Alteryx vs Xplenty: 

  • Alteryx is a software you install onsite or on a hosted server. Xplenty is a cloud-native platform.
  • Xplenty specializes in ETL only. Alteryx is a data analytics platform that also does ETL.
  • Xplenty eliminates all auxiliary costs. Alteryx involves hardware, hosting, and skilled labor costs.
  • Xplenty includes many connectors for SaaS cloud services. Alteryx offers few SaaS connectors.
  • Alteryx does not offer real-time support. Xplenty gives all accounts unlimited real-time support. 

Alteryx Analytics and Xplenty both offer no-code/low-code ETL solutions that simplify the process of extracting, transforming, and loading data. Nevertheless, there are distinct differences between Alteryx and Xplenty that could affect your decision to choose one over the other.

Here’s the easiest way to look at both platforms:

  • Alteryx Analytics: Serves a broad range of data analytics use-cases from business intelligence to spatial analytics to automated ETL. Alteryx was built for experienced data analysts, to help them produce and share different business metrics, graphs, and visualizations. Its ETL tools support this goal.
  • Xplenty: A powerful, user-friendly, enterprise-grade ETL solution. Xplenty empowers anyone – regardless of their tech experience – to develop sophisticated data pipelines that extract, transform, and load data from any source to any destination, including the most popular SaaS, database, and data warehouse systems.

In this guide, we’ll take a detailed look at Alteryx and Xplenty from an ETL perspective, so you can determine which solution is best for your ETL use-case. We’ll start with a general overview of both platforms, then dive deeper into their ETL capabilities.

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Overview of Alteryx and Xplenty

Let’s take a birds-eye look at the defining characteristics of Alteryx and Xplenty.

Alteryx Overview

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Alteryx describes itself as “a unified platform for analytics, data science, process automation, autoML, and AI.” In addition to specializing in advanced business intelligence, geographical data analysis, spatial analytics, and AI-powered insights, Alteryx includes an automated ETL tool that assists in gathering and preparing data from different sources. Alteryx also allows you to expose your data to third-party analytics solutions like Tableau, ESRI, or MapInfo.

Alteryx touts itself as being easy-to-use with an intuitive, no-code/low-code interface for designing ETL processes, data analysis, and dashboard presentations. However, user reviews indicate that if you’re not a data analyst or business analyst, you may struggle with using the platform. In other words, Alteryx is primarily built for experienced data analysts who don’t have coding skills:

“There is a fairly high learning curve considering the program is meant for non-experts. This product is most effectively used by data analysts, business analysts, and process/product owners.” -Matt R.

“It's an expensive tool that allows businesses to hire analysts who don't know how to code.” -SensitiveSpend1

“[Alteryx is] workable as a single-seat tool used by a “Top Gun,” but difficult to provide to a more junior resource to become proficient. It is very complex, so it takes some time, even for a Top Gun to become an expert.” -User in Marketing and Advertising

Here are the use-cases Alteryx serves:

  • Data integration automation (automated ETL): Alteryx offers an advanced ETL tool with native connectors that can read and pull data from a wide variety of sources.
  • Data transformation tools: Alteryx includes data transformation capabilities so you can explore, cleanse, and join data from different sources to prepare it for analysis.
  • Data analysis for better decision-making: Alteryx offers drag-and-drop BI solutions that help users with “little-to-no” coding experience explore and analyze their data for actionable business insights.
  • Data enrichment: Beyond analyzing data for demographics, behavioral, and sales-related insights, Alteryx offers tools to enrich your analyses and metrics with insights that incorporate maps, address, drivetime, and geographical information.
  • Interactive dashboards and automated sharing: Like most BI solutions, Alteryx offers tools for building interactive dashboards and sharing them with decision-makers, stakeholders, and other team members.

