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Alteryx adds augmented analytics, more cloud capabilities

The vendor's latest update includes increased connectivity to cloud data storage repositories and enhanced augmented intelligence features designed to increase speed-to-insight.

A host of new integrations with cloud data platforms and added augmented analytics capabilities highlight the latest Alteryx platform update.

The vendor unveiled the new capabilities on Wednesday during Inspire, its first in-person user conference since 2019, before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Alteryx, a data and analytics vendor founded in 1997 and based in Irvine, Calif., whose platform specializes in the automation of repeatable data preparation tasks, was slow to introduce cloud-native capabilities compared to peers such as SAS, Dataiku, Databricks and Knime.

Investment in the cloud

In May 2021, however, it released Alteryx Designer Cloud -- its first cloud-native capability -- in preview, and since then has made building up its cloud-native portfolio a priority. In early February 2022, it made Designer Cloud generally available, and at the same time also launched cloud-native tools Alteryx Machine Learning and Alteryx Auto Insights.

In addition, just days after the general availability of its first cloud-native capabilities, Alteryx closed on its $400 million acquisition of Trifacta, a cloud-first data integration vendor, and added Trifacta's capabilities to its platform.

And in early March, it unified its cloud-native capabilities to form the Alteryx Analytics Cloud.

Now, Alteryx is adding integrations with cloud data storage platforms Databricks, Snowflake and Google BigQuery that enable users to work with data directly in their storage platform of choice rather than force them to extract their data and load it into Alteryx before it can be prepared for analysis.

A sample Alteryx Designer Cloud screenshot
A sample Alteryx Designer Cloud screenshot displays a customer's workflow.

The integrations will make it easier for Alteryx customers work with their data and increase speed-to-insight, according to Kalyan Ramanathan, the vendor's senior vice president of product and solution marketing.

"Enhanced cloud connectivity supports Alteryx customers deploying modern data architectures that leverage cloud data warehouses and data lakehouses, [and] enables customers to reduce the time to insights by the cloud data platform running analysis right where the data lives rather than transferring data," he said.  

It may seem simple, but enhancing connectivity to Databricks, Snowflake and Google BigQuery is important. These are hot technologies attracting lots of customers, and pushdown capabilities are important when dealing with large amounts of data stored in these products.
David MenningerAnalyst, Ventana Research

Similarly, David Menninger, an analyst at Ventana Research, noted that the integrations should significantly benefit Alteryx customers who store their data in the cloud by making it easier for them to work with their data.

"It may seem simple, but enhancing connectivity to Databricks, Snowflake and Google BigQuery is important," he said. "These are hot technologies attracting lots of customers, and pushdown capabilities are important when dealing with large amounts of data stored in these products."

Menninger added that although Alteryx was slow to roll out its first cloud-native capabilities compared to its peers, given that most organizations are still in the cloud migration process and most analytics work is still done on premises, the vendor was not dangerously behind the times. In addition, he noted that like Alteryx, many of the vendor's peers are still in the process of moving their capabilities to the cloud rather than offering complete cloud-native platforms.

"Most of the analytics vendors that have migrated to the cloud from on-premises offerings to cloud-based offerings still have more work to do and Alteryx is no exception," Menninger said.

New AI capabilities

In addition to enhanced connectivity in the cloud, the latest Alteryx analytics platform update includes enhanced augmented intelligence capabilities.

Auto Insights, first launched in February, is now integrated with Designer Desktop and Designer Server. Designer is a tool that enables users to prepare data without writing code, and the addition of Auto Insights will enable users to automatically configure and schedule the delivery of automated insights.

"Auto Insights allows customers to democratize access to analytics with self-service, AI-driven insights for their business users to make better data-driven business decisions," Ramanathan said.

Meanwhile, enhancements to Machine Learning, a tool also first launched in February that enables users to use predictive analytics to make data-informed decisions, include predictive time-series modeling.

"Alteryx tends to shine relative to some competitors in its Auto Insights and machine learning capabilities," Menninger said. "The enhancements in these areas will be helpful making them easier to use, more capable and accessible in more portions of the products."

Other new analytics capabilities in Alteryx's platform update include an updated version of Designer with a modernized look and feel, the addition of Intelligence Suite to enable text mining and computer vision, and the combination of Designer Cloud with Trifacta's capabilities to enhance security in the cloud.

All are now generally available.

Meanwhile, Alteryx introduced early access to Metric Store, which will enable organizations to define key performance indicators that can be used by anyone to consistently measure performance.

According to Menninger, the enhancements and additions are incremental, but are nevertheless significant given Alteryx's continued investment in AI and making its tools simultaneously easier to use and more powerful. The standout, meanwhile, is the blending of Designer Cloud with Trifacta's capabilities, he noted.

"It's always a challenge when one vendor acquires another, but the commitment to integrate Trifacta deeply into Designer Cloud is the right thing to do for customers," Menninger said.

As Alteryx looks to the future, it will continue to add cloud-native analytics capabilities while also adding functionality for customers that choose to deploy on premises, according to Ramanathan.

One specific tool the vendor has on its roadmap is Spatial for All, a location analytics capability that will enable users to easily do spatial analysis, he said. In addition, more connectors are in the works.

"We continue to invest to empower enterprises to deploy analytics at scale," he said.

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