CIO Exchange Podcast

Data Democratization and the “Intelligence Era” with Trevor Schulze, CIO of Alteryx

Episode Summary

Striking the balance between data access and security has always been a nuanced challenge for tech leaders, long before the rise of generative AI. But now, how does AI play into the need for data literacy and data democratization? In this episode, Yadin sits down with Trevor Schulze, the CIO of Alteryx, to discuss the importance of data democratization amidst the “intelligence era”.

Episode Notes

Striking the balance between data access and security has always been a nuanced challenge for tech leaders, long before the rise of generative AI. But now, how does AI play into the need for data literacy and data democratization? In this episode, Yadin sits down with  Trevor Schulze, the CIO of Alteryx, to discuss the importance of data democratization amidst the “intelligence era”. They discuss creating data-literate teams, empowering your employees with data and the value of speed to insight.


Key Quotes:

“People talk about a data-driven culture and what does that mean? It means that you need to encourage and reward people to ask and seek questions through data.”

“We always paid attention to data, right? That's our job. But really we have to refresh and rethink and reimagine what we have to do in order to enable these intelligence systems to really take advantage of advanced capabilities.”

“You need a literate group of people in your company who are going to have the ability to take advantage of these new AI enabled systems in this era of intelligence.”

Time stamps:

(00:00) Upskilling IT teams with data literacy 

(01:50) How Trevor is enabling teams amidst AI

(03:56) What really is data literacy? 

(05:04) The importance of data-driven conversations 

(8:44) Governance, regulation, compliance, and managing risk 

(11:00) The benefits of increased data access

(13:11) Tackling the mismatch between data supply and demand

(17:53) Balancing data access and cybersecurity / Fintech 

(24:22) Speed to insight and how it can help you in economically challenging times



Trevor Schulze on LinkedIn

CIO Exchange on Twitter
Yadin Porter de León on Twitter

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Episode Transcription


0:00:00.0 Trevor Schulze: If you have the ability to unlock and unleash data to a larger group of people who are not specialized, skilled people, you will see decisions get better in your company, you will see the quality of your people improve, you will see innovative ideas come out of nowhere, and that's the power here.

0:00:24.0 Yadin Porter De León: Welcome to the CIO Exchange Podcast, where we talk about what's working, what's not, and what's next. I'm Yadin Porter de León. What role does data literacy and data democratization play in your overall strategy? And how has that been changed by the increased focus on AI use cases for the business? Striking the balance between data access and security has always been a nuanced challenge for tech leaders, long before the rise of generative AI. But how can CIOs democratize their data, increase data access, and improve speed to insights, all while navigating governance, regulatory, and security concerns in a new environment where there is an even greater demand for that data? 

0:01:03.9 Yadin Porter De León: Today's guest, Trevor Schulze, CIO of Alteryx, points out we're in the intelligence era, and it's all about the data. In this conversation, we discuss tackling the mismatch between data supply and demand, and how progressive companies, particularly in FinTech, focus on security while democratizing their data in order to achieve faster time to insights and accelerating the growth of their business.


0:01:31.8 Yadin Porter De León: So we've talked on this podcast about upskilling data literacy and competition for talent in tech. You recently wrote in an article about ways to upskill your IT teams with data literacy in the era of intelligence and AI. What's the most essential thing for CIOs to be thinking about, and also, what do you mean when you say intelligence? 

0:01:50.9 Trevor Schulze: Yeah, I get that question a lot, but I've been coining that. It's an amazing and crazy time to be a CIO. We're really witnessing a once-in-a-generation inflection point, which I've been using the term, "era of intelligence." There's no formal definition on that. And really what it means is AI-driven technologies are now becoming commercial. They've been around for a while, a number of decades. They're really becoming commercial-oriented solutions to business problems. And I think we've spent probably 10 years talking about machine learning, deep learning, this other branch that's really expanded, neural networks, advanced data analytics, robotics, et cetera. But the most recent darling that everyone wants to talk about is generative AI.

