed business-led and citizen-led initiative worked for the consulting services firm.

This begins with the leadership picking the relevant technology – including a solution such as Alteryx, to help employees innovate. However, the key to success boils down to getting employees to participate and leverage these capabilities to build new solutions.

“[Citizen analysts are] closest to the issue, they're closest to the data, they're closest to what needs to be taken out, and what needs to be automated, and they're the ones, we allow them to go build in a way where they can create this culture of innovation,” he said.

For Rodney Bates, the VP of decision science and data strategy at Coca-Cola, succeeding with data starts with having the right platform that can work with a diverse workforce. This might consist of digital natives who can get started right away, to workers with substantial industry experience who want to learn about data analytics and incorporate it into their jobs.

“How do we make it easy for you to get started, get access to the data that you need, without necessarily having to write code, or [figure out] how to access that data lake… I think it's thinking about the entire workforce, finding solutions and platforms to them that are highly flexible,” said Bates.

Don’t forget the people

Ultimately, APA is just a tool. To succeed, organizations must start by democratizing data and putting skilled workers at the helm.

“[Alteryx’s] APA doesn't change the analytic process… we simply unify the experience to allow everyday workers to become a discoverer of marginal profitability, across the enterprise and the entire continuum of analytics begins with data. [Everything] begins with data, so if we don't democratize data, analytics will be elusive to everyone,” summed up Stoecker.

“And when you upskill the workforce. [This] liberation of data is available to you. All this automation of complex tasks is available to you. And it's the only way you're going to future proof your business.”

Photo credit: iStockphoto/Jane1e