Teradata enthusiastically revealed its new self at its annual conference in Las Vegas, renamed in 2018 as Teradata Analytics Universe (formerly Teradata Partners). This year’s event hosted more than 3,000 attendees from 50 countries, representing Teradata customers, potential customers, and partners. Teradata’s new branding and marketing initiative was clear and consistently supported throughout the event as Teradata begins the next chapter in its 40-year journey as a market leader. The new flagship product, Teradata Vantage, was unveiled to the crowd, and presenters showed how it supports the Teradata Everywhere strategy while realigning the existing Teradata product portfolio with a direction for innovation.
Teradata’s new brand promise and marketing initiative, which was clearly articulated by COO Oliver Ratzesberger in an opening keynote and undeniably present throughout the event, seemed to be well-received by attendees and long-time customers. Teradata’s mission statement “to transform how businesses work and how people live through the power of data”
and several major event themes of “rising above” complexity reflect an understanding of the challenges that large enterprises face in making analytics pervasive in their organizations. Ratzesberger boldly stated the need to “Stop buying analytics; invest in answers,” demonstrating an appropriate focus on business questions to ensure the correct business context and impact before diving into the data and analytics. The Teradata mandate to “rise above” is designed to inspire holistic thinking about enterprise analytics and overcome the complexities of data silos, analytic technologies, and infrastructure management. Importantly, the existing Teradata product portfolio strategy has been distilled and re-aligned to this mission. A keynote discussion between Ratzesberger and Tad Brockway, GM, Azure Media and Entertainment, Azure Storage and Azure Stack, explored the Teradata/Azure partnership, but this discussion really represented companies reinventing themselves to cross into the modern technology world with innovations, products, and services that companies need going forward – not necessarily what or how they sold in the past. Our observation is when you’re betting the company on the next big thing, you’re more likely to be successful [due to] being fully committed. Stated several times during the conference is the notion that “a brand is a promise delivered”; convincing customers that Teradata has moved beyond its legacy reputation will be the next step.
Teradata Vantage – the new enterprise platform for “Pervasive Data Intelligence” – was defined in Chris Twogood’s keynote (and explored in many sessions throughout the conference) as a software platform to reduce the complexities of finding answers from analytics. We believe this is a markedly important shift in Teradata’s product portfolio, as Vantage takes an open, horizontal platform approach to Teradata technologies rather than an ecosystem component approach like previous products. The platform is open to a variety of analytic tools and languages of choice, and the horizontal layers support different deployment options, integrated data storage options, and many analytic engines. Coupled with QueryGrid and the Teradata Everywhere strategy, Vantage can easily be deployed on-premises, on Teradata Cloud, AWS, Azure, or hybrid architectures if needed. As part of future development efforts, Vantage will provide native integration with object stores in 2019, including AWS S3 and Azure Blob Store connections. This means that the Teradata SQL engine can query both relational database tables along with data stored in the native object store. Additionally, the Teradata development strategy is focused on AI capabilities (ML and deep learning), as explored by CTO Stephen Brobst in his keynote and in AI track sessions, along with an autonomous platform management capability (something that companies seriously need help with at scale). When you put all of this together, Teradata Vantage is positioned to be the core of your modern data platform while being open to integration with the rest of an analytic ecosystem – rather than trying to replace or disrupt it.
The value in customer stories was often found between the lines of the business impact stories at the conference. Many customers faced a challenge with cloud migration or end-of-life equipment that was going to require costly upgrades, renewal, and multi-year planning. Within these success stories you could often find a bullet point about the adoption of Teradata Vantage taking several weeks to a couple months, on whichever platform the customer chose. In our experience, one of the biggest hurdles that executives face is making that big investment and the potential risks associated with any large decision. We find that companies are seeking to be more agile, have lower barriers to adoption, and scale as needed rather than commit to an unknown growth and vendor lock-in. One customer story told about moving to AWS quickly, then changing their mind and migrating to Azure within weeks and having only minor disruptions. We believe that companies should consider the agility of Teradata Vantage when assessing their data and analytics architecture evolution – this appears to be a part of the brand promise being delivered at customers at the conference.
Several other noteworthy keynote sessions by Morten Hansen, Tony Scott, Tricia Wang, Charles Thomas, Matei Zaharia, Brian Granger and Stephen Brobst are available to watch on the virtual conference website. https://virtual.teradata.com
This Radiant Advisors Event Insights is a summary of perspectives from John O’Brien, Julie Langenkamp, and Natalie Whitney.
John O’Brien is Principal Advisor and CEO of Radiant Advisors. A recognized thought leader in data strategy and analytics, John’s unique perspective comes from the combination of his roles as a practitioner, consultant and vendor CTO.