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The growing importance of a data-driven culture – Dean Stoecker, CEO of Alteryx chats with Dean Stoecker, CEO and co-founder of data science and analytics software company Alteryx, about why it is now more crucial than ever for companies to embrace a data-driven culture.

Dean Stoecker, CEO and co-founder of Alteryx

Why is it more important now for companies to embrace a data-driven culture?

According to a recent IDC brief we commissioned, titled The State of Data Science and Analytics, companies in the region—as well as the rest of the world—are wasting huge amounts of time and resources due to inefficient management of their data.

In Asia-Pacific alone, our report shows that the region has around 14 million data workers. These people spend approximately 80% of their working week on data-related activities. However, 45% of this time is wasted. Why? Because these data professionals are enmeshed by the sheer scale, complexity and diversity of the data belonging to their organization.

We developed an Alteryx platform to bridge the talent gap, recognizing that any data worker in an organization has the capability to complement data scientists with sophisticated analytical tasks. The platform provides both new and experienced users with the training they need to advance in data literacy by offering an expansive inventory of free interactive lessons.

Now, in the region, we’re helping clients like Commonwealth Bank, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Panasonic empower their data workers through our services—which is ultimately beneficial to their businesses and is central to their success in the digital economy.

What impact does data analytics have on businesses?

Image result for Gartner’s Enter the Age of Analytics

Credit: Gartner

Gartner’s Enter the Age of Analytics expects that by 2023, artificial intelligence (AI) and deep-learning techniques will be the most common approaches for new applications of data science. These technologies have real business-altering impact and companies around the world are beginning to put an approach to data acquisition and strategy in place, to eventually realize and harness the power of machine learning and AI. But no matter how AI and ML evolves, data will always be at the forefront and one of the most important drivers of success a smart approach to data now will guide the way for a successful AI-driven future.

Over the past 22 years, we have supported a multitude of companies in practically every industry. Beverage producers help restaurants predict how much soda they need to order, and airlines use our technology to hedge fuel prices. Perhaps my favorite story of how we’ve had an impact on a business is Home Depot. They bought our software for U.S. $4,000, on a three-year deal and deployed it to analyze the product and display mix in their stores. They told us that their Gross Margin Improvement on their initial investment is U.S. $177 million. So, you can see how important it is to put the skills to harness big data in the hands of all data workers, everywhere.

How do you encourage companies to start building up a data analytics culture?

Our focus is on driving an emotional response from our users and empowering them – whether they are a data scientist or a business user. The first step is to think about the people we are selling to, and what it is they want to get from our technology. Every organization is driven by individual men and women who have differing needs and ambitions. When we prioritize how technology makes people feel over just what it does or even how it makes a profit, we can enable these individuals to work the way they want.

What is the outlook for data analytics in business?

Credit: Community of Alteryx

For businesses everywhere, having the ability to perform more sophisticated data analysis will help organizations better adapt to machine learning and the role it will play in the future. The rise in the use of self-service data analytic tool is so pronounced that Gartner predicts that by the end of 2019, the analytics output of business users with self-service capabilities will surpass that of professional data scientists In terms of dollars, we’re looking at an addressable market worth U.S. $29 billion.

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