PARTNERS: Teradata focuses on access, integration

SEATTLE – At its annual Partners user conference, enterprise data warehousing and analytics company Teradata – a division of NCR Corp. – highlighted areas the company plans to focus on over the next year, paying close attention to data accessibility.

While addressing 2,700 attendees – a big difference from its first Partners conference in 1986, which was host to 50 guests – Mike Koehler, Teradata’s senior vice-president, explained that the company is focused on increasing business value and building more strategic partnerships with customers.

Koehler said the company plans to increase its technology platform by working on price performance improvements, by enhancing and simplifying the integration process and by achieving greater business continuity support.

Teradata is looking to increase quality and speed to market of its offerings, Koehler said, adding “we need to do a better job of sharing intellectual assets that are shareable.”

According to Mark Lahr, president of the Teradata Partners steering committee and manager of IT data warehousing at St.Paul, Minn.-based 3M, a diversified technology company, Teradata solutions brought 3M together.

While addressing conference attendees, Lahr said that as recently as 1997, 3M didn’t have an enterprise analytic process in place, which made it seem like 3M’s separate divisions and businesses were acting like individual companies – an undesirable situation.

He said 3M was looking to have its information consolidated into a single, integrated structure that would allow users to access and use information in ways that were best-suited to their individual needs. He explained that Teradata’s data warehousing solutions allowed 3M to do just that because it understands that “when it comes to data, one size doesn’t fit all.”

Eric Berg, chief administration officer at NCR, said that without good data and good analysis, companies are relying on “luck and feelings” when trying to make informed decisions on emerging issues. This, of course, applies to everyone but the CEO, he noted.

It’s easy for the CEO because the CEO will always have good data, Berg said adding that “people will work nights for weeks to make sure the CEO has the data.” The challenge is to make the data available to the masses, and this is done by having all the data in one place, he said.

Stephen Brobst, chief technology officer at Teradata, agreed that data has to be shared not just with those in an organization’s corporate ivory tower but also with the masses. He offered that accessibility of data should be extended past the enterprise itself and be made available to companies’ suppliers and partners.

Brobst explained that a major obstacle holding back many businesses from implementing a data warehouse is that they are stuck in their ways – they have been doing the same things for so long that it is difficult for them to make changes.

“If an enterprise does the same dumb things it has been doing for the past decade, but they do it faster, it’s still not good,” Brobst said, adding that companies that use information as a “strategic weapon” will be the companies that succeed.

He added that the key to organizing data is giving “the right data to the right individual at the right time,” and not allowing the worker to become overwhelmed by data that isn’t pertinent to their work.

The Partners user conference continues until Sept. 25. Teradata can be found online at

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