Two months ago, a half dozen OpenBI staff had the opportunity to escape the harsh Chicago winter for a week, one group heading to Strata in Santa Clara, the other to the Tableau Partner Conference in Las Vegas. Both teams returned excited about data science software they'd seen on their trips: for the Strata crew, it was BDAS, the Berkeley Data Analytics Stack, while for the Tableau group, it was the Alteryx, which provides “an intuitive workflow for data blending and advanced analytics.”

A few weeks later, the OpenBI team got the full-Monty Alteryx demo, adroitly orchestrated by solutions engineer Damian Austin. I was impressed with what I saw over the two hours, envisioning the data munging capabilities along with the strong Tableau and R integration of Alteryx a potential OpenBI “analytics workbench” that can handle much of the data programming, analytics and visualization tasks presented by our customers. So I set out to take Alteryx for a test ride to determine what it could do.

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