Teradata to support Linux OS, Siebel apps

ORLANDO — At its annual user conference, Teradata announced support for the Linux operating system and the release of Teradata Warehouse 8.1.

The data warehouse vendor, which is a division of Dayton, Ohio-based NCR Corp. also announced Monday a partnership with Siebel Systems Inc. and the availability of a suite of Siebel Business Analytics applications optimized for Teradata Warehouse. The release comes on the heels of an announcement last week by Oracle that it will acquire Siebel in a US$5.85-billion deal. But Bob Fair, Teradata’s chief marketing officer, said Oracle’s bid for Siebel will not affect Teradata’s relationship with the business intelligence vendor.

Larry Ellison has publicly said that he supports heterogeneous warehouses, Fair said, adding it’s no surprise that Siebel is being acquired or that it’s Oracle that’s doing the acquiring.

Customers want Siebel optimized for Teradata he said at the press conference, which was held at the 2005 Annual Teradata Partners User Group Conference and Expo.

When Siebel was working out the agreement with Teradata, it clearly knew what was happening with Oracle, he said.

During the press conference, Fair also went over the results of a survey Teradata conducted of 348 senior executives, 60 per cent of whom were VPs or higher.

Seventy-one per cent of respondents said the number of daily decisions they have to make has increased over the last year and 48 per cent said that the decisions are more complex. An overwhelming 98 per cent said that the amount of data available to them is increasing and 59 per cent said it is doubling or tripling every year.

There is a crisis in enterprise decision making, Fair said.

“The crisis is the new norm,” he said.

According to the survey, executives want improved response times, real-time access to data, integration with current and future systems and access to customer history in order to achieve quality and precision decision making.

The ability to make better decisions is something the Hudson’s Bay Co. has been striving towards for years.

“It has not been an easy road,” said Diane Drotos, the company’s director of business intelligence during a presentation at the conference.

If a project is successful in the end, then people think it must have been easy to get there, she said, but they don’t see the scars.

HBC has five banners — The Bay, Zellers, Home Outfitters, Designer Depot and Fields. But at first, executives could only get data for individual banners. And to complicate matters even further, metrics such as gross margin didn’t mean the same thing across the banners.

The company began to recognize that it needed to know how HBC was doing at the corporate level and at each of the individual banners and began rolling out its Business Information System. This meant everyone had to come to a consensus on what meant what.

Executives also wanted to be able to see daily sales results at 6 a.m. Sometimes, the stores are open till midnight for special events, which meant Vancouver stores would close at 3 a.m. EST, giving HBC a three-hour window to meet the 6 a.m. deadline. In the past, executives would be lucky if analysts working all day could get them reports by 4 p.m., Drotos said.

Initially, the system was only going to provide users with exception reporting, but this was an unachievable goal, she said.

“Exception reporting is a myth.” Users find it difficult to adjust to the absence of data dumps, she said, adding they would complain that the report looked differently than it used to.

“It took a long time to convince users that different isn’t wrong,” she said, adding that it’s difficult to define what exactly constitutes an exception.

Until users are won over to the merits of exception reporting, they will need to see everything, Drotos said. So, instead, HBC does what Drotos calls exception highlighting. Reports are now colour-coded red, yellow and green.

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