0:02:35.7 Yadin Porter De León: Yeah. It's kind of a hot topic right now. A few people are talking about it, aren't they, Trevor? I know one or two, I might see...

0:02:42.7 Trevor Schulze: You can't tell them really... Or talk about it. And generative AI, really, it's a whole different set of things, but really it's the emergence of natural language processing and visual compute.

0:02:51.0 Yadin Porter De León: Yeah. And just to take a pause there, too, 'cause I don't... I know we're talking about literacy and AI piece and we are in a really unique place. We're not gonna go, I think, down the hype conversation. And so I think, Trevor, you and I, what we're gonna be tackling, I think is really sort of enabling teams rather than talking about sort of the potential of AI. And I think if those listeners, too, wanna listen to that sort of a one-on-one about sort of what CIOs should know about AI, there's another episode called Generative AI: What CIOs Need to Know, please go listen to that episode. I think Trevor and I, you and I are gonna gonna move that conversation forward, so I'd love to sort of hear your thoughts about how you're enabling teams, how you're addressing what's going on there.

0:03:24.8 Trevor Schulze: Yeah. And I think for CIOs to think about is really what can they do to take advantage of those capabilities? And if you just sort of pull back all the hype, data really is the lifeblood of these intelligent systems. So, IT leaders really are paying more attention today. We've always paid attention to data, right? That's our job. But really, we have to refresh and rethink and reimagine what we have to do in order to enable these intelligence systems to really take advantage of advanced capabilities. So, data literacy should be top of mind. As professionals in this area, we have a tendency to think that everyone understands what data is and how it's formed and how it's moved around companies or organizations. And we have more and more people participating now, where their jobs are digital. And we've talked about digital transformation and that's been beaten to the ground. But it really is now, more than ever, this is top of mind. How do you understand and deploy a modern data stack so that you can take advantage of these broader outcomes of these intelligent systems? 

0:04:32.5 Trevor Schulze: And then the second thing that I think people really are needing to kinda wrap their arms around is the democratization of data and analytics. Most companies have thousands of systems that are spewing out data, and everyone wants to get their hands on it because that's how they can show a competitive advantage. We at Alteryx really believe that, not just for our product, but for the whole industry, that democratization of data and analytics and getting it into the hands of everyone in the company and them being literate enough to be able to take advantage of it, and also understand the challenges of that, and we could probably talk about the ethical considerations, privacy, bias.

0:05:17.1 Yadin Porter De León: There's a whole bunch of big things to dig in. There's a couple really big ideas, though, that I really want to take a closer look at. One is data literacy, 'cause you said everyone feels like they understand data, they know data. But what really is data literacy? When you really expect someone on your team, for example, to be data-literate, what does that mean? What do they need to achieve to do that? 

0:05:35.6 Trevor Schulze: Well, there's kinda like a punch list of things. So I can talk about my team in IT or I can say in a general organization, but you really have to start with the people aspects, right? Data literacy people have a tendency to fall into technologies really quickly, but I think the most important topic around data literacy is for the people itself. People talk about how do we get capabilities to them and the right data quality, but really, I think most CIOs and most companies need to really define this importance of data literacy. It's crucial [0:06:08.6] ____ to an organization. People talk about a data-driven culture. What does that mean? It means that you need to encourage and reward people to ask and seek questions through data.

0:06:20.3 Yadin Porter De León: I like that. To ask and seek questions through data, 'cause I think that's a very important lens to look through. So you're looking through that lens, people are gonna behave differently, people are gonna operate differently, use tools differently. So, I'd love to hear some stories about how your team's looking through sort of that lens.

0:06:35.4 Trevor Schulze: Yeah. People come to me and they're like, "Hey, we wanna build something new," or "We believe we have a capability that the business is asking for," and I always tell my team... I, personally, me, I have data-driven conversations. There's always wisdom and intelligence that people bring to the table, which you have to absolutely embrace. But I look for underpinnings of data and how do they get that data? Where do they get the information to draw that conclusion, to be able to say, "This is the right decision to move forward"? So, I'm pushing my team to use data for every day. And in our business, at Alteryx, we have a unique advantage. We have a tool that helps people gather and synthesize and be able to wrangle that data into something that's usable.

