Teradata Positioned To Weather IT’s ‘Perfect Storm’?

ATLANTA: For perhaps the first time in IT’s history, outcomes, not technology, are driving the industry, and data specialist Teradata Corporation () is looking to take advantage of this ‘perfect storm’. The confluence of the latest IT tools and applications — social, , mobility, , analytics, Internet of Things (IoT) and security — together with the substantial benefits of a data-driven approach, a business phenomenon with a body count, represents a huge opportunity for the company, which is trying to change its focus from technology to outcomes.

“We have gone through the process of how we are actually changing: we are going to be business focused, not technology focused,” said President & CEO Vic Lund at last week’s Partners conference. Still, technology was a large part of the annual event’s agenda, where Teradata made a number of product and service announcements, including , RACE (Rapid Analytic Consulting Engagement), Customer Journey Analytic Solution, and .

They were significant announcements that represent a major shift for Teradata, said Oliver Ratzesberger, EVP and Chief Product Officer. “We’re focusing on business solutions more than we ever have before.”

Digitalization of the enterprise is a big topic for most companies around the world, said Oliver Ratzesberger, EVP and CPO, Teradata. Companies are looking for “high-impact outcomes that benefit the bottom line”, an optimized analytical ecosystem with “flexibility and agility” to most effectively run  your organization. “Business-led outcomes is really what companies are focused on.”

That has significant implications for Teradata, he said. “We’re focusing on business solutions more than we ever have before.”

One of the biggest — if not the biggest — implications of the onrushing changes is the speed of these changes. I talk to customers every day and they’re terrified of their inability to change fast enough, said Teradata’s John Thuma, Data Scientist & Director of Analytics.

In addition to the rate of change, is the need for a new set of KPIs (key performance indicators), he added. “It’s not the technology, it’s the people and processes that matter.”

Not only can companies not rest on “past glories”, even if they can change, are the changes they’re making successful, he asked? “That’s also a big factor.”

The paradigm that people were expendable is changing. Now organizations must not only look at how — and with who — they can continue to disrupt their competition, but also how to disrupt themselves.

Ratzesberger agrees that the companies who are doing well with the digital transformation “have realized that the biggest problem is people, process in organizations.”

It’s all about how you use it and reshape the company, empowering the change in the company. “That’s quite often the biggest challenge.” If you don’t inherently want to change what you’re doing through digitalization, “then you will burn through a lot of money.”

Cloud is also becoming a major opportunity for the company, said Ratzesberger. “90% of our customers say they will be on cloud by 2020… 85% are looking to buy as a service… and as much as 40% of workloads will run on public cloud by 2020.”

It’s all about leading with business outcomes, enabled by technology and doing it in an agile way, said Teradata’s John Dinning, EVP, Chief Business Officer. “Organizations need help, big time help.”

Half the time companies don’t know where the opportunities are to drive change, and they don’t have the skills in house, or the data. “We’ve shown where we can bring all these things together, holisticially, those are the companies that are the most successful.”

Not everybody is there, said Ratzenberger. “A lot of companies are still stuck in the 1990s.” Many of them are taking what he calls a Wild West approach, creating point solutions, building houses of cards that come tumbling down.

“Ultimately this goes back to governance and repeatability.” He said you can’t throw raw data at the company, but have to take measured approach, experiment, measure and optimize, and only once everything works do you put it out into general use of the company.

It’s all part and parcel of that major transformation, said Gartner analyst Martha Bennett, in a customer roundtable. “Data has become an intrinsic part of the company… we’re moving from selling product to selling service, or an outcome.”

The courage to change is critical, and to embrace continuous change, she said. If you’re not prepared to change your processes along with your data, “your data can only take you so far.”

One area Gartner is seeing the most activity is the need to get data to business professionals as “quickly as possible and you need automation at all levels.” Another critical component to success of data is determining what are you trying to do, added Bennett.

Learning from data is very difficult, said Sendit Thangavelu, Flextronics, and making data available to people who need it. A third key takeaway is that anything you do with analytics needs to be simple enough for people to understand and to use it, “and with very targeted business outcomes.”

The phenomenon has caught on at his company, even at the board level, he said, with senior management asking more questions, and being more informed. “It opens the door for us to do many things.”

DISCLAIMER: Teradata looked after airfare and hotel.

Author: Steve Wexler

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