Women of Analytics is an initiative that began in March 2016 as part of the celebrations for International Women’s Month. What started as a series of events turned into a group, platform and forum in which women who work in analytics can connect and share their experiences.
Alteryx chief customer officer Olivia Duane Adams said back in 2016 she realised there were so many amazing women across the global analytics community and something had to be done to highlight their amazing work. In her words, Women of Analytics is a platform for women to talk about and share more about themselves, their careers, their journey within the analytics environment.
As a result of this initiative, Duane Adams has seen partner companies of Alteryx include the voices of women when they are creating the agendas for their internal conferences. “We are seeing companies build that diversity culture within their organisations which is very rewarding to see,” she said.
Duane Adams is keen to stress the inclusion of male allies in the Women of Analytics initiative. She said: “It’s become more of a "we" culture because it is not just women talking about what they’re doing in the workplace. It’s about men and women coming together to talk about the importance of diversity and the contribution that everyone is making to help elevate that voice of women leading analytics initiatives within a company.”
As a co-founder of Alteryx, Duane Adams has a long-term perspective and has seen trends in the way that analytics is used in enterprises. One thing that she has noticed in the last decade years is the increasing reliance on analytics. She said: “What we’ve started to see in the last 10 years is those analytics are truly driving decisions across every department in a company. Those companies are progressive in their thinking and are bringing those analytics into every conversation.”
In that same time period, she has also perceived that decision makers and business leaders within those organisations are interrogating the data more and more and trying to understand what it is telling them. “As the data continues to grow, the questions are getting more frequent. Once they see the data, it prompts them to ask more questions and we see that as a good thing,” she said.
Duane Adams said that when she co-founded Alteryx 22 years ago with Dean Stoecker and Ned Harding, she did so on the basis that data is so valuable, that it needs to be accessible to everyone in the business, not just those who are able to code.
She said: “When we founded Alteryx, it was this whole idea of data and technology coming together to be able to solve questions for business users. Our technology has not required that you be a coder to use it. We have always focused on serving the line of business.” She did point out however that Alteryx is code-friendly and coders who use SQL, Python and R are able to utilise it with ease.
In the future, there are two concepts that Duane Adams thinks will be big in analytics. The first is the increasing use of multiple datasets from various sources to solve analytical questions. The second thing that she thinks will be “huge” over the next five or 10 years is the continued growth of predictive analytics and the ability to use data to forecast and predict future performance.
She said: “Being able to predict things like future customer acquisition or future supply of raw materials is only going to continue to grow. We’ve already begun to see an uptick in that demand for predictive modelling and forecasting. We can see that continuing to grow for sure.”