0:07:22.9 Yadin Porter De León: I know, and that's really powerful. I mean, the fact that you have, at the company, have a lot of the resources, you have all the product team resources, you have all the technical resources to be able to leverage the tool in ways that companies, some companies can only dream of. Some are just being onboarded with your tool and just scratching the surface, and your team can get super deep, super quick.

0:07:38.6 Trevor Schulze: Yeah, absolutely. And it's a huge advantage, and I see the future, and the future is that democratization. When you have a technology like Alteryx available to you, when you're involved in the data and analytics ecosystem, like name a partner, Snowflake, Databricks, we engage... All these companies have a unique view, which I love. And what I'm seeing is, now and going forward, you can't run your business without having that deep insight and to be able to draw upon areas that you never thought were possible before. And that's the innovation I'm seeing right now, is people looking around and saying, "Hey. I used to not be able to get this piece of data," or "Now I can merge these two pieces of data." And it all seems very basic, but when you've gone through the last five years and you've seen thousands of new startups come with new capabilities and transactional workflows, there's data everywhere, more than ever before.

0:08:36.1 Yadin Porter De León: And that's a problem, too, there's data everywhere more than ever before.

0:08:39.7 Trevor Schulze: Yeah. It's everywhere. The disaggregation of data continues, multi-cloud data warehouses and thousands of SaaS applications out there, that people want to get their hands on because human beings have this beautiful insight to getting to a decision. And that discovery process of gathering data and putting it together in unique ways and coming to unique, innovative answers is the future.

0:09:06.8 Yadin Porter De León: I love that way that you say that, 'cause it is, it's that journey, that's taking data and using it to help you move forward on a specific trajectory to help you make a decision and achieve a certain business outcome. And you said something I think that was really important previously, and that's about how important the data is as a differentiator. Proprietary data, being able to leverage, let's say with an analytics tool, a large learning model, various different ways, but that data, that core dataset, is a strategic advantage, but some companies are having difficulty taking that data and doing something actionable with it. The great story, of course, is, let's say Bloomberg has amazing proprietary data, they put that in a large learning model or they run data analytics using various tools, and then they can come with just really profoundly great insights. But not every organization has the capabilities to easily do that. What are some of the challenges you're seeing some companies, some CIOs, have with being able to take that proprietary data and really get the value out of it that they want? 

0:10:06.4 Trevor Schulze: Yeah. And there's a couple different ways to look at this. When I talk to other CIOs, and I'm out there talking to our customers, one of the key items that come up is governance, top of mind. And it's a broad topic. Then usually, what people are asking about is control. And that's okay. Right? We, as IT professionals, are very used to controls and building controls and making sure that risk is mitigated. There's a propensity for us to do that and that's right.

0:10:35.0 Yadin Porter De León: Well, it's good to have that in your DNA.

0:10:36.8 Trevor Schulze: Yeah. I mean, you've got regulatory challenges, you've got compliance challenges, you have customer expectations that I handle their data. With governance, I look at it as, yes, access control is one piece of it, but you have to start thinking of your data not as one thing. It's a spectrum of information that's out there where you can have your finance or deep and secret IP that you want put a lot of control around. But there is a large amount of data in a company that doesn't need that level of deep oversight.

0:11:07.6 Trevor Schulze: And so, when you're thinking about governance, you have to start thinking about dynamic governance. And the reason why it's such an important topic is because if you can figure out that right balance of access, of oversight, of making sure that it's being run properly, or if it's available to the right people, you can dot dot dot on that topic. If you have the ability to unlock and unleash data to a larger group of people who are not specialized, skilled people, you will see decisions get better in your company, you will see the quality of your people improve, you'll see innovative ideas come out of nowhere, and that's the power here.

