Anna and Alteryx. A rocky relationship.

by Anna Noble

Alteryx & I. Currently at phase 3. Working towards 4.

I love Alteryx

At the beginning of Alteryx week at The Data School Chris Love (I think he might be Cupid of the tech world) came along and introduced this tool that did data prep in a matter of seconds with a few clicks and configurations. It was a lot more user friendly and quicker than Excel.  I fell in love with Alteryx instantly.   But as we got over the “honeymoon” period we weren’t seeing eye to eye.

I was feeling lost, confused by its way of thinking.  And frustrated that Alteryx wasn’t doing what I wanted. This came to a climax in Dashboard Week when we were faced with the National Food Survey data set.   A mass of text files, which I couldn’t figure what the hell I was meant to do with!

At this moment my old friend Impostor Syndrome decided it was time to make an entrance. So instead of asking for help from my fellow Data Schoolers, I sat there as my head slowly filled with the echoed voices of self doubt.

I love hate Alteryx

And it was then I decided I’d had enough, I was going to ignore Alteryx for the rest of the week.  It was too much like hard work.

I did my data prep in Tableau 10 which was familiar and thus easier, but as a result I really held back on adding context to my dashboards. The addition of another data set to make the data useful to the user, could really of improved a couple of my dashboards .

For example my Framers’ Market dashboard would have been great if I’d expanded the zip code search to allow you to see not only the markets that were in that specific postcode but those in other zip codes that might be considered the ‘nearest’ market.    This is something I know you can do in Alteryx using the spatial data tools.  Dan even did something similar for his dashboard design.

After talking things through with a few people I realised avoiding Alteryx really wasn’t going to work for me.  I need Alteryx to avoid painful repetitive processes in Excel. It made my life easier, when I had a little bit help and direction to get me started.  And I’m not going to learn anything new without at least giving it a go.

I love hate like Alteryx

I am going to working on trying to bridge the gap between myself and Alteryx  by going back over some of the data from dashboard week and work my way through the process of building a workflow. And remembering to ask for help when I need it.  I just joined the forums, so I will be picking up some tips from there.

I’ll be blogging about how all this goes, so stay tuned! Hopefully I can find a way to put the love back our relationship.

© 2022 The Information Lab Ltd. All rights reserved.