Here are some disadvantages of Alteryx from an ETL perspective:

  • Not a cloud-native solution: A significant disadvantage of Alteryx is that it’s not a cloud-native solution, i.e., it doesn’t automatically live in the cloud. Alteryx licenses software that you need to install on your computer, local server, or cloud server -- which represents additional costs related to hardware, server licenses, and/or cloud-server hosting fees. In contrast, to a cloud-native solution that you can immediately access from anywhere, Alteryx takes additional time to set up and configure as a cloud-accessible solution, which means that it’s not ready-made for remote teams. This may have been a setback for teams who needed to work from home during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Few pre-built connectors for SaaS platforms: Another disadvantage of Alteryx is the fact that it does not offer very many connectors for cloud-based SaaS platforms. Alteryx users may have to set up custom connectors to pull data from SaaS sources, causing additional operational complexity and delays.

Here’s what users are saying about Alteryx:

“What do you like best? Data cleansing from multiple sources, data transformation using different techniques, schema design using multiple sources, data modeling using multiple tables, ETL while cleansing data. Data science drag and drop features with R integration is easy to use … Visualizations could be better when compared to Tableau / Power BI. They should have the property which allows other tools to access the transformed data into themselves to be used for visualization purposes.” -User in E-Learning

“The program has glitches - sometimes everything will be created perfectly (data joining as it should, appropriate fields selected, etc), but the program will fail to read in or "update" the workstream and cause errors. Though Alteryx is touted as "Big Data" friendly, we have seen those limits reached (billions of records) and been disappointed with run times.” -Consultant in Automotive

At the end of the day, Alteryx is an excellent all-in-one data analytics solution that also manages ETL and data integration tasks. The problem is, many ETL users are not looking for a data analytics platform. They simply want to extract, transform, and load data from one place to another. In this case, a cloud-native, ETL-only solution could serve as a faster, more cost-effective way to achieve your data integration goals.

Xplenty Overview

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In contrast to Alteryx, Xplenty was purpose-built as a cloud-native, ETL-only solution. It was also built to be the fastest, most powerful, and cost-effective platform for moving and transforming large volumes of data on an enterprise scale.

To facilitate ease-of-use, Xplenty features an intuitive GUI that empowers complete beginners to build sophisticated data integrations and transformation workflows without writing code. At the same time, Xplenty doesn’t sacrifice the power and capabilities of enterprise-grade ETL. Nor does Xplenty leave experienced users behind. Advanced users enjoy coding transformations in Xplenty’s native scripting language or inserting custom SQL code for greater customization.

Here are some of Xplenty best features:

  • Salesforce-to-Salesforce integrations: Extract your Salesforce data, perform transformations on it in Xplenty’s powerful data engine, and load the data back into Salesforce. Or, pull data from one Salesforce account, transform it, and load it into another Salesforce account.  
  • Pre-built connectors: Xplenty offers 100+ prebuilt connectors to facilitate integrations between virtually any data source and any destination. It also includes a REST API connector to connect to any source or destination with a REST API.
  • Automatic transformations: Xplenty’s ready-to-go transformations allow you to set up automated SELECT, FILTER, JOIN, LIMIT, CLONE, and many other standard transformations via a drag-and-drop interface that doesn’t require a single line of code. If desired, advanced users can also write custom transformations in Xplenty’s native scripting language or SQL.
  • Low-cost, predictable pricing structure: Xplenty uses a monthly pricing structure that charges a flat-rate per connector. It doesn’t charge extra based on processing power or data volume, so budgeting for Xplenty is easy. Your costs stay exactly the same from month-to-month unless you add more data connections. 

Here are two significant advantages of Xplenty over Alteryx:

  • Cloud-native platform: Xplenty is a cloud-native platform. Users can log into the platform and start designing ETL pipelines instantly -- no complicated installations are required, and you’ll never need to pay for hosting to run Xplenty on a local server or AWS instance. Since Xplenty is accessible from anywhere, the platform has been valuable to remote teams during the COVID-19 pandemic. With more businesses trending toward remote teams in the future, we Xplenty’s cloud-native status will be a coveted feature in the years ahead.
  • Many SaaS connectors: Xplenty was designed to help organizations integrate with their cloud assets found in cloud-based SaaS services. The platform offers over 100 pre-built connectors to popular SaaS services.