0:11:50.4 Yadin Porter De León: I really want to look at that or sort of zoom in on that, because that is really, really powerful. There's data access, where people are operating a certain way, people have momentum, they do things in a certain way, but if you then insert in that workflow, access to data, not just a dump of data but the right data at the right time, for the right person, then that transforms the way that they make decisions and the way that they perform the workflow. I think that's really incredible. And you talk about how you need to be able to do that with a dynamic governance process and look at data in that spectrum that you talk about. And you talk about data democratization and the importance of increasing data access within organizations, especially in the intelligence era. Where do you see as those primary benefits of increasing the data access to the right people at the right time? Most importantly, actually, how do you do that? 'Cause it's nuanced. It's very nuanced, and there's a lot... It's fraught with, like you said, regulatory concern, et cetera.

0:12:43.5 Trevor Schulze: Yeah. If you step back and think, get through the buzzword bingo, there's three major tenets of businesses that people think about. One is, how do you increase revenue or how do you increase margin? The second is customer experience, how you improve that customer journey, and the other is the employee experience, how you improve productivity. Those are the big three. If you think about the data that people have to get access to to do their jobs, it's there. And the problem is that people can't get their hands on it.

0:13:14.2 Yadin Porter De León: I think that's that frustration with most organizations. They know it's there, and finance is frustrated, marketing is frustrated, why can't we get at the right data? And sometimes they get access to it and they see it, think it's the wrong data, but they're just not looking at it right. You've had a lot of experience, I'm sure of that.

0:13:27.5 Trevor Schulze: Yeah. And now, we've hired a lot of these data scientists. We have data engineers, we have data analysts, and that's fine. This is a precious, finite group of people who can help solve some business problems. The challenge we have today is is that the demand and supply is mismatched. The demand for insight, the demand for the ability to get access to data and to be able to self-service in simple platforms, to be able to do their job better, it's a mismatch. You can't go to a centralized data science team and stand in line. You don't have time for that. So that's why this democratization and data literacy topic is so important, because you go from, how do you get the most powerful people in the company, access to the precious resources, to everyone can get access to data? And again, it's a spectrum of governance. Don't forget that. But everyone now can do their job better and they can unlock innovation. They can unlock better customer experiences. They can unlock potential revenue and innovation ideas, because they're participating in this data economy.

0:14:32.7 Yadin Porter De León: Trevor, I love that... That is brilliant the way you say that. The supply/demand mismatch of data access, because it is, that's the bridge you're trying to gap right now in democratization, is solve that supply/demand data mismatch. That's exactly what the people are struggling with. How are you tackling that mismatch? 

0:14:49.9 Trevor Schulze: I have a wonderful company I work for, Alteryx. And I'm not here to pitch that, but I do believe that you have to create a modern data stack for your company, and that modern data stack has to be simple, it has to be understandable, and it has to be low-code, no-code. You don't want a bunch of engineers saying, "I'm gonna help you get access to your data." You want to have this democratized governance model, data-literate people, who have access to tools to allow them to self-discover what's out there in a safe way, today. That's the future.

0:15:25.5 Trevor Schulze: So at Alteryx, I have this ability because I run Alteryx, and that is allowing people to grab information on a multi-cloud environment, that I don't care which hyperscaler this data's in, we touch all their partners of ours. I don't care which SaaS system you're in, there has to be some oversight. Like, "No, you can't go into my ERP system and look at that data. You have to get some approvals 'cause super sensitive and you may see something you shouldn't." But then there's all the long tail of stuff out there, workflow tools, productivity tools, sensing of data out in the industry. You have to have this platform and modern data stack to be able to allow people to go out and do that discovery. And that's what people are begging for today.

0:16:08.5 Yadin Porter De León: I like the fact that you pointed out that people can't stand in line. They need to get access to it right now. And getting access to it, though, it's not easy. And when you talk about creating that modern data stack, too, I know there'll be some people who will say out there, "Well, I have a modern data stack." Or "Yeah, I have a modern data stack," but modern data stack can't be simple. Modern data stacks can't be low-code, no-code. I don't see how I can bridge the gap from a modern data stack and not having an engineer or somebody like an engineer give you access to your data. What would you say in that kind of conversation? 

0:16:37.7 Trevor Schulze: I would say that I've been doing this a long time, and I could remember multiple disruptions in the industry. I remember back when mobile devices first came out and people said, "Oh my goodness, how are we gonna secure the data on these mobile devices?" "Oh my goodness, people are gonna be making decisions on apps that we don't have control over." "Oh my goodness, this is gonna change the world." And it did. And we all worked through it. Just as one example, I can go back every major inflection point, and I started this conversation where we're in a once-in-a-generational inflection point with these AI capabilities. And if you think that you're going to win as a company working in a data stack and an analytics stack that requires engineers to do the majority of the work for people to get their business answers or to do their discovery, you will fail, because you're gonna be competing against someone who's figured out how to democratize data and analytics in a company.

0:17:36.8 Trevor Schulze: And they're gonna go faster than you. They're gonna innovate faster than you. They're gonna understand customer sentiment and needs faster than you. And they're gonna make their employees more productive faster than you. And remember, time to market matters in business. And in this era of constant crisis where you're constantly, as technology leaders, trying to figure out how to get insights to what is the latest... Come on, every week, there's something that you're reacting to. If you don't have a modern data stack that has all those attributes I talked to and you aren't democratizing this capability and you are gonna continue with the old ways of thinking of supply and demand and "Hey, here's our precious few people who are gonna help you do these things," I can tell you, your competition's gonna beat you if you don't change.

0:18:25.1 Yadin Porter De León: Yeah. Yeah. And there's some perspectives that some people think that the competitions who are going to beat you and go faster, they're going to do it because they're going to do it in ways that may not be quite as secure, may not quite have the right compliance. And there are some of that, there's some bad actors out there who have pushed the boundaries a little too far and they've run afoul of things like the SEC and other governance bodies that have to do with data privacy, et cetera, GDPR. But you often talk about how CIOs usually rank what matters to the most as, let's say, cybersecurity, always on top. But now, you're starting to see people who are saying, "You know what? Data and analytics now are in that top, right next to cybersecurity." And I imagine that is, right now, a big balance. 'Cause you're talking about data governance, dynamic data governance, you're talking about moving faster than particular... Than a smaller competitor that might be more nimble.

0:19:13.2 Trevor Schulze: Yeah.

0:19:13.7 Yadin Porter De León: You're talking about providing access to data in a way that you know each person's getting the right access to the right data and not to sensitive data. How are you balancing those, as that dynamic governance and the data access, but also the security, too, while at the same time moving fast? So I'm asking you to solve all the problems out there for CIOs, Trevor.


0:19:33.6 Trevor Schulze: Yeah. Cyber always will be top of mind, 'cause I think we all have to protect our businesses. But I think right now, because people are looking around and seeing this massive disruption, they're recognizing that they have to relook at their playbooks on governance. And we talked about that earlier. You can't ignore compliance. You can't ignore regulations. And there's some pretty well-defined... Most companies have pretty well-defined which pieces of data that you have to have those levels of controls around. We touch pretty much every big bank in the world, like 75% of the banks in the United States, highly-regulated environments. And they are moving towards democratizing data, because they do see that there are certain pieces of data that have to have that on one side of the spectrum, control regulations, highly-regulated pieces, and then there's a lot that's not. And they're actually finding competitive advantage in actually getting more and more people access, and not thinking of this as a binary one or zero. I mean, there's a lot of gray here, and organizations have to spend the time talking about this. They have to have a governance committee that says, "Is this okay? Okay, cool."

0:20:45.0 Yadin Porter De León: Yeah. But you said, in a nuanced way, not in a... I liked how you put it, not in a binary way. They have to have that conversation in that nuanced way, because it's very easy for someone to get in a position where, "I got burned once. I had a data breach once. I am not letting any data out of a controlled environment ever again." And it's very easy for them to see, "You know what? I've got it all locked down. I feel comfortable. Hey, maybe the business isn't moving quite so fast, but at least I won't get dinged for that, too." So maybe give me a sense, too, especially when you're talking to banks, highly-regulated, how are they still moving fast while still making sure that they're making the right choices with customer data? 

