In this blog, we will explore how Alteryx Auto Insights can help you to process and upload your data and turn it into accurate insights within minutes.
The Death of Dashboards
The Oxford Dictionary defines a dashboard as a “Graphical summary of various pieces of information, typically used to give an overview of a business”.
Despite this simple definition and the simple goal of dashboards, it’s very easy to overcomplicate them. How many of us have experienced pages and pages of dashboards aiming to visualise our data? Or a cluttered dashboard with various charts visualising the data in different ways? Having to go through numerous filters to get the right breakdown you need?
In 2021, a couple of analytics vendors, such as this one, made the claim ‘dashboards are dead’. Initially dashboards were supposed to provide self-service analytics that visualised the data in a easy to consume way, yet this seems to still be undelivered in many circumstances. In a study completed by Exasol, respondents indicated that the top drawbacks when using a dashboard included inadequate context (61%), information overload (54%) and a lack of customisation to individual user needs (46%). In an attempt to alleviate these issues a little, analysts often still have to work through dashboards and filters and exported data to get to the analysis required. Moreover, when working with big data, finding important points on a dashboard visualising all that data can be like finding a needle in a haystack.
With the pain of analysing data on such dashboards, people often resolve to use dashboards for reporting instead, taking a screenshot of a breakdown they did to place on PowerPoint for presentations. It’s not uncommon to hear the famous phrase “Could you export the data to excel please?” for analysts or other users to do further analysis on. Unfamiliarity of the interface when working through a dashboard could also cause this scenario.
In case this doesn’t resonate with you yet, why not consider this viral image that went around LinkedIn – describing the common experience most BI analysts go through.
Relatable now? And why is that? You’re probably not getting the exact analysis you are looking for from the dashboards you have been building. You’re not getting the exact insights to help you make better decisions from these dashboards you’ve built. You’re not able to form an exact story out of your data in order to understand the current concerns within your organisation.
And if this is the exact frustration you’re facing today, let us introduce you to a solution that could help you fix just that.
What more is there from insights?
Something that analysts and dashboard users often lack, is the ability to find relevant insights from their data. Let alone, actionable insights. When you first go on a journey of building a dashboard it’s important to consider your individual use case; are you just wanting to report on good performance in the last quarter or do you want to go deeper? Would you like to learn of issues that could be occurring in a different region, or any particular goals achieved in a different country? These insights are what helps an organisation make better plans and decisions to evaluate current processes for better success long term.
However, as much as it’s easy to speak of such variables, analysts today still struggle to locate these insights from their data. It can require hours to churn through filters and perform data analysis in order to spot points of concern or anomalies.
With all these inefficiencies and the extended time it takes to get to these insights, many people have asked, “Is there a tool that can automated this process?” The answer is yes, absolutely. We have a solution that can automatically find insights, or even anomalies, in your data and feed it directly into an easy to use platform. Let’s explore the possibilities of Alteryx Auto Insights together.
Alteryx Auto Insights
Meet Auto Insights – Alteryx’s latest addition to their suite of self-service analytics solutions. You can now get insights automatically and faster through this data to insights platform. Stop relying on exporting data into excel or asking analysts to browse through your data in pursuit for insights and start democratising analytics business-wide. This state-of-the-art platform can help you cut down your time in getting actionable insights, significantly; let’s get into the nitty gritty of it.
Unlock insights almost immediately.
One of the highlight features of Alteryx Auto Insights has to be how insights are presented to you so quickly after ingesting your data. Regardless of whether you’re already on the Alteryx environment, or manually ingesting your data into Auto Insights, it will still process and upload your data and turn them into insights within minutes.
Upon logging into the platform, you will be greeted immediately by the Discover page, which holds an executive summary of key metrics capturing the change trends in your data. Explore your KPIs and performance metrics conveniently through different periodic breakdowns and measure categories.
In the case that a certain insight is of concern to you, you could also choose to find out the reason for this outcome through their What Caused This function. With a just a click, you can now find out the exact factors that led to this steep increase in revenue.
This kind of root cause analysis typically would take an analyst few hours to perform but this platform does it in seconds. You can expect instant root cause analysis without having to pivot spreadsheet tables or schedule in lead times.
Create actionable insights as a point to emulate or take note of within your team meetings quickly, accurately and easily.
Digging further into your data, there is a significant possibility of spikes or changes that are easily overlooked and likely should or could be taken note of. With Alteryx Auto Insights Unexpected Changes function, anomalies can be automatically spotted for you. Auto Insights runs hundreds of thousands of calculations to pick out hidden anomalies or outliers that sales analysts often don’t have time to find. This feature is referred to as their metal detector, highlighting patterns and changes that are not expected, providing a proactive approach when identifying issues.
