My Journey to ACE-hood

Alteryx ACE - SamanthaJayne

Best day ever, I am an Alteryx ACE!

Words cannot express how excited I am to be part of the group which leads the way with Alteryx, I have looked up to users such as Chris Love, Marquee Crew, Joe Lipski and James Dunkerley for so many years and this year that is me!

So let me take you on my journey on how I got here…

I have been a subject matter expert (SME) on Alteryx within Sainsbury’s for the last 5 years at least, I have been a point of contact and enabled many projects to go ahead smoothly thanks to the use of the analytical power of Alteryx and Alteryx Server (both gallery and scheduler).

In 2016, Alteryx approached me and asked me to share my journey of Alteryx on the stage at INSPIRE. This was my first time public speaking so this was absolutely terrifying but the people at Alteryx have been the best coaches in this and supported me every step of the way. (Thank you)

What I shared was how we used Alteryx to remove the dependency of SAS within our Property teams. This enabled us to have a more consistent, reliable infrastructure in place which we could trust and support to provide our weekly sales information. I remember my first interaction in person with Marquee Crew when I answered that “…the community was the best place to go for all questions on Alteryx” during my talk and he loved that. We then became acquainted in the solution centre, where he showed me Alteryx has Easter Eggs, my day was made! This was epic information. I believe this conference was the first time I met Alteryx Ned too. Honestly, I am such a geek, I still have the slapband he gave me.

So back to Sainsbury’s, we didn’t stop at just decommissioning SAS within our department, our next challenge was to be able to replace MapInfo (a Geographical Information System) with ESRI’s ArcGIS Pro. Upon approach this wasn’t an easy task, we had a number of bespoke tools developed for MapInfo that we depend on all tied into the product. So over the time we re-developed our tools into Alteryx or Alteryx applications on the gallery to enable us to decouple them from MapInfo. Upon reflection, we actually accomplished this rather quickly, it was more about the discovery and ensuring we were delivering the tool to the needs of the user that took up the time. Alteryx made it easy and enabled us to have a middle ground in which we could develop tools to move in a new direction.

In 2017, I attended INSPIRE again in London to take part of the Women in Analytics Panel Luncheon. This was a fantastic opportunity where I met some amazing people. Working closely with Libby really showed me how passionate she is about her users and the community. Sean Adams, this was when we first came to know one another and we had some cracking laughs as well as Amy Holland (who always has excellent swag at the conference to share, mainly slap bands, you know they rock! ;))

During July of 2017, I started the user group at Northampton / Coventry to give space and share with others how important it is to help one another and develop our skills in Alteryx.

The start of 2018, I decided to go for my certification, this was spurred on Joe Serpis with getting his first. It awoke a little competitive side of me, so we all vowed in our team to get the CORE and ADVANCED certification. This set the bar for all future members of the team. Catherine can vouch for this she instantly wanted to join our amazing level and blew me away when she passed CORE within 20 days and ADVANCED within 2 months. I will never forget her dedication and passion to do this.

Later in 2017 I wrote a 4 module course for Alteryx Designer and started teaching the existing Alteryx users within Sainsbury’s so that they could be confident to take their CORE exam as part of their development. The modules are called;

1. In & Out, Shake it all about
2. Join in and Transform
3. Spatial
4. Download and Conquer

Once they completed the Alteryx course they became Alteryx Angels within the business. It’s important to help users understand their journey of their development and give them key aspirations to work towards. I found this really helpful when up-skilling the team.

INSPIRE for 2018, I teamed up with my colleagues Tim Rains and Joe Serpis to deliver an amazing talk all about spatial and how we “Alter everything with Alteryx”. It was very well received and the feedback was amazing. Standing and sharing with the Alteryx community is now something that I enjoy doing, because let’s face it, we rock and have the best times.

Within Strategy and Planning at Sainsbury’s we have a mix of people and skills when it comes to understanding data. Without understanding data and the fundamentals of it, it’s not really possible to teach Alteryx without stopping to explain another concept. So over the Christmas of 2018 I wrote a new course called Data Principles. This enabled me to teach a foundation of concepts and knowledge of data, its type, and structure and how important quality and ethics are before users progressed to Alteryx course. Within Data Principles, I also introduced geospatial concepts as well as webscraping concepts so all the users have a better grounding for what was to come.

Now in 2019 we have 83% of people in Strategy and Planning using Alteryx every day and we started off with 11%, an achievement I am exceptionally proud of. Especially when a colleague of mine John Smart tells me that he completed something in 15 mins in Alteryx when previously it used to take hours in Excel. (#lifegoals)

Leading to today 13th June 2019, I am announced by Libby as an Alteryx ACE in Nashville Tennessee, I am only gutted I cannot be there to be part of the amazing atmosphere that I know is happening right now. Thankfully I watched it live on Twitter.

Have a blast team, thank you for this amazing opportunity and I can’t wait to get involved even more. More so I cannot wait to meet my cohort in person, Kenda, Nick, Fiona, Yug and Thales – we are going to ROCK.

So of course, I had to celebrate with CAKE, as you do.

Ace
ACE Cakes to Celebrate

THANK YOU!

I would like to thank so many people for their support in getting me here. Tuvy, Lauren, and everyone who supported within Alteryx. Tim Rains, Catherine Duffy, Iain Sterland and everyone at Sainsbury’s who supported and nominate me. Thank you all this is amazing.

I look forward to sharing more Alteryx goodness here on. You can also find me on the Alteryx Community, Twitter and Linkedin.

One thought on “My Journey to ACE-hood

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