0:21:17.4 Trevor Schulze: Yeah, it's too easy to crawl into a hole. I think everyone has been in a company or have led a company or an IT group where they've had a breach. That's just real. And it's really, really easy to pull back and be that person of no, and say, "Oh, because I am more secure and I don't want to break anything." I think modern companies today absolutely wanna make sure you don't do anything that's outside of the policies of the company. You want to protect the company, but you have to have the courage to find balance, because that balance is a level of business enablement that your company needs. And if you're the IT leader that says no, and that's your first reaction, we've all been there. It's like PTSD. You have to have the courage to come back and say, "But things change." and the business is changing rapidly right now. And I think those really forward-thinking companies, really, honestly, FinTech and financial institutions are some of the most forward-thinking IT shops in the world. They have to be.

0:22:28.7 Trevor Schulze: They make money by being the most competitive digital companies in the world. They are absolutely the beacon that we should be looking at, because they are not shying away from providing a more democratized way of accessing data. They are not shying away from that. And so, if they're not shying away from it and they're finding a way to do this dynamic governance and they're finding a way to create data literacy for up to tens of thousands of people in their company, and they're willing to create a modern data stack, why can't you? 

0:23:00.4 Yadin Porter De León: I love that. I love the way you put that, too, because that is inspiring. If you're in a highly-regulated industry, and you're willing to find the balance that you're talking about, Trevor, that should be inspiring to others to say, "Look, I am not in that highly-regulated industry. Why can't I look to some of the examples of some of the financial services organizations who are moving faster?", because there are FinTech companies that are pushing really hard to eat the lunch of larger financial services companies. And of course, all for the benefit of the consumer. But as a CIO, I imagine there are many companies that are looking at that race, that competition, and seeing a need to move faster potentially than they are.

0:23:32.7 Trevor Schulze: And this is the opportunity. This is the CIO's opportunity. You read a lot of the what's top of mind, and like you started earlier, it was cyber has been top of mind for years, right? Data and analytics is now up there. Depending on which survey you read, it's one or two, those guys are bouncing back and forth. It is your strategic imperative as a technology leader to figure this out. You need to find out how to govern your data in a way that allows that rapid innovation that comes from those insights. You have to spend time on this. You have to think through, "Should I buy an Alteryx? Which and where are my data warehouses going to be? What are the visualization tools that are going to get us the best insights that we can leverage out? What are the low-code, no-code capabilities? How do I simplify this?" That's the other thing that I hear a lot of, is people... You look at the hundreds of data analytics companies that are out there. Why are there so many companies out there? Because they see this business opportunity.

0:24:32.9 Trevor Schulze: And you have to, as an IT leader, make sure that you have a team working on this, to not go to every single VC startup, whiz-bang thing that's out there. Be pragmatic and find the simple sufficient amount of capabilities that anyone in the company can use. We've all invested in these data science platforms that are highly complicated, huge amounts of code, you got change management. That's needed, right? Those are very, very complicated engines solving complicated problems. What about the rest of the company? What about the 98% of the other people out there who need that same level of access and understand that their jobs have changed? 

0:25:14.7 Yadin Porter De León: I think that's really good perspective, and I think you've provided some good advice for those who are looking to kinda walk that path. And we have a section on this show that we call Take it to the Board. And that's sort of that board-level conversation. What's that takeaway? What are you going to walk away from and actually walk into that? Whether it's just E-staff, whether it's with the CEO, whether it's the CFO, or whether it's in front of the Board of Directors. And so, we're in economically-challenging times, as many are aware. And you recently wrote about the opportunity this creates for CIOs to drive data-based business decisions, not database, but data-based, based in data, how to ensure that the businesses gain competitive advantage, and a lot of this stuff that you've been talking about. Now, can you maybe elaborate a little bit and give some of the advice to the CIOs to ensure that their businesses will thrive in these economically-challenging times with these headwinds and then beyond these economically-challenging times? 

