Democratizing Analytics: Q&A with Alteryx’s Adam Wilson

Today, all organizations want to be data-driven and empower their users at every level to make more informed decisions. Trifacta, known for its data wrangling tools and software, was recently acquired by Alteryx, a leader in self-service data analytics, for $400 million. Adam Wilson, formerly CEO of Trifacta, and now senior vice president & general manager, Trifacta, at Alteryx, recently reflected on the changing data environment, what customers need to focus on now to be successful, and how the acquisition supports Alteryx’s mission.

Trifacta was just acquired by Alteryx. What are the key capabilities that Alteryx sought in Trifacta?

Adam Wilson Alteryx is focused on democratizing data analytics and helping every worker get the insights they need from their data. As more enterprises move their data to the cloud, our combined goal is to help business users get timely insights that drive digital transformation. By acquiring Trifacta, Alteryx now has the ability to leverage an award-winning cloud company that uses scalable data management and machine learning to make data analytics faster and more intuitive. Trifacta also brings partnerships with the leading major cloud providers: Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Platform, and Microsoft Azure. Together, we will be able to accelerate the development of an integrated end-to-end, low-code/no-code analytics automation platform in the cloud. This will enable the democratization of data engineering and analytics throughout the entire business. This acquisition will anchor and accelerate Alteryx’s journey to the cloud and open new categories of users across IT within large enterprises.

What will the combination of Trifacta's Data Engineering Cloud and Alteryx’s Analytics Automation platform enable for customers?

Together, we are in a better position to meet the analytics needs of our customers. We are now uniquely positioned to help our customers drive their analytics transformation at scale by combining Trifacta’s game-changing integrations and cloud-native capabilities with Alteryx’s industry leading analytics solution.

Enterprise customers are deploying modern data architectures built upon cloud data warehouses and supporting SaaS-based applications and analytics. Meanwhile, business users' appetite for timely insights from these large cloud datasets to fuel their digital transformation efforts is at an all-time high, driving the need for scalable, secure solutions to access and automate data analysis. Together, we’ll dominate the analytics landscape.

DataOps is getting a lot of traction lately. Do you think that DataOps and the processes involved in operationalizing data use from creation/collection to analytics is becoming more widely understood as a discipline?

Over the past 7 years, there has been a massive movement toward DataOps beyond just the biggest companies, but those in the midmarket. As recently as 2 years ago, most of the larger organizations were still doing their data warehousing and advanced analytics on-premise. This is rapidly changing, thanks to DataOps and platforms like Trifacta’s Data Engineering Cloud. It was a big shift to provide an end-to-end SaaS-based platform to do all of the data engineering work. Now, with our integration into the Alteryx cloud ecosystem, users have endless analytics offerings to empower their datasets and make informed, easy data-driven decisions.

Why is an increase in data literacy across organizations so important?

As more businesses shift their focus to prioritize data-driven decision making, data literacy will increasingly play a role in how these decisions are made across departments. In data-driven organizations, it’s easy to inadvertently automate bad decisions by using bad data. Data-literate companies actively work to avoid these situations by ensuring data quality and well-prepared data. Trifacta has long promoted the idea of democratizing data to help with data literacy, so business users and data engineers can work in the same environment to solve problems together, utilizing both of their respective expertise. As the community of data-literate people grows, the oversight, consistency and quality of data-driven decision making will improve and, in turn, the value of analytics will grow. In the long run, businesses driving value from data can leverage powerful results across their organizations.

Trifacta was one of the early companies to promote the issue of data prep as a problem for analytics. How has the understanding of the role of data quality evolved?

Since Trifacta’s founding, the goal has always been to help users understand what is in their datasets, transform the data to make it actionable, and fit it for downstream use. At the heart of this has always been data quality—and that value still remains today. Data quality—meaning accuracy, completeness, and timeliness—has different dimensions, but the central concern is purpose. However, data quality is a constantly moving target and users are only as good as the data they are given. Today, thanks to predictive analytics suggestions, our platforms assess data sets and provide indicators for users to monitor and track the data’s cleanliness in their systems over time.

What’s next for Trifacta within the larger Alteryx organization and what are the key areas of focus for you?

We’re accelerating the next phase of our cloud growth so that we can meet enterprises where they need to be and make it easier for them to solve business problems. Analytics is no longer optional, and it does not have to be complex. Together, we’re democratizing analytics by empowering organizations to upskill every worker into a data worker. With the strength of Trifacta, we’ll also be able to accelerate the development of an integrated end-to-end, low code/no code analytics automation platform in the cloud.


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