Teradata: Back To The Future With Customer Focus
Sep14

Teradata: Back To The Future With Customer Focus

ATLANTA: Despite strong financial performance, and a leadership position in one of today’s hottest markets, analytics, questions continue to circulate around Teradata Corporation (TDC), which has gathered 3,000 customers (versus 5,000 in 2015, although SAS is holding a similar gathering this week) and partners for its annual Partner conference. In August the company announced higher revenues — $599 million versus $559.23M — and earnings per share — $0.71vs $0.60 — than predicted by analysts, but the positive results couldn’t stop last week’s market slide, when TDC shares fell 4.24%, as analysts put thumbs down to the company’s prospects. Teradata’s future is dim, wrote analyst Thomas Dinsmore, publisher of the Big Analytics Blog, back in February, and under the previous management. While it’s been struggling since 2013, he believes it has the potential to be a stable and profitable company, but not a growth company, unless it makes some big changes. ‘Companies with a clear growth vision can invest heavily in sales, marketing and engineering; stable companies must be lean. Teradata now spends more “below the line” — engineering, sales, marketing, general and administrative functions — than it did in 2012, when it seemed poised for growth… Meanwhile, while the company invested a little over $600 million in research and development over the past three years, it spent $1.6 billion repurchasing its own stock… A company that spends three times as much buying its own stock as it spends on R&D is a company that has no confidence in the growth potential of its own business, and no ideas for building a better product.’ Several months later at the Teradata Influencer Summit, new management, a new architecture, more apps and IP, and, most importantly, a more urgent move to the cloud, things were looking brighter, noted Doug Henschen for Constellation Research. ‘As CEO Lund put it at the outset of the Summit, Teradata has great technology, smart people and an awesome customer base. Now that distractions — such as the divested Aprimo marketing business — are out of the way, Teradata has clearly refocused on its core competency. Now it’s a matter of execution and delivering great technology in smarter, more flexible and easier-to-consume ways.’ Speaking to a group of analysts and journalists at Partners, recently demoted (promoted?) from the board, and active with TDC since 2004, President & CEO Vic Lund said the company has been working on a new strategy for some time. “We have gone through the process of how we are actually changing: we are going to be business focused, not technology focused.” While technology will support this customer-centric approach, this apparent reversal is not as...

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IT Operations Analytics from the Source

One of the top uses of big data today is IT operations analytics. This makes sense. By nature, IT components are designed to log all of their many status messages, and this information is generated with debug, tracking, and audit purposes in mind. The aggregate output, however, can be a logistical problem in itself. For each device, some poor sysadmin has to decide what level of logging is desired, and then live with the consequences of that decision. Set the logging threshold to “errors only” and important context will be missing when it’s time to diagnose an issue. Set the logging criteria to “everything” and staggering amounts of data will be generated, often too much to process, and certainly much of little or no value. Limit the time period to an hour or a day, and the key information may have been overwritten by the time it’s needed, and then the problem will have to be recreated. To read the complete article, CLICK...

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Understanding Poetry at the HPE Big Data Conference

HPE’s Big Data Conference was given the tag line #SeizeTheData which immediately made me think of the wonderful film “Dead Poets Society.” One of my favorite scenes is when the students learn how to measure and analyze poetry. You can refresh your memory of the dialogue by watching this clip  or reading here. Of course, the whole point is that using analytics doesn’t work in poetry appreciation. Which I thought made #SeizeTheData rather ironic as a hashtag. Yet as the event rolled on, HPE themselves declared that “drawing a line through a cloud of dots” isn’t the point of big data; rather it should augment human intelligence. I noticed that analytics could in fact be applied with human passion and human wisdom almost anywhere for human good. Uber detailed how they are bringing rides to underserved communities, and reducing traffic and pollution in cities, all driven by analytics. Similarly positive work is being done with big data applications in healthcare, communications, and many other industries. To read the complete article, CLICK...

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IBM BigInsights: Refining Open Source Big Data…

I’ve written pretty regularly about IBM’s history of promoting open source technologies. Those efforts began with the company’s support of Linux in the 1990s, resulting in IBM supporting Linux distributions across its entire portfolio of systems and other solutions. Over the years, the company also contributed and invested extensively in a wide range of existing and emerging open source projects. Plus, it open sourced some of its own home grown technologies, including the Eclipse development platform and the Power microprocessor architecture. But it’s also worth considering the tactical purpose behind those efforts, and the resulting benefits that have accrued to IBM and its customers and partners. That’s especially true considering the company’s recently announced IBM BigInsights 4.2 platform and the related IBM Big Replicate solutions. To read the complete article, CLICK HERE NOTE: This column was originally published in the Pund-IT...

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“Big data, huh, what is it good for?…

The mood of this week’s Hadoop Summit has felt wonderfully diverse. There is a cognitive disconnect between the incremental progress of dot release feature sets and the revolutionary new business and societal applications of the technology. In the same keynote session the topics can swerve from optimizing cluster utilization to optimizing marketing yields to finding a cure for cancer. The technical lectures were packed, while the expo floor was focused. A loud rock and roll string trio in (unnecessarily short) black dresses exits the stage to be replaced by serious talk of open-source projects and community. One day a presenter will explain how clever they are to be able to apply pervasive surveillance of drivers for more profits, the next day a keynote is focused on rallying the audience to develop their ethics and fight the forces of ignorance. Is the Hadoop Summit about vendor announcements or business outcomes? Is it about infrastructure or applications? Is it “sex sells” or cubical contributions? Is it profit or politics? Ultimately, it seems the big data industry is struggling to define who will benefit and how from our new technologies. If I had to pick some winners and losers, here would be my list. To read the complete article, CLICK...

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