A Unified Analytics Platform to Empower Mission Outcomes for the IC

From IC Insider Alteryx

By Andrew MacIsaac, Director, Solutions Marketing, Public Sector, Alteryx, Inc.

This is the seventh “IC Insiders” article provided by Alteryx. As I look back on some of the topics covered here on the pages of Intelligence Community News, I thought it would be a good time to review the topics covered in 2020 so that readers can get a taste of the rich capabilities that a unified analytics platform such as Alteryx can provide.

Natural Language Processing to Improve Transparency

Back in July, we talked about how a federal revenue agency uses some of the Natural Language Processing (NLP) capabilities within the Alteryx Analytic Process Automation (APA) Platform™ to streamline and optimize their procurement process. In this use case, the agency was identifying unclear and incomplete award description information, using NLP to automatically identify procurement awards that needed to be routed back to the originator to fix errors. This automation is working to save the agency countless hours spent identifying issues, reducing the time to process procurement requests, and improving transparency into how resources within the agency are being spent.

 Enabling the Federal Data Strategy by Upskilling People

Next, we discussed how Analytic Process Automation from Alteryx enables the Federal Data Strategy  by allowing federal agencies to democratize data, automate processes around accessing, prepping, and getting data ready and upskilling existing resources. At Alteryx, we have taken a leading role in developing a category called Analytic Process Automation (APA), which is changing organizational culture by empowering more people and organizations with actionable insights. More importantly, by focusing on enabling every level of data worker and not just highly trained data scientists, organizations can build and enhance self-service analytic capabilities with the resources they have on hand. The expansion of self-service insights and the ability for people to learn analytics skills at their own pace are having a profound impact on organizational cultures and workforce skillsets.

Identifying Human Resource and Security Vulnerabilities

In September, we explored how in the IC, it is critical for organizations to be able to identify human resource and security vulnerabilities. In this article we discussed that those who manage the human resources and internal security functions, such as human resource officers (HROs) and facility security leaders (FSOs) at organizations that employ individuals with security clearances, have dual concerns about the personal welfare of their employees, and they need to be diligent in finding vulnerabilities or possible threats that could potentially pierce the veil of required secrecy. To evaluate possible vulnerabilities impacting employees of organizations involved in national security issues, HR and security leaders of these organizations need to access and analyze a lot of information to put together a complete a picture of behaviors that can indicate stress or other significant factors that cause stress. In this article, we reviewed a potential use case which illustrated how these teams can use Alteryx Analytic Process Automation to streamline their analytic processes to find potential threats, protect their employees, and if necessary, determine interventions that will help their employees and protect their organizations.

Creating a Strong Foundation for Responsible AI

In 2020, there was a lot of discussion within Federal circles about the responsible use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML). In October, we explored how the Alteryx APA Platform enables agencies to create a strong foundation for responsible AI. One key principle in the responsible AI framework is the concept of keeping humans in the loop, incorporating human judgment and accountability, and informing decisions appropriately. Since the deployment of AI, there has been a significant delineation between “black-box” and “clear-box” AI. While AI and ML can be trained to perform many tasks without humans in the loop, these systems can often operate in a black-box fashion, leaving it unclear as to how these machine-based decisions are made. The converse of this black-box approach is a “clear-box” approach that enables insight into how machine learning makes predictions. The Alteryx APA Platform is built specifically with the concept of being human-centered, augmenting human capability regardless of one’s technical acumen. In other words, with Alteryx, everyone can participate and benefit from a collaborative advanced analytics environment.

Automating Geospatial and Predictive Analytics

In one of my favorite articles, we reviewed how Alteryx, in collaboration with some of our partners, are enabling agencies to automate geospatial and predictive analytics to accelerate the creation of actionable insights. The proof of this comes from some robust geospatial-related real-world uses cases developed by an Alteryx partner, Atkins, a contractor to the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). When dual hurricanes hit Puerto Rico in 2017, Atkins used the geospatial and predictive analytics capabilities found in the Alteryx APA Platform to perform automated substantial damage estimates for close to 150,000 structures, identifying and prioritizing those structures most in need of a physical evaluation.

Text Mining to Improve Investigations

And we closed out the year with an article on how Alteryx can be used to improve investigation analysis with predictive, geospatial, and text mining analytics. The primary message here is that all these analytic capabilities and many more are available in a unified platform. The value of this unified approach is that it reduces the time and complexity that often delay law enforcement and intelligence related investigations. By reducing the time required by investigators and analysts to compile data, prep and blend it, more time can be spent on analysis and identifying valuable connections. As a result, investigations can be made efficient, and more importantly, investigative resolutions can be made to help ensure higher levels of public safety and national security.

A Unified Analytics Platform to Meet the Needs of the IC

In reflecting on these articles, a major theme that emerges is the robust analytics capabilities Alteryx provides in one unified platform. Analytics within the Intelligence Community have been around for a long time, and with the push to leverage data as a strategic resource and the quickly evolving landscape around AI and Machine Learning, it’s vital that agencies within the IC  have access to a platform with robust analytics capacity that can democratize data, automate manual processes, upskill existing resources, and provide an integrated ability to get data ready for the responsible use of AI and ML capabilities.

Most importantly, with Alteryx, these agencies can leverage a platform that accelerates the speed to insight and enables the quick delivery of insight to the tactical edge. With the Alteryx APA Platform, agencies within the IC can realize significant analytics capabilities that will further advance their mission outcomes.

For more information on what Alteryx can do for you and your agency try Alteryx for yourself by downloading a trial.  Also stay tuned for our Alteryx Virtual Government Summit which will be held in February. If you want to be notified when details become available contact Andy MacIsaac at amacisaac@alteryx.com or through Twitter at @mac690 or LinkedIn. In the meantime, let us put 2020 behind us and look forward to much brighter 2021.

About Alteryx, Inc.

Revolutionizing business through data science and analytics, Alteryx offers an end-to-end analytics platform that empowers data analysts and scientists alike to break data barriers, deliver insights, and experience the thrill of getting to the answer faster. Organizations all over the world rely on Alteryx daily to deliver actionable insights. For more information, visit www.alteryx.com.

Alteryx is a registered trademark of Alteryx, Inc.

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