Unlimited phone support: All Xplenty service level commitments – whether you’re managing a single integration or a thousand – benefit from unlimited phone and video conference support from a dedicated integration specialist, who you can call for help at any time.

Here’s what users say about Xplenty:

“Xplenty's easy-to-use interface makes it possible for less-technical members of my team to dive in and create/edit ETL jobs and schedules. We use Xplenty to enhance partner data, transform and add flexibility to how we structure and consume various data streams. Xplenty makes this easy.” -Nick M.

“With Xplenty, everything is seamless and flexible. You actually enjoy doing data migration. In the past, it was a nightmare, and now you want to push data all the time, and it’s very cool." -Maxime Verger Del Bove

Now that we’ve looked at a general overview of Alteryx vs. Xplenty, let’s look closer at some specific points of comparison.

Pre-Built Connectors and Automatic Transformations

Alteryx and Xplenty offer pre-built connectors that make it easy to connect to virtually any data source or data destination. 

Alteryx: Connectors and Transformations

For data integration purposes, Alteryx offers approximately 89 different connectors for the most popular data sources, databases, data warehouses, and storage systems -- like Amazon, Oracle, MongoDB, Microsoft Azure, Tableau, and more. Alteryx is severely lacking when it comes to connectors for the most popular cloud-based SaaS services. While it does include connectors for Salesforce, Netsuite, and some other SaaS platforms, you’ll only find a handful of ready-made SaaS connectors. 

When a prebuilt integration doesn’t exist, Alteryx has a native REST API connector that allows you to create a custom connection to any REST API without writing any code.

Here’s a sample of Alteryx’s pre-built connectors:

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Alteryx also offers a wide range of automatic, no-code transformations. Using a drag-and-drop interface, users can design automatic, recurring data transformations to prepare data in-pipeline while it’s moving from source to destination. 

This user was critical of Alteryx’s ETL tools:

“It doesn't handle the ETL aspect very well since it's not really a database, and it doesn't have a very intuitive way to handle the scheduling of workflow operations, and it doesn't have a section to manage things like lookup tables from a systemwide perspective. -Matt R.

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Xplenty: 140 Connectors and 100+ Automatic Transformations

Xplenty includes significantly more connectors than Alteryx -- approximately 140 in total. These offer ready-made connections to the most popular data sources, databases, data warehouses, applications, and SaaS services. As a cloud-native solution, one of Xplenty’s strongpoints is its large number of connectors for popular SaaS services like Salesforce, Surveymonkey, Mailchimp, HubSpot, Google Analytics, and more (over 100 SaaS connectors). In comparison, Alteryx doesn’t place an emphasis on providing customers with SaaS connectors.  

Xplenty also offers advantages when you’re connecting with a source or destination that isn’t in its library. First, Xplenty’s native REST API connector allows you to interact with any system that has a REST API. Second, all Xplenty users have unlimited access to a team of integration specialists, who will guide you through the process of setting up a custom integration when a connector doesn’t exist.  

Here are several of the pre-built connectors available on Xplenty

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Xplenty also includes more than 100 no-code transformations. Users can design automated, recurring transformation operations (to FILTER, SELECT, JOIN, CLONE, LIMIT, and more) that prepare and transform data while it’s traveling in-pipeline to its destination. Also, data engineers with coding experience have the option of using Xplenty’s native scripting language or SQL editor when designing transformation workflows.

