Workflows can be constantly changing, whether due to new data being available, format changes, additional requests, or other circumstances. Additionally, not all Alteryx users have access to Designer and may not be able to see what goes on in the background if all they can do is go to the Gallery or Analytics Hub and hit “Run.” The Audit Reporting feature of the WAM allows users to create an overview report for any workflow quickly and effortlessly, allowing users to keep track of tool configurations and changes without even using Designer. These reports include the following components:
- The file location of the workflow
- The version of Designer that the workflow was created in
- Recommendations to improve performance
- A tool breakdown by category
- An Input/Output summary with file paths and queries
- Configuration details of every tool
- A flow graph showing the data connections between tools
Keeping track of changes is crucial when updating a workflow, especially for temporary or proposed changes. Having an audit of every version of a workflow gives users a quick reference to compare these changes without having to open Designer and flip back and forth between different versions of the same workflow. Instead of clicking through tools to compare them, they can open the Audit Reports built by the WAM and compare the tool configurations based on the tool’s ID number or look at the flow chart at the back of the report if there are bigger changes such as adding a branch or input to the workflow. The Tool Configuration Details section of each audit report allows users to quickly glance at a tool to see how it is configured rather than going into Designer, finding the tool, and looking at its configuration. Comparing workflows with Audit Reports in .docx format is also much easier than having two Designer windows open.
These reports are also a great way of getting an overview of the workflow just by looking at the Input/Output summary and tool breakdown by category. For example, using the screenshots below, we can tell that this workflow takes data from three Excel files: Employee Data.xlsx, Employee Certifications.xlsx, and Employee HE Degrees.xlsx, and outputs a Tableau data extract and an Excel sheet containing combined data. We can also tell that this workflow is mainly concerned with cleaning and prepping the data from the input files, as it consists mainly of preparation tools.
Just looking at these two pages, we can tell at a high level what this workflow is doing without ever opening Designer. To get a better idea of the workflow, we can look at the Flow Graph at the end of the report to see how the data flows from one tool to another without even opening the workflow. Looking at just three pages from the Audit Report, it is no surprise that the actual workflow looks like this:
But what if somebody who only has access the ability to run a workflow from your company’s Gallery/Analytics Hub wants to know more about the what the workflow is doing at a deeper level? Like what is that filter tool filtering, or what is being calculated with the formula tools? Easy – just look at the Tool Configuration Details of the report. This section keeps track of what each tool does or how it is configured, such as what field got renamed with a Select tool, which fields are coming from which input file, and which field is the header and which field is the value for a Cross Tab. For the example workflow, we can immediately tell that the Primary/Secondary Rate field is being filtered.