From the image above, it’s easy to see that there was a large spike in the revenue within the Large Enterprise Company’s data. Revenue increased 105.15% within a month. To find out more about this data point, Alteryx designed the What Caused This feature to explore this insight further. Again, Auto Insights provides you a detailed breakdown with the factors that have caused this spike in revenue. From here, and within a few minutes, users can take these actionable insights and have meaningful conversations with their stakeholders about them to enrich their future plans.
Insights for management are ready and insights for team members to take note of or discuss are ready as well. You don’t just save time from automating top level reporting, but you also get to find hidden insights in your data without having to ask busy analysts a single question.
Have your insights? Now let Auto Insights do the storytelling for you.
Now that you have the insights in the palm of your hands, you might still struggle to breathe these insights to life – to articulate your findings in a way everyone understands. In simpler terms, translating the ‘what’ to the ‘why’.
Aside from ensuring that the key metrics are accessible to anyone in the organisation, it is also important to ensure the receivers of your insights are familiar and can understand the data to make better decisions. This is where data storytelling makes a difference, bridging the gap between obtaining insights and interpreting them.
However, a lot of data users still find data storytelling challenging. Within the same Exasol study, organisations cited three main challenges that were impeding data storytelling including:
- Their employees lack the storytelling skills, regardless of whether they were data literate or not (49%).
- Non-data literate people wouldn’t be able to understand data stories (48%).
- A lack of time to dedicate to developing stories from data (47%).
With almost half of organisations lacking in ability to tell a story out of their data, Alteryx Auto Insights is able to help bridge the gap.
Consider a scenario where you already have an insight you would like to present and would like to prepare an explanation for the team. With the Missions feature in Auto Insights you can create different consolidation of your insights.
For example, say you want to understand your team’s performance in a certain region. First you would start by naming the Mission as ‘APAC Regional Performance’, and then select the key measure to analyse. Upon creating this Mission, Auto Insights will create a template from which you can start to customise and add in focus areas. Here, we will be adding in a filter for the APAC region and we can see the increase and key causes for it.
In seconds, Auto Insights has created a visualisation and written a supporting commentary, ALL with minimal effort on the users part.
What’s crucial to point out here is, rather than relying on an analyst to decipher charts and data points, Auto Insights surfaces the hidden stories and presents it in a digestible way.
You are also able to dig deeper by adding pages to your mission to build on your analysis. So, let’s create another page to break this performance value further, this time by Account Managers.
With the simple filter, we now have an explanation for our selected focus area, as well as a visualisation to help us understand the difference in performance. Just like a sales analyst, Auto Insights collects findings, prioritises the most significant stories and categorises them – simply put, it does the heavy lifting and the user reaps the reward.
In the case where you have a specific data point you would like to analyse, you could also easily select this data point and again – Auto Insights will collate the relevant findings.
Drilling down into a specific story allows you to see what is driving this unexpected increase or change, which could in turn be used to build on this month’s momentum and opportunities for your team which might have otherwise been missed.
Auto Insights has created all these data stories for us automatically, which are anchored around areas such as change, size and proportion. Basically, Auto Insights has done the work of a human analyst. Asking hundreds and thousands of questions of the data and then collating all the findings and presenting what is significant, all while writing the stories out for us.
And finally, to tie all the insights together, with a simple rename and a click of the present button, Auto Insights gathers all your insights together to easily present and share. You can even add in author notes for any additional commentary to explain or highlight context for your viewers.
No more copy pasting of screenshots onto a slide deck!
When you’re ready – Collaborate!
Arguably, the best part about Missions (and Auto Insights in general), is that it’s a collaborative platform as well.
The insights found within your data is likely meaningful and worth sharing with your colleagues and stakeholders to ensure everyone is aligned. To put it in context, these are a few moments where Missions could be useful to your organisation:
- Weekly Stand Ups – use Missions to discuss what has happened in the past week, while identifying areas to focus on.
- Monthly Management Meetings – identify action items and decisions for your management team to make and act on through the insights created on Missions.
- Coaching and Training – collate specific performance KPIs of individuals to be used during one-on-one meetings.
There are definitely more ways you could get your team involved with the insights you create on Auto Insights and the platform supports commenting, sharing and subscription functionalities to help you out with that.
Want to find out more? Don’t wait!
Ultimately, Alteryx Auto Insights is here to make it quick and easy for data user to continuously find game changing insights, without losing hours of time each week on repetitive and manual reporting. Reduce crunch time on filtering different metrics on your dashboards or copy pasting images of your dashboard onto slide decks and let Auto Insights curate and present the insights for you instead.
You’ve seen very briefly within this blogpost how Auto Insights automatically creates insights from your data without any need for users to type or ask any questions. We’ve also highlighted how it automates data storytelling of your insights to make it simple and intuitive for use, regardless of the user’s data literacy.
Think this is something you want to explore for your team and organisation? Why not drop us a note, we’d be happy to run through this platform with you personally to explore its benefits for your organisation? Save time in analysing, presenting and narrating your huge amounts of data and entrust your data to Auto Insights instead.
Use the form below to get in contact!