Here’s what users say about Xplenty connectors and transformations:

“What I like best about the tool is how you can define a data workflow with their respective transformation in a really easy and visual way. Just by adding nodes in the package editor page, you can add any type of SQL command you like. Moreover, the columns selector are kind of cool, where you can see which attributes you have available for that node.” -User in Education Management

“If I had to describe one thing that I enjoy the most about XPlenty – it would be the number of connections that I seem to be able to facilitate intuitively. I'm not a DBA - I'm a BI Analyst who needed to expand his role into a bit of data management for various reasons, and I've found the transition painless and liberating with Xplenty. We needed to connect a number of sources, transform data, and load them into one centralized location fairly quickly with limited bandwidth from our DBAs. Xplenty enabled me, and one other analyst, to pick up that bit of the workload without a ton of training - so we were able to meet our deadlines. The speed and consistency of XPlenty are impressive, and it more than makes up for what a few tools in our kit may be lacking.” -Johnnie W.

Salesforce Connector

Like most user-friendly ETL solutions, Alteryx and Xplenty include tools for extracting and pushing data to and from Salesforce. Let’s see how they compare. 

Alteryx: One-Way Salesforce Integrations

Alteryx’s Salesforce connector is a one-way integration. Like most ETL solutions, Alteryx is limited to pulling data out of Salesforce or pushing data back into it. It can’t do both at the same time. Alteryx cannot perform advanced Salesforce-to-Salesforce integrations in the way that platforms like Xplenty, MuleSoft, and Jitterbit can.   

Xplenty: Salesforce to Salesforce Integrations

One of Xplenty’s most popular features is its Salesforce-to-Salesforce connector. This easy integration allows you to sync the data in one Salesforce organization with the data in another Salesforce organization -- which allows you to share information between different Salesforce accounts. The tool is particularly useful when you want to share sales information with suppliers or vendors, and when you’re transferring data during a merger/acquisition. 

Salesforce-to-Salesforce allows you to extract your data into Xplenty -- transform, edit, clean, aggregate, or modify it in-pipeline -- then load it back into Salesforce without writing any code. Integrations like this are usually only possible with the most expensive, enterprise-grade ETL platforms -- like MuleSoft, Jitterbit, and Talend -- which require an experienced data engineer to operate. 

Of course, Xplenty can perform one-way Salesforce integrations as well.

Here’s what one user says about Xplenty’s Salesforce connector:

“We have a lot of SaaS services that we use that lock up a tremendous amount of valuable data. We needed a way to bring this value back in-house to combine with data from other systems to maximize its value. We were able to do this very quickly with Xplenty and now we are able to take value-adding aggregate data and push it back to these services such as Salesforce. This has made these tools even more valuable.” -Stephen F.

Data Compliance

Alteryx doesn’t include any out-of-the-box tools to help users meet their data compliance goals. Xplenty meets the most important data compliance standards.

Alteryx Data Compliance

Alteryx doesn’t offer any special tools to help customers meet data compliance best practices. This is in stark contrast to other ETL platforms – like Xplenty – that offer out-of-the-box features to ensure your data adheres to SOC 2, GDPR, HIPAA, CCPA, and other standards. 

On the Alteryx community forum, an Alteryx Certified Partner suggests that users can achieve a compliance workaround by outsourcing the problem to an expert: 

“Alteryx does not provide any specific tools for data compliance. You would need to create your own using the formula tool and establishing what you would want to achieve. If you tell me your needs I would be able to create something for you.” -afv2688

On the topic of data security, it’s worth noting that Alteryx caused a massive data breach in 2017 due to lax security practices. According to Fortune:

“Alteryx (ALTERYX), a marketing analytics firm, left an unsecured database online that publicly exposed sensitive information for about 123 million U.S. households. The personal details included street addresses, demographics, and finances for families, as well as information pertaining to house and auto ownership, and even to children … A large portion of the data appeared to originate with Experian (EXPGY), one of three major U.S. credit bureaus, which collected and sold them as part of its “ConsumerView” product for marketers.”

Xplenty Data Compliance 

Xplenty’s out-of-the-box data security and compliance features simplify the process of meeting compliance best practices. Xplenty is compliant with SOC 2, HIPAA, and the latest CCPA standards – including an updated Data Processing Addendum (DPA), which applies to European Union data transfers. 

Also, Xplenty hosts/manages its platform on Amazon AWS data centers. AWS data centers meet accreditation standards for FISMA Moderate; PCI Level 1; ISO 27001; and Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX).

