Can Teradata pivot from data warehousing to analytics?

New CEO Oliver Ratzerberger wants to transform Teradata into an analytics-as-a-service platform

teradata ceo oliver ratzerberger

For decades the Teradata business has been based on database management, but customers are now increasingly demanding analytics on top of data warehousing.

Now, fomer COO and new CEO Oliver Ratzesberger wants to take Teradata in a different direction, by pivoting the product from warehousing to analytics, and the business model from perpetual software licenses to recurring subscriptions.

The centerpiece of Ratzesberger’s plan is the Vantage analytics software platform that Teradata launched last autumn.

"Our belief is that the future of Teradata is that of an analytics-as-a-service-platform – not another database or another set of connectors or another set of tools,” Ratzesberger told Computerworld during the Teradata Universe conference in Colorado this week.

At the conference Teradata announced two new products that it hopes will bolster these ambitions: Vantage Customer Experience (CX), a set of analytics tools for marketing, and Vantage Analyst, which allows non-technical businesses analysts to run complex analytics through a point-and-click interface.

The company also announced that Teradata Vantage will be available on Google Cloud in 2020, which will make the software available on all three of the major public cloud providers.

All of the big three cloud providers already provide their own analytics capabilities, but Ratzesberger aruges that Teradata's combination of workload management, cocurrency version control and advanced analytical capabilities offer enterprise users a more complete and scalable package.

Brian Wood, Teradata's director of cloud marketing, claims that the new products were not attempts to replace analytics offered by the likes of Tableau and SAS.

"We are trying to add more and more value and integration to what we provide, and for the quick and dirty exploratory discovery type things Vantage Analyst and Vantage Customer Experience may be sufficient," he said. "But then for customers who want to take it a step or two further, then they're going to want to go with purpose-built tools to get the most value out of it.

"We don't see it as competition; it's different positioning. Just like we're positioned differently than a Redshift or an SQL Data Warehouse, our visualisation capabilities are positioned differently than a Tableau."

Dan Vesset, an industry analyst within IDC's analytics and information management market research and advisory practice, expects business analysts to continue using other partner tools to interact with the Vantage platform.

“I think for the foreseeable future, it will be some combination of both,” he said. “None of their database products are as as robust and as proven in the market as Teradata has been, but they bring in other types of analytics, especially around unstructured content: image, text, audio and video analysis, which has not been the core and doesn't sound like it will be in the short term in the core products for Teradata.”

Increasing options

Teradata's shift to the subscription-based model that is prevalent across the enterprise software industry began under Victor Lund, Ratzerberger's predecessor as Teradata CEO. At Teradata Universe, the company added pay-as-you-go consumption pricing for Vantage, which it hopes will encourage customers to experiment by reducing their financial risk. This consumption pricing which will be on general availability in the first half of 2020.

Vesset believes it will give customers more ability to scale incrementally.

“It’s important that it's not a 100 percent switch to pay as you go; you still have multiple ways of engaging with Teradata," he added. "But pay-as-you go, in this day and age, needs to be one of those options.”

The offering of multiple options was a message that Teradata executives repeated throughout Teradata Universe. The company wants to be known for its ability to consolidate disparate data silos that can then be easily accessed through Teradata's analytics engines.

Vesset feels the company still has to prove it's ability to manage unstructured data.

“When it comes to structured and semi structured data, then Teradata has a very strong track record and proof points with Vantage, and the query grids component within it, and the engines," he said. "But the reality is also that today, a lot of data is unstructured. And in those cases, the customer would need to rely on somebody else's technology. And in some cases, they are existing Teradata partners, and in some cases, they're not."

He advises the company to focus on data integration.

“I think that 80 percent of the effort and time is spent on data integration, data cleansing, data cataloging," he said. "So I think there's an opportunity there to get into that market, whether organically or through acquisition.”

Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.

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