I can definitely tell it is the Teradata User Group season as my travel ramps up around the country. This past week had me in St. Louis for the second event. If you saw my last blog you know that I am presenting the 15.0 database update and in St. Louis I added a couple other sessions to my to-do list.
One of the nice opportunities was to share the stage with Chris Rosser, a Teradata User at Enterprise Holdings Incorporated. Chris is a long time Teradata user and was able to give the audience some very practical hands on tips for how to diagnose and respond to query optimization opportunities. I closed out our session with a higher level view of enabling the architecture overall.
The other activity that was the highlight of my time there was the customer interaction session held just before lunch. In total, we had about 200 participants at the event and this time had two different tracks. The track I was involved in had at least 100 – 125 people. It was nice to see what a large user community we have in the Central region and think many people made some new connections with like-minded individuals.
During the around the room discussion several good topics were raised. The first was the area of having business flexibility and the challenges of that ability. Customers are trying to provide the solid foundation and use data labs to give users more self-service. The big take away was that users need to be careful what they ask for and be prepared to accept responsibility for their actions. The point was made that the data warehouse is a place to allow for analytics but it is still a production environment that requires management and rigor. The balance needs to be kept in mind as you move forward otherwise you get stagnation or anarchy.
The next big topic was somewhat related, using business and system metrics to determine the ROI of your data warehouse. There is still a low percentage of systems that truly capture ROI from their efforts, but several customers shared how they are starting to make some headway in that direction. One group is looking at the system usage to understand the biggest players and then working to understand what the outcomes of the analytic efforts are to the bottom line. The net of all this was that having IT capture metrics is good but someone in the business or executive offices need to really be driving the ROI train.
The last “round the room” topic was Disaster Recovery and more operationalization of the data warehouse. More customers are having data come in throughout the day, and trying to tie that fresh data to operational analytics. This means the data warehouse is now a critical resource and needs true DR strategies. The take-aways here:
1) If you don’t test it, then you don’t have it
2) In a well-designed DR environment, you can leverage the secondary platform in many ways short of “dual active” by having some data labs or deeper analytics run on production data but not to interfere with the production platform
OK, time to get on the next flight. Remember to check your local area for the upcoming User Group and if you are in Columbus, Minneapolis, or Dallas come by and say hi as I’ll be there.
– Rob Armstrong – Director, Teradata Labs Customer Briefing Team