Welcome to the Teradata Customer Blog!

By | September 11, 2013

Welcome to the Teradata Customer Blog… where you get to learn first hand how Teradata customers are innovating with data, through analytic data platforms, applications, and services.  You will hear directly from Teradata Customers in the videos and get great insights on innovations. So, who to choose to highlight first?  That was easy. We sat down with Cardinal Health’s Neraaj Kumar, VP of Information and Integration Architecture, at the Hadoop Summit in San Jose.  It was the perfect place to meet and talk about the benefits to customers when companies like Teradata and Hortonworks partner to work together for innovative solutions.

But first a little more about Cardinal Health.

A Fortune 19 company with 2 primary business segments, pharma and medical, Cardinal Health has been named #1 by Gartner in healthcare supply chain 3 years in a row.  That’s critical in terms of one of the biggest focuses in the healthcare industry right now: REDUCE COSTS.  Cardinal Health has used data to optimize the supply chain ensuring that the complicated array of raw materials that are essential for high quality healthcare arrive in good condition, when the patients need them.  Neraaj gave us a great example of that in terms of the flu epidemic.  As a flu outbreak moves from the western US towards the east Cardinal Health’s Pharma distribution channel picks up the patterns and quickly diverts resources to necessary outlets – anticipating the need and the numbers necessary to efficiently the outbreak.

As one of Teradata’s Unified Data Architecture adopters, Cardinal Health is at the forefront of their industry in innovation.  Looking to a truly open source solution in addition to Teradata – Cardinal Health was so successful in accurately forecasting their purchasing, in Hadoop, they now have plans to place it into production.

“What it does for the business, it gives them the insight and raises the confidence.  I do not want to disrupt     the SLA that we have with our customers or the expectations of our customers. Second, I don’t want to reduce buying if I know for sure that it will impact my customer’s buying behavior or based on what they have bought so far. And I still want to maintain optimum inventory levels so I don’t buy too much. So what it will do  for my business is right size so we can free up our working capital and not buy too much or too less.”  – Neraaj Kumar

Neraaj has advice for his peers who are headed down this road.

  1. Keep it simple so that everyone can understand.
  2. You need a good understanding of what is going into Hadoop  – (metadata is important).
  3. What are the business SLA’s ? Define them first.
  4. Then know what goes into Teradata for processing and what goes into Hadoop for processing.

Some of his biggest lessons learned –

“Go slow when you are innovating.  It is a different talent and make sure you have a good understanding of the value proposition.”


Pharmaceutical distribution employees preparing orders Courtesy Cardinal Health

Recruiting Competition for great talent is fierce right now.  Neraaj made that very clear during our conversation. The more innovative the company the more innovative talent the company will attract.  The skill sets he looks for are different for different platforms and needs (makes sense).   In the Hadoop space, Neraaj looks for network understanding and “people, those who are down into the weeds heavy, understand technology operating system network how it works, [they] are a very different kind of breed altogether.” For Teradata Neraaj Kumar explained,

“You need people who understand the data structure or recall data architects or data modelers who understand the data, how the data should be structured, how the data should be modeled. And then you can write really, really good queries. Extremely smart people who understand Teradata really well, how it functions, and can write great queries to create outputs out of the data that exists on Teradata. And then it won’t be complete if we don’t have a very good UI in front of them, so need very good user interface developers or user interfaces whether it is SAS, or Click Tech or Tableau, so that you can leverage those platforms to effectively look at the data within Teradata and visualize it the way you want to; like a business Business Objects. So those kind of technologies are extremely important for us.”

Integrating data, being an early adopter of a Unified Data Architecture and having the talent to execute – thank you Cardinal Health!

9 thoughts on “Welcome to the Teradata Customer Blog!

  1. avatarBrett

    It’s interesting to see how a company is using and benefitting from the Teradata Unified Data Architecture. The article offers some solid advice from a company that’s already been through the process.

  2. avatarMatt Nylin

    One of the themes that really stuck with me was in regards to recruiting and the need to make sure you have the right skills and the right people. This is a key aspect to how we our building our team. Having a mix of “old-school” data warehouse skills and team members that are hungry to embrace emerging technologies and trends is key to innovation when it comes to your data. And I really liked the comment about the need for a high quality UI. Without a best in breed interface, user adoption of your integrated data warehouse and your unified data architecture will be slow at best.

  3. avatarR "Ray" Wang

    Finally, a good case study for big data and recruiting. Data driven decisions are the key backbone for leaders to consider in the future of work.

  4. avatarRick van der Lans

    It sounds like a simple advice, and in many situations it’s forgotten, but you’re right: “You need a good understanding of what is going into Hadoop – (metadata is important).” Especially that addition “metadata is important” I fully agree with.

  5. avatarWilliam McKnight

    Good point about getting a good understanding of what’s going into Hadoop. Though you don’t define a model to Hadoop, it gives you a bigger understanding of how you will use the data if you do some light modeling of expected data.

  6. avatarShankar

    The good data architecture starts with common logical data model accross enterprise and a metadata repository for business to explore what data exist where and a common enterprise data definition. Most organizations lack this capability that leads to duplication of data and dependency on SMEs thus limiting organizations to gain full potential value from connecting dots.

  7. avatarShaku Atre

    “2.You need a good understanding of what is going into Hadoop – (metadata is important).”

    This is an important advice. But it is very difficult to implement because one doesn’t see immediate results for the resources invested with creating Metadata whether Hadoop or any other technology. Management is always looking for “instant gratification” as far as ROI is concerned. And Metadata’s ROI happens to be a “long term” one.

  8. avatarBarry Devlin

    The complementary roles of the EDW and Hadoop are clear from this case study. Gaining maximum value from Hadoop data depends on having core data in the EDW to which it can be linked. The work is another great example of the “biz-tech ecosystem” as I describe it in “Business unIntelligence”.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *