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Alteryx 9.0 Release: Features and Analysis

With the release of Alteryx 9.0 come a whole new batch of tools and functionality, let’s dive into some of those features and see what it means for existing (and potential) Alteryx users.

Scale Predictive Analytics with Revolution R

As announced last year Alteryx and Revolution Analytics have partnered to bring scalable analytics to the existing R tools packaged within Alteryx. No additional tools are required to take advantage if Revolution R is installed alongside Alteryx, Alteryx will simply harness Revolution R when the user uses an xdf output alongside the existing predictive tools. This means that users who have been using the predictive tools can remain agnostic about what is powering the analysis under the covers and instead focus on their analysis. For users happy to use Open Source R now but worried about converting from SAS because of future scalability concerns then this addition is an important feature, and one that, in our opinion, will only drive more Analysts to consider using Alteryx as a quicker, more user friendly alternative to SAS or SPSS. Our own Chris Love analysed what this partnership with Revolution Analytics meant for him in his personal blog some time ago.

As an added benefit of this new partnership one copy of Revolution R Enterprise Workstation entry edition is available to Alteryx customers who have a licensed Alteryx Analytics 9.0 Designer.

SPSS and SAS Input and Output

Companies often want to use existing data assets when migrating over to new toolsets and with 9.0 having the ability to read and write .sav files and .sas7bdat files then users will be able to do so, as well as being able to export back to those applications to run legacy models. If running legacy code then, by taking advantage of the long time TIL favourite “Run Command” Tool, users never even have to leave Alteryx.

More connectivity to more data

Alteryx 9.0 provides a new database connectors to Amazon Redshift, HP Vertica and Pivotal Greenplum and provides a new SQL Server bulk loader (on top of the existing Oracle Bulk Loader).

As well, much to the excitement of all at The Information Lab, there’s also enhanced API connectivity and JSON parsing via a much improved JSON parser. This is something we have already used a lot internally through testing early versions of Alteryx 9.0 and we’re very excited by what we’ve produced, our analysts have connected to the Moves, Runkeeper and Freeagent API’s to name a few and we look forward to sharing the results in the coming weeks.

What’s more a lot of the new tools introduced in this version are also macros themselves so if you need inspiration you can open the Twitter tool say, and see how the Alteryx experts built it. We love that!

An Improved User Experience

Using Alteryx to share your analytics modules has always been one of its greatest features and Alteryx have put a lot of effort into making this as easy as possible in their latest release. Macro and App interface design are now completely reworked and has moved from a separate part of the application to becoming part of the toolset itself. So if you want to prompt a user for a Text input, just drag on the Text Box interface tool and connect it to the existing workflow! It really is simple and the learning curve for producing apps and macros is now very shallow. Coupled with the fantastic new interface for the Server (which mirrors the look and feel of gallery.alteryx.com) then sharing your analysis over your internal network with colleagues (who don’t have Alteryx) was never easier.

Additional UX features like the wireless connectors and new customisable macro locations have come straight from the community and shows Alteryx is listening to their users and continuing to build out their product for the benefit of their most important asset – their user base – and with over a 95% renewal rate from their customers then it’s clear they are succeeding.

Social Tools

New tools for DataSift, Foursquare, Gnip, Google Analytics, Marketo and Twitter make incorporating social analysis into your data straightforward. Obviously you’ll need existing accounts for some of these but Twitter, Foursquare and Twitter all have free signup.

New Trial Install

Finally it’s also worth pointing to the new 14 day trial install, as a fully featured install (including unlimited outputs), provides users with the chance to do an install of the software without requiring admin rights. So there really is no excuse for not trying out the latest version of the software. Download it here.



Chris Love

Nottingham, UK

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