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TDWI Upside - Where Data Means Business

Simplicity, AI Key to a Complex Future

At this year's Teradata Partners conference, two central themes point to significant trends.

In the fast-changing business of data, vendors are pushed every year to change as well, and Teradata had quite a few major announcements at its big annual show, Teradata Partners. I've attended the conference at least a dozen times, and just by reflecting on its changing focus, I can see the major shifts in our landscape.

"On the Edge of Next" was the conference theme this year, and according to Teradata, what comes next is progression in platform products in an attempt to simplify a complex future and embrace artificial intelligence and the cloud.

With the drive to bring more data under management and the continued chaotic nature of that pursuit, many organizations are operating below their potential. There's too much redundancy, too many different versions of the truth, and a mismatch of workloads and platforms. Some are overutilizing a legacy data warehouse that has not undergone maturity development to keep it relevant. Others are leaping into new technology with technology-first approaches. Either way, one market trend demonstrated by Teradata was simplicity.

For example, the company finally has united Aster Data functions into the core database, which is now called Teradata Analytics Platform, simplifying access to its over 180 prebuilt data science functions by not requiring a separate platform and data movement. This is a win for core platform customers and organizations for whom functions such as graph, sentiment analysis, machine learning, time series analysis, and data preparation were out of reach. Tensor Flow and other open source analytics engines such as Spark, Gluon, and Theano algorithms (including those for artificial intelligence (AI) and deep learning) are on the platform road map.

Simplicity extends beyond product features. Teradata Analytics Platform also provides convenient deployment, pricing, and portability. If you need to take your data across on-premises and various clouds or from term to perpetual licensing, those are customer choices without financial consequences. In addition, Teradata provides the same code across all deployment options.

Also announced along the lines of simplicity was Intellisphere, a foundation of the analytics ecosystem. It is the software needed to access, deploy, and manage a single architecture through a single license.

Pervasive AI

The other major trend is AI. According to several speakers (and revealed in a recent study they conducted), AI and machine learning are becoming pervasive. With their consolidated consulting arm, Teradata was able to dramatically reduce false positives in the fraud analysis at Danske Bank by using deep learning. The engine includes an interpretation layer that provides an explanation of any blocking activity. This will be packaged for financial institutions as the first of many such AI offerings. Also announced from the consulting organization was the Agile Analytics Factory, a program with data science and analytics expertise as-a-service.

Other Highlights

Numerous vendors are encouraging enterprises to get to the cloud today, and Teradata is no exception. Numerous customers have gone subscription, including many that Teradata cites as now having more capacity at lower cost by going to the Intellicloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) offering.

Oliver Ratzesberger, Teradata's EVP and chief product officer, pointed out that "You're either being disrupted or you are disrupting. Your analytics need to match."

The Teradata Partners announcements are just a few examples of how today's vendors are jockeying for position, preparing for a disruptive future where analytics is a defining strategy for customers.

For Further Reading:

AI as a Platform-as-a-Service

To Succeed, IT Vendors Must Improve Business Outcomes

Insights and New AI at Informatica World 2017

About the Author

McKnight Consulting Group is led by William McKnight. He serves as strategist, lead enterprise information architect, and program manager for sites worldwide utilizing the disciplines of data warehousing, master data management, business intelligence, and big data. Many of his clients have gone public with their success stories. McKnight has published hundreds of articles and white papers and given hundreds of international keynotes and public seminars. His teams’ implementations from both IT and consultant positions have won awards for best practices. William is a former IT VP of a Fortune 50 company and a former engineer of DB2 at IBM, and holds an MBA. He is author of the book Information Management: Strategies for Gaining a Competitive Advantage with Data.

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