0:26:04.8 Trevor Schulze: Yeah. My CEO, Mark Anderson, just recently coined this so I'm going to move it forward 'cause I think it's true. We're in this age of permanent crisis.

0:26:12.8 Yadin Porter De León: Yes. [chuckle] It feels like that, doesn't it? 

0:26:17.1 Trevor Schulze: Change is happening so rapidly, it feels like a crisis. And if you just sort of step back and say, "The business environment is changing day to day," your sector technologies that you're dealing with, your vertical that you're in, is changing rapidly, you have to react quickly. The only way you're gonna react quickly is if you have analysis of what's going on. That's essential. And so, it goes back to the themes of, how do you get rapid analysis on good data that allows you to make better decisions faster? It comes back down to data literacy, more people in your company having access to the right data. 'Cause if you do, then you'll have a competitive advantage over your competition.

0:27:01.5 Trevor Schulze: I made a decision faster so I could move faster. I was able to adjust my supply chain faster than my competition so I could extract better margin. I have ability to be able to understand that the talent market has moved. So with better insights, I know where to find that... Or I know how to make a decision around why and what I'm gonna do around work from home or return to office. Every function needs an operational advantage. And so when I'm in front of the board, and we're talking about why democratization of data matters, what is this about data-based business decisions? It's speed to insight.

0:27:40.7 Yadin Porter De León: I like that. Speed to insight.

0:27:42.5 Trevor Schulze: Yeah. It's speed to insight. And your organizations that don't take this seriously and believe speed to insight's only meant for the C-Suite or only meant for the executives who have budgets that can get a data scientist to do something for them, the speed to insight is not for that precious single-digit percentage of people in the company; it should be for 100% of the people in your organization.

0:28:05.0 Yadin Porter De León: Do you think a metric would help drive that? Like a speed to insight metrics saying, "Lookit, what's the speed to insight on this particular dataset or problem?" I don't know if that's something you should measure. What do you think? 

0:28:14.7 Trevor Schulze: You see that. Certain functions actually do this, right? It could be something as simple as how fast a finance team can close their books. That's the classic one with finance, right? 

0:28:22.3 Yadin Porter De León: Yeah.

0:28:22.5 Trevor Schulze: Plight being, it's the S&OP process. How often can you run your S&OP process? Because if you can run it more, faster, and more iterations, you get better fidelity day-to-day, hour-to-hour, minute-to-minute. I could think of an example in every function, where if they're able to do real-time processing of data and to be able to get to a decision and not have to wait, they win every time. They learned to extract that insight faster than their competition.

0:28:52.9 Yadin Porter De León: Yeah. It's almost like everyone's on a game show right now, where you have to hit your buzzer faster than everybody else in order to move forward. It's kind of intense.

0:29:00.0 Trevor Schulze: I love that.

0:29:00.4 Yadin Porter De León: It's kind of intense.

0:29:00.5 Trevor Schulze: Yeah. But it's true! If you look at all the business books out there and they talk about Silicon Valley and innovation, the one measure of success that they talked about time and time again, it's time to market.

0:29:12.0 Yadin Porter De León: Yeah.

0:29:13.7 Trevor Schulze: Okay, time to market. How fast you got your product there. Usually, the first mover's advantage wins the market. Well, time to insights is the same thing. First-mover advantage. I got to an insight, and then I was able to take an action. Right? Who cares if an insight is there and you don't take action? Well, guess what? There's so much data sitting in data warehouses that people are not getting insights to, they're not able to extract that action. And it's that simple.

0:29:40.2 Yadin Porter De León: Yeah. Now, and to close this out, too, where do you see AI changing all of this and providing a new way of doing what we've been doing for years? 

