“My greatest success is building a ‘monster truck’ company; the antithesis of today’s sought-after ‘unicorn’ status…”
Every Monday morning we fire five questions at a C-suite tech industry interviewee. Today we’re pleased to be joined by Alteryx co-founder and CEO Dean Stoecker.
Dean, What’s the Biggest Challenge for your Clients?
The biggest challenge facing any company today is surviving the “half-life”. In the case of our customers, this means driving successful business transformation and recognising data as the lifeblood. The main challenge many senior leaders from organisations across the world are trying to tackle is bringing the data assets they have to life in order to gain critical business insights and make better data-driven decisions.
The digital revolution has led to an explosion of data that businesses are now trying to leverage in order to boost productivity, efficiency, and stay ahead of the competition.
Although many are investing heavily in data technologies to transform their organisations, most companies are still struggling with how to build a culture of data science and analytics to drive value out of their data.
This situation is frustrating for many leaders, but it doesn’t come as a surprise if we look at IDC’s recent Alteryx-commissioned study, which reveals that a typical data process involves an average of six disparate data sources, 40 million rows of data, and seven different outputs!
Despite increases in innovation, data and analytics processes have become more complex, not less. More than 30 percent of data workers say they spend too much time in data preparation, a task that can often be automated. Furthermore, 88 percent of data workers, approximately 47 million people worldwide, use spreadsheets in their data activities.
The ultimate value in data is when it becomes ubiquitous, yet many organisations are still struggling to put data in the hands of the business people who must make use of the insights. And that’s why we created Alteryx – a code-free, data agnostic analytics platform that makes data more accessible and useful and can support companies in their analytic journeys by allowing all data workers, regardless of technical acumen, to bring meaningful results utilising advanced analytics – without the need to write or understand code. The aim: automating routine processes with a drag and drop, click and run, code-free and code-friendly environment.
Technology that Excites you Most?
Over the entire span of my 40-year career, this is the most exciting time to be in the technology sector, as advances in UI/UX design, improvements in data automation, acceleration of AI and machine learning capabilities accelerate time-to-insight and break barriers of what is possible. [But] there is a market imperative to provide the necessary tools, training and support to develop the next generation of data workers and in doing this, we need to prioritise developing human talent in tandem with advanced technology systems. Industry and academia have a joint responsibility to prepare the future workforce to scale with the ever-expanding data challenges that arise with the advancement of technologies.
I’m passionate about a “technology for good” approach and strongly believe that building a successful business also means to give something back to the community and our society in general. Buckminster Fuller once said, ‘We’re building all the right technologies for all the wrong reasons. We’re never going to be able to take care of Spaceship Earth very well for much longer if we don’t see it as a common cause. It has to be all of us or none of us.’ This inspired us to create the Alteryx for Good programme that enables employees to give their time to causes they believe in.
The smart use of data science and analytics has the potential to completely change the trajectory of worldwide issues. We’re using data to combat the opioid crisis that is plaguing our society and donating software and services to PATH, a global non-profit focused on health equity, with the aim of eliminating malaria for 60 million people in Africa.
My greatest success is building a “monster truck” company; a term which we’ve coined as the antithesis of today’s sought-after “unicorn” status to define a company focused on building a scalable business and driving long-term growth.
Two key pillars of the “monster truck” approach, are a relentless focus on customer success and the only thing that can stand in our way—company culture and employee retention. As such, we set out to build a sustainable, profitable company that embraces diversity, gives back to the community and fights to change the world for the better through data science and analytics.
Company culture needs to be a CEO-level priority and unwavering imperative for the entire company, which is why we created programs such as Alter.Us and Women of Analytics to amplify diversity and inclusion. Every day we are striving to build a work environment that ensures our employees are excited about coming to work each morning.
Waiting until I was forty to start a business. I have no regrets, but just wish I’d done it sooner…
In Another Life I’d Be…
An inventor, I’ve always enjoyed building things and using my hands to create things.