Ease of Use and Support

Both Atleryx and Xplenty feature no-code, graphical user interfaces and out-of-the-box connectors and transformations, but how do they measure up in terms of ease-of-use?

Alteryx Ease of Use

Alteryx touts itself as an “easy-to-use” ETL solution. This may have been true five or six years ago, but modern ETL platforms like Xplenty have brought “ease-of-use” to an entirely new level. 

In fact, most users agree that Alteryx was built for experienced data scientists -- especially those who want to analyze data and share visual insights without writing any code. ETL beginners, on the other hand, will hit a steep learning curve while trying to install, setup, and use Alteryx. 

Alteryx’s lack of user support is another hurdle to ease-of-use. Alteryx users are limited to teaching themselves about the platform by reading documentation, taking the Alteryx independent study course, or posting a question to the community forum and hoping for a response. Alteryx does not offer real-time or phone-based support to its users -- which is surprising considering the cost of the platform. Alteryx subscribers are left in the dark when it comes to personalized assistance.

Here’s what reviewers say about Alteryx from an ease-of-use perspective:

“Software's main support feature is an online forum so support is tough to come by in real-time.” -Consultant in Accounting

There is a fairly high learning curve considering the program is meant for non-experts. This product is most effectively used by data analysts, business analysts, and process/product owners. -Matt R.

"From input, preparation, to transformation, learning, and visualization, Alteryx has all the functionalities that a Data Scientist needs. It can connect various data sources, this function was very helpful. Learning ramp-up period takes some time, I recommend users to read Alteryx documentation before proceeding. There are many function boxes and it can take some time to learn each one. Software is very good for data investigation and mining, but for visualization, it can be improved." -Researcher on Gartner

Xplenty Ease of Use

Aided by its intuitive, drag-and-drop GUI, Xplenty is the easiest-to-use ETL platform on the market. No setup or installations are required. Just log into Xplenty’s web-based interface and start designing integrations and in-pipeline data transformations immediately. It doesn’t matter if you’re the front-desk receptionist, an artist from the creative team, or an experienced data engineer. Designing sophisticated ETL pipelines with Xplenty is so easy that anyone can do it. 

Moreover, every Xplenty account has a dedicated, on-call integration specialist accessible by phone and video conference. This unlimited support feature is available to all Xplenty accounts regardless of the service level commitment. Your Xplenty integration specialist feels like a member of your team -- always ready to take the reins and help you get the most from the platform. 

At the end of the day, Xplenty brings enterprise-grade ETL down to earth, so you don’t need to burden your IT staff or hire a data engineer to get your data where it needs to be, fast.

Here’s what reviewers say about Xplenty and ease-of-use:

“What we love best about Xplenty is the near real-time support we get from the team. Xplenty's point of difference is the customer support we receive. The product itself is good. Easy to use at a high level. The people at Xplenty are the difference – which is unusual for a cloud proposition. A nice change from dealing with a faceless machine.” -Jamie B.

Pricing Strategy

Pricing is a significant point of departure between Alteryx and Xplenty. Considering the high cost of Alteryx versus the affordability of Xplenty, potential Alteryx customers need to decide whether they want to pay extra for an all-inclusive analytics platform, or whether an ETL-only solution is more practical and cost-effective for their needs. 

Alteryx Pricing Strategy

Alteryx charges by the user, so if you want to have multiple users on the platform you will experience a significant increase in cost. The base plan starts at $5,195 per seat per year. This plan offers basic data access, data preparation/transformation, predictive analytics, visualizations, and report sharing for a single user.

The Alteryx base plan could be sufficient for low-volume integrations and transformations, but organizations managing high-volume ETL and complex transformations will require an upgrade. Accessing the Alteryx Server for enterprise-level capabilities starts at $78,975 per seat per year.

Alteryx seats are regional, so an employee in another region won’t be able to access the platform via the same subscription. 

