Accelerating Insights: Federal OIG Audits Speeding Forward with Analytic Automation

From IC Insider Alteryx

By Andy MacIsaac, Solutions Marketing Director, Public Sector, Alteryx

McLaren Racing and Alteryx entered into a partnership in 2021 to bring analytics automation to the forefront of the Formula One racing circuit.

According to an article in Forbes, Formula One is a super-fast paced sport and an environment where even the most minute improvement in a part or process can have a profound impact on race day.

The driver and the car itself get much of the attention from race fans, and rightly so. The merging of machine and man into a unified unit built for competition is tested every race. Going deeper into what happens on race day is only scratching the surface of what it takes to make it to the victory circle.

“Although we are a race team, we are really a technology business at heart. The technology business that is McLaren racing is a data rich environment that collects and analyses billions of data points, creating critical insights that informs every process that goes into preparing the team for race day. A case in point is that a typical F1 race car is made up of 80,000 components that must work flawlessly together in order perform on the racecourse. During a typical race season, 90% of these parts will need to be replaced. At McLaren, analytics automation is used to evaluate the performance of these parts, prioritizing which parts need to be replaced and continually evaluating test results (both under real and virtual racing conditions) on new parts, new materials, and new construction methods.”

Dan Heyworth, Director of Business Technology, McLaren Racing

Case in point: With Analytics Automation, all the data from day-to-day operations — resulting from competing in 23 races a year, 78 competitive laps per race, and well over 30 million tests and simulations spread across multiple components, varied scenarios, and testing apparatus — allows the entire McLaren racing team to share the insights, learn, and pursue additional opportunities for performance improvement.

In short, Alteryx enables McLaren to combine all this data, which allows the team to conduct further simulations and see how the changes they make affect the car and the driver to accelerate outcomes on the track.

Analytics Automation as a Team Sport

Alteryx is transforming the way data is processed at McLaren, enabling them to help make key decisions. In racing, the ability to refine and streamline learning and the creation of insight helps teams like McLaren go faster and achieve more.

Now, the world of audit in the OIG for Federal agencies might not move at the same speed found on F1 racetracks, but the ability to quickly harness data and incorporate new sources of data — regardless of its structure and complexity — is critical to speeding the course of investigations and protecting agency missions, resources, and critical systems from any losses caused by intentional actions, system breakdowns or mistakes.

The same analytic capability that empowers the McLaren team on the racetrack is used by a number Office of Inspector General (OIG) organizations, specifically OIG audit teams that need to:

  • Wade through hundreds of thousands of cells of information quickly
  • Leverage additional data quickly for more thorough analysis
  • Increase transparency across the audit process by providing clear box analysis that supports “yellow book” standards.

Case in point: The need to analyze a monthly telephone bill that contain over 20,000 pages of data related to telecommunication expenses. This volume of information related to tracking expenses is typical within a large federal agency and it requires the ability to quickly track trends and identify analogies that should be targeted for deeper investigation.

The agility of the Alteryx Analytics Automation Platform —which now includes Trifacta — to pull in multiple sources of data quickly and accelerate the creation of insights was on display with the recently completed FY 2021 comprehensive audit by the Department of Defense (DoD).

Case in point: The DoD’s FY 2021 audit was extensive, utilizing more than 1,200 auditors, 278 in-person site visits, and 1,069 virtual site visits to review DoD business processes and activities. Auditors requested approximately 34,000 documents and tested approximately 55,000 samples. Critical to this audit, and more recent past audits, was the ability to provide the DoD with a democratized data and analytics capability that:

  • Scaled to support more than 7,000 users and 1,200 different systems.
  • Reduced multi-month processes down to weeks using self-service and automation.
  • Eliminated data quality errors while improving process speed and scale.

So, whether it is analyzing the data from 80,00 critical parts in a racecar, a 20,000-page phone bill, or the financial data from the world’s largest, most complex organizations, Analytics Automation from Alteryx has proven its ability to meet the needs of race teams and auditors alike.

Transparency in Analytics is More Than a “Nice to Have”

In the world of OIG audits, analytics transparency is critical. From the ability to view the configuration of each analytics automation building block (anything that transforms, sorts, calculates, etc., the data), to the ability to document what is happening within the workflow are vital elements within Alteryx. These elements help OIG audit teams work towards meeting “yellowbook” audit standards for transparency.

The work towards increasing transparency won’t stop there as other capabilities are emerging from our partners to auto document analytic workflows within the platform.

What to learn more about Alteryx? Watch this video.  Better yet, register to attend Alteryx Inspire this May in Denver.

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

Alteryx is a registered trademark of Alteryx, Inc.

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