Putting the R in AlteRyx: A Personal Challenge

There are a lot of nuanced differences between Data Analytics and Data Science that can be difficult to pinpoint. In general, analytics tends to explore patterns in the now to find actionable insight, while science tends to explore patterns in the now to make predictions for actionable insight. I’ve loved analytics, but I’ve been curious to see how machine learning and predictive analytics can enhance my data explorations. To that end, I recently completed Springboard’s Data Science curriculum that provides an introduction to data science, mostly using the R programming language.

My first introduction to data analytics tools was Alteryx, and in my experience, it can be challenging to switch to a programming language like R to conduct analysis. Alteryx is intuitive, there is no programming involved, and a lot of the most common manipulations like transposing, selecting fields, and joining data can be done with just a couple of clicks. However, the benefit of using R is that there are several packages pre-built that allow you to do some pretty advanced predictive analytics. Oh if only there was a way to combine the two!

Enter Alteryx and R integration, circa 2013.

Since version 8.5, Alteryx has provided several tools that are based on the R data exploration language. This allows users to explore data with the advanced predictive analytics packages in R, while still incorporating the intuitive and visual workflows that make analytics easier and more efficient in Alteryx.

So I have decided to take on a personal challenge. I’ve decided to replicate different R predictive exercises in Alteryx, not only to gain a stronger understanding of the logic behind these analyses, but also to demonstrate how they can be performed much more efficiently in Alteryx. I’ve spent a lot of time using Alteryx for data preparation and clean up, but I feel it’s strength lies in its forward-facing capacities. Over the next few weeks, I will showcase a workflow that was originally created using R coding and demonstrate how I managed to translate this with the tools provided by Alteryx. So stay tuned and watch this space!

Challenge 1: CART Models and Predicting Supreme Court Decisions

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