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Alteryx partnership with UiPath adds automation capabilities

Alteryx expanded its partnership agreement with a robotic process automation vendor as Alteryx continues to make automation a central part of its analytics platform.

Alteryx on Tuesday unveiled an expanded partnership agreement with UiPath that includes technological innovation and a go-to-market strategy.

Alteryx, a data management specialist founded in 1997 and based in Irvine, Calif., has made automation a major focus over the past few years.

In mid-2020, the vendor rebranded its suite of capabilities as the Alteryx APA Platform, with APA an acronym for Analytic Process Automation. Since then, the vendor has introduced such capabilities as Automatic Mode in its Assisted Modeling Tool for data modeling, Automated Recommendations and Automated Machine Learning.

UiPath, meanwhile, is a leading specialist in robotic process automation founded in 2005 and based in New York. Its IPO on April 23, in which it raised $1.34 billion, was one of the biggest software IPOs ever, and boosted the vendor's valuation to $35.8 billion.

Partners in automation

The expanded partnership between Alteryx and UiPath recently resulted in a new connector that enables Alteryx users to call out to UiPath bots and bring UiPath's RPA capabilities into their workflows. In October, as part of the joint go-to-market strategy between the vendors, Alteryx will take part in UiPath's Forward IV 2021 conference in Las Vegas.

Alteryx and UiPath unveiled their first connector in 2020, enabling UiPath bots to access data sources within Alteryx, and the latest connector -- included in version 2021.3 of Alteryx's platform released in August 2021 -- essentially turns what was a one-way connector into a two-way connector.

Using the connector, joint Alteryx and UiPath customers can more easily automate repeatable tasks that otherwise need to be done manually, particularly those related to extracting and loading data from external data sources.

An Alteryx automated workflow.
A screenshot displays a workflow combining Alteryx's Analytic Process Automation platform with robotic process automation capabilities.

"There's growing momentum around the partnership," said Steve Wooledge, Alteryx's vice president of global partner marketing. "We're seeing high customer demand because of the strategic nature of automation right now. Because of COVID-19, digitization of organizations has accelerated, and [because of UiPath] we have the opportunity to streamline and accelerate the rate of these digital processes."

Similarly, Donald Farmer, founder and principal at TreeHive Strategy, said the partnership between Alteryx and UiPath will increase Alteryx's ability to automate aspects of its platform and, with ease of use a significant focus for the vendor, make Alteryx's tools more efficient.

In particular, the partnership will enable Alteryx to offer a more fully automated platform rather than one limited to certain capabilities that can be automated while others still require significant manual work.

Overall, this is a good move.
Donald FarmerFounder and principal, TreeHive Strategy

"Overall, this is a good move," he said. "One of the bright points in Alteryx's technical development recently has been their Analytic Process Automation, which sought to automate important parts of the analytic workflow. However, APA had gaps, especially when it came to accessing file-based data sources, and RPA -- in this case from UiPath -- really helps."

Farmer added that RPA is a rising trend in analytics, and Alteryx is among those reacting to the trend and infusing significant automation capabilities into its platform.

"RPA is helping analysts with these processes throughout the industry -- not just Alteryx customers -- so this move reflects a broader trend in analytics," he said.

According to Wooledge, joint customers of Alteryx and UiPath have been seeing benefits from the use of both vendors' tools ever since the two first teamed up in about a year ago.

For example, one insurance company that now uses both Alteryx and UiPath had been processing around 35,000 claims annually and wanted to grow that to about 60,000, he said.

Before implementing Alteryx and UiPath, a team of 20 people was processing the claims, and a person specializing in data management was overseeing fraud detection. Because everything was being done manually, claims took about five weeks to process.

With automation, the organization cut the time it took to process claims by 90%, increased the number of claims it can process by 50%, and a full return on investment in Alteryx and UiPath took just six months, according to Wooledge.

Meanwhile, the organization was able to take 18 of the 20 people who had been manually processing claims and redeploy them.

"We've always talked about going from data to insights to action, and now we have the technologies," he said. "Now there are enough digital touchpoints."

He added that a study by McKinsey released in late 2020 showed that digital interactions with customers now account for 65% of customer interactions, up from about 40% before the pandemic.

"That gives us the opportunity to measure, analyze and create automation workflows," Wooledge said. "There's a lot more data that can be automated and streamlined. RPA really rounds out the ability to take information and insights and drive them into downstream applications and processes."

Concerns about Alteryx

Despite Alteryx's success with automation, Farmer voiced concerns about the vendor's slow movement to the cloud.

Alteryx introduced Alteryx Designer Cloud as part of its May 2021 platform update, but to date that is the vendor's sole cloud-native tool.

Customers, therefore, are frustrated, according to Farmer. Despite strong second quarter 2021 earnings with revenue growth of 25% over the second quarter of 2020 and annual recurring revenue growth of 27% year over year, Alteryx's stock price plummeted from a 52-week high of $154.83 in October 2020 to $75.50 as of the close of business on Sept. 24 -- near its 52-week low of $66.66.

"I have no doubt Alteryx is struggling," Farmer said. "Customers and partners are frustrated with high prices and the slow move to the cloud. But there are smart people at Alteryx and they have some good technologies."

In fact, Farmer said perhaps Alteryx has too many good technologies and part of its slow movement to the cloud is a result of its attempt to get integrate the different capabilities it has acquired.

"I have wonder if they have acquired too many interesting pieces of tech over the years and are now struggling with the technical debt to integrate their assets, improve their performance and scale and move to the cloud all at once," he said.

In response to concerns about Alteryx's slow movement to the cloud, Wooledge said that adding cloud-native capabilities is a priority for the vendor, and upcoming plans include adding more cloud-native capabilities.

Specifically, Alteryx expects to reveal new partnerships in the fourth quarter of 2021 that will enable the vendor to increase and improve its presence in the cloud, and more are planned for the first half of 2022.

In addition, Wooledge said the recent hire of Suresh Vittal as Alteryx's chief product officer in February will help speed Alteryx's move to the cloud. Vittal was previously at Adobe for more than seven years where he helped oversee Adobe Experience Cloud.

"More and more, our customers want to do more in the cloud," Wooledge said. "He was a very strong influence on the cloud-native capabilities and strategic direction at Adobe, and you can expect to see a lot of that strength come through in what we'll be doing. Our journey to the cloud has been accelerated by his presence."

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