0:29:48.7 Trevor Schulze: Yeah. I'd love to talk to you more about AI. I've been in the discipline for about 15 years now. I just luckily got into an industry that took AI seriously before others. The things that I learned about AI, and a lot of it was machine learning, visual compute, natural language processing, when I was in semiconductor, the things that I learned was data matters. Data quality matters, the shape of the data matters, the location of the data matters, the ability to match lineage, to be able to get access to that data matters. People are gonna have AI in their commercial systems, like every company is gonna have an AI equivalent.

0:30:24.1 Trevor Schulze: Alteryx has an AI capability we're releasing now called AiDIN. Every company out there is going to say, "We have a large language model that you could take advantage of for X, Y, Z." It's that disruptive. So, this is why data and analytics is top of mind for technology leaders, because the really savvy ones who've been doing this for decades recognize that they're gonna have to tear up their playbook and be able to rethink and reimagine what they do around data governance and data availability and data access. And this is where AI is going to matter, because you hear about, if the data isn't good or it's not trained well, you have hallucinations, it gives you bad answers.

0:31:02.5 Yadin Porter De León: Yes.

0:31:03.7 Trevor Schulze: And you can't just trust it blindly. So you have to have this literate group of people. And we go back to data literacy. You need a literate group of people in your company who are going to have the ability to take advantage of these new AI-enabled systems, in this era of intelligence.

0:31:24.1 Yadin Porter De León: No, that's well-said. 'Cause it's a game-changer. And I'm so excited to see what happens in this space. It is moving rapidly. The number of AI vendors was somewhere around like 1000, around... It's like fall of last year and it's gonna be 10,000 or 20,000 by the end of the summer. It's absolutely exploding. So, Trevor, thanks for coming on the show. Anything you'd like to bring up and you wanna let people know where they can find you online, where they can learn more about your work? 

0:31:49.3 Trevor Schulze: Yeah. Hey, if anyone wants to reach out directly, I'm very active on LinkedIn, so happy to do that. Alteryx, as a company, think of us as your arms dealer for the data and analytics space. We don't care where your data warehouses are. We don't care which ones you're using. We don't care where you are in your journey. We feel like that we're in a great place to help people. So Appreciate people looking at that.

0:32:10.5 Yadin Porter De León: Excellent. Whether it's multi-cloud, hybrid cloud, wherever your data is.

0:32:14.1 Trevor Schulze: Anywhere, anytime. I'm always excited to hear our customers talk about how much they love our product, and that's why I'm with the company. The last thing is what we hit. Technologists today really have to take seriously what's going on out there. There's a lot of buzzword around generative AI and AI blah blah blah. Think about the data. Think about the modern technology stack of data and analytics you have in your your company. Invest the time now, because it's only going to get more complicated, and you have to get ahead of the new thinking.

0:32:44.9 Yadin Porter De León: No, I think that's brilliant. Well, Trevor, thank you so much for joining the CIO Exchange Podcast.

0:32:48.4 Trevor Schulze: Yeah, man. Hey, appreciate you having me here. It's been a lot of fun.


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0:33:10.0 Trevor Schulze: AI driven commercial technologies are just exploding. Um, but they've been around for a while. I think we've, we've been talking about machine learning. We've been talking about,


0:33:19.2 Yadin Porter De León:  we, we, yeah, we'll need to pause here for a second cuz I think 

0:33:20.6 Trevor Schulze: Yeah. You know what, I just got my, my gardener just walked by. 


0:33:25.4 Yadin Porter de Leon: Oh, the gardeners. Yes, I feel your pain. The struggle is real. 

0:33:32.1 Trevor Schulze: So sorry about that. 

0:33:37.8 Yadin Porter de Leon: Yeah. Yeah. Let's just pause a little bit here. So edit point, gardener, edit point here. 


0:33:42.5 Trevor Schulze: I think he's walked away. I think we're in the clear.

0:33:56.0 Yadin Porter de Leon: Excellent. Excellent. Thank you, Trevor. This is good. Uh, see with stuff like this that helps loosen up the conversation. I like it.

You know, just keep it loose.