Let’s face it. Most line of business users don’t have a data scientist at their beck and call or even a geek from IT for that matter. So when a marketing manager or finance executive needs to make a decision in short order, he often has to do so based on a small fraction of the available information, go with his gut or miss the opportunity.

“It can take days, weeks or months before IT can provide it,” said Bob Laurent, director of product marketing at Alteryx, a data blending and data analytics platform.

That’s a problem because we live in an increasingly real time world.

That same world, mind you, is rich and overflowing with data — mobile, social, transactional, analytical, Internet of Things … we could go on. And it’s not just that, but today’s consumers don’t respond well to marketers (or anyone else) who misfires. They expect personalization and for the other party to be well informed.

Numbers vs. Numbers that Matter

C-level executives understand this and it’s why they insist that line of business managers to leverage every piece of relevant data whether it lives in Oracle, Microsoft, Marketo, Salesforce … you name it. And it’s not something that a third party, who’s not familiar with the information, can do.

“There is a difference between numbers and numbers that matter,” wrote Jeff Bladt and Bob Filbin in “Know the Difference Between Your Data and Your Metrics,” a Harvard Business Review article.

“Only line of business users understand the nuances," said Laurent.

And so it goes to follow that this morning Alteryx announced Alteryx Analytics 9.5. This release builds on the already robust Alteryx 9 (which focused on helping analysts blend data anywhere from Excel to big data) and empowers analysts as they progress from using spreadsheets to taking full advantage of the data resources their organization has built around them, allowing them to blend large datasets within databases rather than just subsets of data on their desktops.

In other words, analysts will be able to expediently work with data in corporate databases like Oracle and Microsoft, as well as other databases, without needing to write SQL scripts. The result? The time from data to decision decreases dramatically.

But that’s not all Alteryx 9.5 offers. It also includes updated visualizations for a number of the Alteryx R-based predictive tools and an easier way for analysts to share their work in the form of workflows or macros that solve specific analytics problems.

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3 Key Benefits

More specifically, the Alteryx Analytics 9.5 platform delivers:

  1. New in-database data blending tools deliver faster results with large datasets in Microsoft and Oracle databases. As analysts are asked to support decisions that require more and more data, they are forced to progress from spreadsheets, to local databases, to corporate databases; and are beginning to use Big Data sources such as Hadoop. Alteryx 9.5 extends the high performance and speed of the product to very large datasets within the databases analysts use every day without requiring handcrafted SQL coding. These new in-database tools allow analysts to take advantage of their entire database, and will be initially available for Microsoft SQL Server and Oracle databases. 
  2. More intuitive predictive analytics visualizations that allow analysts to gain to insights faster. Alteryx is introducing the first set of its R-based predictive and data investigation tools with new ways to visualize the results. Today analysts utilizing R are forced to use basic, static visualizations to understand how their models have performed. These new visualizations are designed to make it easier to understand the results of predictive models, driving faster conclusions and recommendations. Initially, visualizations for AB Analysis, Contingency, Frequency and Association tools will be available – with support for other tools in the future.
  3. Easier sharing and consumption of Alteryx workflows and macros that solve specific analytic challenges. Every day thousands of analysts use Alteryx to solve problems related to specific datasets, analytics models, or data blending tasks. Alteryx 9.5 makes it easier to share pre-configured workflows or packaged macros to solve these problems within an organization by posting them to an Alteryx Server, or with the wider analyst community through the Alteryx Analytics Gallery. This will further reduce the time that analysts spend blending their data and building analytical models.

What’s the Big Deal?

It’s almost needless to say that big data is useless unless you can leverage it to make data driven decisions. And while we have access to an unprecedented amount of data, the capabilities to capture a large part of it, and a way to crunch it that makes sense economically, what we’re just getting around to is analyzing it expediently enough to be able to make data driven decisions in near real time.

Alteryx goes a long way in getting us there.