On top of Alteryx licensing fees, it’s important to remember auxiliary costs:

  • Staffing: You’ll want to have an experienced data scientist or experienced IT staff member available to operate Alteryx, representing additional labor costs. Training replacement staff represents an additional cost burden.
  • Hosting and hardware: You will need an on-site server or cloud-server where you’ll host Alteryx, representing additional hardware, licensing, hosting, and processing costs. Alteryx advertises that users can keep their costs down by letting the destination database or data warehouse process transformations. However, relying on the processing power of your existing assets does not eliminate processing costs. It just means you’re paying for them elsewhere. 

Reviewers complain about the high price of using Alteryx:

“The product is quite expensive and would be more useful more broadly if it were less expensive per seat.” -User in Marketing and Advertising

“[Alteryx] has advanced features, but the people who would use those features already know how to code... So their remaining target audience is basic BI folk, who are being captured by Power BI query editor and Tableau Prep… The only strong argument for Alteryx, IMO, is that it reduces code sprawl and therefore potentially tech debt. Is that really worth the license cost though? Sounds like an expensive tool to get around a management issue.” -Core_Four

“The least I like is the price and the latency when loading the data. Because it is a strong and powerful tool, it is a bit pricey … [It] is not a tool for a one-day job. [It] is more for enterprise and daily jobs. When loading the data, depending on where it is located in the document, it will take longer than usual.” -Anonymous Reviewer

Xplenty Pricing Strategy

Xplenty was designed to package all of your costs in a simple flat-rate pricing strategy that charges by the connector and nothing more. One ETL integration involves a source and a destination connector (that’s two connectors), so the price of two connections is the lowest price for using Xplenty. 

Since Xplenty does not charge by the seat or geographic location, an unlimited number of users in your organization can access the platform from anywhere in the world. Moreover, Xplenty doesn’t charge by data volume and it doesn’t charge for additional processing power. Therefore, by relying on Xplenty’s powerful data engine to perform in-pipeline transformations, you’ll save money on processing fees in your data warehouse and other storage destinations. 

Pipe as much data volume as you want through your Xplenty integration. You’ll never get hit with a spike in fees after a high-traffic month. This makes Xplenty a simple and easy service to budget.

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Final Thoughts on Alteryx vs Xplenty

This review was tough on Alteryx, but that’s because we’re focusing on its capacity as an ETL solution. When comparing Alteryx to a modern, dedicated ETL platform like Xplenty, it’s clear that Xplenty offers a superior product for those who want to quickly and easily set up enterprise-grade ETL processes with no setup, training, ETL experience, or coding knowledge required.

That withstanding, Alteryx is a powerful business intelligence solution that bundles an adequate ETL product into its offering. Therefore, if you’re looking for an all-in-one analytics platform, Alteryx could be an excellent match. 

In conclusion, Xplenty offers the following advantages over Alteryx from an ETL perspective:

  • Flat-rate pricing with no auxiliary costs: Xplenty contains all of your data integration costs in a simple flat-rate pricing structure while eliminating all auxiliary costs related to hardware, hosting, server licensing, labor, data volume, and processing. 
  • A cloud-native solution: Accessible from anywhere via a web-based interface, Xplenty is ready to go as soon as you log into the platform, no setup required. A cloud-native platform also offers tremendous advantages for remote teams during pandemic situations.
  • ETL-only: Xplenty focuses on ETL and ETL only. This keeps the platform’s costs down because you’re not paying for advanced data analytics, visualization, and sharing features. It also makes the platform easy to use.
  • Cloud-based SaaS integrations: Xplenty was made to integrate data from all of your sources, including the most popular databases, data warehouses, applications, and cloud-based SaaS services. Alteryx is severely limited when it comes to SaaS connectors.
  • Unlimited phone and video conference support: Xplenty gives all users unlimited realtime phone and video conference support. This ensures that no one gets left in the dark when using the platform. 

If you’re deciding between Alteryx and Xplenty, we recommend giving Xplenty a test spin. Schedule a demo and experience the platform for yourself.