How an Alteryx-Tableau combination made analyzing a massive database efficient and intuitive

Situation

A major motorcycle manufacturer’s product development team had access to a massive database which included information about motorcycles purchased from every major brand. The 30+ person team relied on a single analyst to blend and extract data from this database and combine it with information from other sources to answer questions and guide development recommendations. Each question would lead to additional questions, which had to be individually queried. The approach was time-consuming and overwhelming for the analyst, who was using excel to manage and visualize the data. Plus, the team worried that the specific nature of their requests was stifling exploration of other possible outcomes.

The Continuus Approach

Because the analyst repeatedly found herself answering similar questions, we began to build upon a product backlog to guide the development of our dashboards. Using Alteryx, we also cleaned up the databases, added new fields, and flagged items to make visualizations, edits, and future updates easier. Then we developed Alteryx workflows to extract and blend the data for Tableau visualizations.

Although we often create Alteryx workflows that automatically refresh data for Tableau dashboards, in this situation an auto-refresh did not make sense because the data did not update on a regular schedule. To help increase the efficiency of updates, we combined several CReW macros to create a new workflow that runs and updates the other workflows.

Finally, we developed a Tableau visualization dashboard that helps encourage data exploration beyond the initial view. The dashboard controls the order of information selection and queries to ensure consistency in selections and data results.

Results

The planning and product development team now has a set of Tableau dashboards that walks them through the process of diving into motorcycle ownership and sales data in a way that allows for the exploration of data, rather than the self-validation of opinions. The team is confident that the data is accurate. The data analyst is no longer overwhelmed by similar one-off data requests. And when the analyst receives notification that a data source is updated, she can easily update the workflows with a single click. The Alteryx-Tableau combination encourages thought and exploration while creating efficiencies for the entire team.