Can Alteryx Accelerate Big Data Discoveries with Microsoft Azure?

Written By Harry Moseley, Edited By Lewis Fogden
Mon 13 March 2017, in category Big data

Alteryx, Azure


Towards the end of 2015 Microsoft announced it's partnership with Alteryx, a market leader in data blending and advanced analytics, and Microsoft's first alliance member able to deliver analytic workflows that can output directly into Power BI.

With both Microsoft and Alteryx's features and capabilities developing considerably since the 2015 partnership, this article will review Alteryx's current compatibility with Microsoft's Cortana Intelligence Suite and the analytical competency of this combined solution. This coincides with the run-up to the Alteryx Self-Service Data Analytics Roadshow on 22nd March, in which the Keyrus Analyst Toolkit will be showcased; giving analysts the chance to experience the power of Microsoft and Alteryx through a self-guided test drive.

Azure and Power BI

Today both Microsoft Azure and public cloud computing in general continue to gain significant attention as a result of the lower costs of ownership and the agility, scalability, and usability on offer. Azure and the Cortana Intelligence Suite encompass a number of key service components; from information management and big data storage to machine learning, advanced analytics, and cognitive computing. Alone, Azure is a powerful data platform that can empower users to effectively manage their data and utilize machine learning capabilities to progress on the analytical journey from diagnostic to descriptive, predictive, and prescriptive analysis.

Now harnessing the power of Azure, Power BI has come a long way since its birth - progressing from simple data visualisations to emerging as a market leader in Gartner’s Business Intelligence and Analytics Magic Quadrant 2017. With new features and capabilities constantly on the horizon, an extremely low cost, and it's agile drag and drop environment and unique natural language querying, Power BI allows true self-service and rapid data discoveries.

So Why Alteryx

Alteryx is a market leader in data blending and advanced analytics, enabling analysts to gain deep insight into their data via a simple, user-friendly interface. Their intuitive technology allows users to prepare, blend and analyse data - all within a drag and drop environment - and then publish their workflow as a automated service. The result is that business analysts can cleanse, transform, and enrich data - creating that perfect dataset - and then perform advanced analytics (predictive, statistical, and spatial) to achieve insights in a fraction of the time of custom coded solutions.

The relationship between Microsoft and Alteryx is derived from the integration between Alteryx and Microsoft’s SQL and R Servers. This gives license to analysts using Alteryx to blend data from numerous sources and take advantage of cloud-based services including Microsoft Azure and its SQL Data Warehouse, HDInsights and Machine Learning capabilities.

Key features are the agile data cleansing and preparation tools within Alteryx; simply by dragging and dropping nodes onto a canvas, data can be modeled and manipulated. This eliminates the time-consuming, more manual processes of working solely with Power BI and Azure. The new pre-packaged R macros allow analysts unaccustomed to Alteryx easily to run predictive workflows, and the spatial tools allow users to enrich their dataset with geographic details and perform geospatial analytics.

The outcome of this collaboration is that business analysts can fully utilize the features of Azure, building advanced analytical workflows without the need for complex code in a matter of hours. Once workflows are created and a perfect data-set is established, Power BI can be utilized to consume the results. Alteryx, being the first technology able to create analytic workflows that can output directly into Power BI, provides a tool that can result in rapid time to value, accelerating big data discoveries.

If this is of interest, you can experience it for yourself by registering for the Keyrus Analyst Toolkit. The Toolkit is a self-guided test drive environment, fully configured in the cloud. The Toolkit combines Microsoft Azure, Alteryx, and Power BI to build an end-to-end system architecture with advanced analytics and machine learning capabilities.