This may be a German perspective but in my view, after years of decline, the CeBIT trade fair has regained some of its former relevance. Gone are the days when it was the uncontested stage that made you fly in your CEO and present the company to the attentive public. But also gone are the days when business intelligence was little more than a sideshow during this huge event. In previous years, neither the presentation nor the number of exhibitors "bore any relation to the importance and market growth of business intelligence", as analyst Carsten Bange correctly noted in the German edition of Beyenetwork. This year we will take advantage of the enhanced opportunities and present ourselves at the CeBIT (more specifically, at the BARC BI Forum) for the first time in years. Because the time is right. Just browse the tradeshow's agenda to see how many of the highlighted issues are essentially driven by data analysis: traffic management, smart energy, smart healthcare etc. Which leads me to a bold statement that I wish to make.
Few planned events ever mark a real turning point in life. Many significant developments are far more long-term, and associating them with a certain point-of-time often says more about yourself and your social environment than about the actual trend. In retrospective, though, sometimes it seems that it was a specific year that brought about certain changes. Prior to 2007, for example, renewable energies were an issue promoted by environmentalists who somehow seemed to be calling for some kind of new prohibition (of carbon emissions, in this case). From 2007 on, renewable energies became high-tech, quickly adopted by enterprises and entrepreneurs who were not only turning green energy into a serious business but who also had the ambition to deliver effective solutions.
I am tempted to say that we may be in the midst of another singular moment like this. In fact, we may be part of that "midst". When we look back at the end of the decade, maybe we will say: data analysis went mainstream around 2012. Not all that long ago, business intelligence was left to a handful of experts struggling to explain the benefits of their work to top management. Departments hoarded their data vaults before they learned to share and utilize information within the enterprise. Even then, data analysis was a B2B business, while everybody else never cared about it, or even was suspicious about it. And the latter is changing rapidly now. It was all on this blog last year: NGOs are beginning to learn what data can do for them, journalists are starting to look for the story in the data (not for the data in the story), governments are embracing open data as a means to stimulate local entrepreneurship and consumers … well, they are actively hunting for the latest app because they are practical. Of course, we have preached the democratization of data for a long time - that's why I am saying that we are in the midst of this. It's thrilling all the more.
As for the retrospectives on 2011, let's turn to some hard facts, which have been released by now. We saw an extremely strong year with revenue growth of 22 percent (profitable revenue, I have to stress) – very substantial growth both in EMEA and the world. And that's not just the figures. At the Teradata Universe in Barcelona, we presented the first truly massive-parallel platform that incorporates SSD technology, realizing a superior concept that enables companies to make huge amounts of data available for analysis in a cost-effective way. Our takeover of Aprimo has opened up new opportunities in the applications market, while Teradata Aster has given us a quick start in the big data analytics field. And, if you allow me to spout one more number, we now have 1,400 customers after achieving a record number of new accounts in 2011 – another indicator of impressive growth.
Our development does not stop there. Let me point you to the upcoming Teradata Universe Conference in Dublin for more great news and analytical prowess. Data analysis has truly captivated the mainstream, and we are right in the middle of it.