Unilever shave a tenth off data analysis cost with blending and cleaning tool

Unilever will use Alteryx to blend and clean data for their business partners to make customer-focused decisions at a fraction of the cost, a data lead announced last week.

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Unilever will use Alteryx to blend and clean data for its business partners to make customer-focused decisions at a fraction of the cost, the company’s data lead has revealed.

The Anglo-Dutch consumer goods company will be upgrading to the 9.0 version of the tool launched this month to reduce costs and “free up” its data analysts’ time.

Unilever sells products to 190 different countries across the food, homecare and personal care markets. It had a turnover of €51 billion at the end of 2012.

Market research data gathered from Unilever’s brands, such as Dove, Lynx, Knorr, Magnum and Surf, hugely influence their partner’s business strategies, said Lazlo Zsom, global CMI market information assistant manager of global analytics at Unilever. However, the company has found it harder to draw value out from this information following exponential growth in data.

Zsom said: “Unilever spends more on data than any other company.

"I have to look at raw data from 42 different product format descriptions – in different languages, some with the same names across different databases appearing in different forms."

But Zsom told guests at the analytic tool's UK launch that deploying Alteryx on one major data analysis project last year resulted in a 10 percent reduction in expected project lengths, with 20 percent fewer data scientists needed. Overall, this contributed to a 10 percent cut in project cost.

Zsom's team "launder" their data monthly using Alteryx but plan to use the upgrade to share tailored information to each of its partners with the visualisation aspect of the package, provided by Tableau, online.

Unilever's data analysis team is now looking to deploy the tool on other projects.

Rick Schultz, marketing vice president at Alteryx told ComputerworldUK that the tool can offer enterprises “tremendous value from insights in hours, not weeks”.

Experian 'transforms' business with Alteryx

Experian, which provides credit information to businesses, also told guests at the launch that Alteryx had “genuinely changed our business” after migrating from SAS four years ago. The tool has become “fundamental” to adding value to Experian’s customers, who use their data pool to make decisions on credit risk and fraud prevention, as well as commercial strategies.

Andrew Saville, Experian’s consumer insight and targeting retail lead said that the 25-strong analytic team in the UK spent 65 percent of their time using Alteryx for over 500 projects per-year.

Experian builds apps on desktops and in the cloud for their customers, including Virgin insight and the Co-Operative, and use Alteryx for data enriching, or blending, to improve customer insight.