This is going to be a long post where I assemble my first experience with Alteryx. My intent is to document all the resources (videos, articles, etc.) I went through with the following: key take aways, what I liked, what could be improved & my impression of Alteryx various features/usability. When I say ‘Day 1’, please do not take it literally – I am just documenting the first few hours I have spent with Alteryx, spread over a period of few days.
As a first-time user, I found that there are multiple paths to get started and there is some slight differences between them. This can leave a new user confused and it could also means wasted time in going through multiple resources, not knowing the minute differences between them (as it happened to me). I hope Alteryx fixes this and provides a single way to get started. Or at least unify all the different paths and make it clear in the welcome email. I provide a detailed review of each of these paths and also provide my recommendation on the best path to take to save you the time I ended up wasting in sifting through these resources.
Here are the options for a first-time user to get started with Alteryx:
- Watch the videos that are referenced in the Alteryx Trial email. This mail gives a link to the Training site where all of the videos are mentioned. But it gives a direct YouTube link to 2 of the 5 videos that are part of Getting Started series. But you don’t get to see that there is a playlist in YouTube that has all the 5 vidoes in one place . If you are a beginner, this direct YouTube playlist is the best place to get started as there is no form to fill up. I did not understand why data blending video was recommended as the second video in the welcome email instead of ‘Preparing data’. Also, the daily demo would not be great resources for a new user as it jumps into building a prediction model which, I guess, a lot of users would not be able to relate in their first hour with Alteryx.
- Go to the Alteryx site training section. There is a section for getting started here – http://www.alteryx.com/getting-started-training. This requires registration/filling up some form to get access to the videos. This is also more comprehensive as for each steps, it also provides a link to the Manual pages – however, if you are a complete beginner, the manual would be too much of a detail. But it is good to have an idea of where to go to get comprehensive information. What I really liked here is the exercises – there are 4 exercises which have a minor variation of the task accomplished in each step, thus allowing a new user to get some extra practice. It is worth filling up the form here to get access to the exercises.
- Launch the Alteryx designer and use the Getting Started window to go through the Tutorials – this is the path I have chosen. After going through 5 or 6 tutorials, I was beginning to be confused as I was not sure the overall objective of each workflow. It would have been better for me to have gotten started with the ‘Getting Started’ videos as it explains the objective of each task better. It would have been nice if there is link here that says ‘watch the corresponding video’ to understand this tutorial better.
- Launch the Tutorials directly from Help. This was the option referenced in the videos. The nice thing here is that each tutorial is linked to the next and by just clicking the link, you would move onto the next tutorial easily. However, it would be better to read the overview in ‘Getting Started’ window or to watch the video before coming here. So, it would be nice if the resources are referenced/linked here in the tutorial.
I wrote my observations on each tutorial and the post ended up being very long. Hence, I have split them into many smaller posts and here they are…