File under non-fiction

Friday August 10th, 2012

I recently met with the CIO of a major multinational utility. Because our relationship with this business is already a good one, the meeting opened with some banter.  “Don’t tell me”, he said “you’re going to say that all your customers are happy and that your projects always deliver?”*

It was a great way to start the meeting – because it led into one of the first points I always make.  Every single Utility customer I name in any presentation, any time, anywhere, has these two key characteristics:

  1. They’re a real, fully paid-up customer of Teradata
  2. They’ve already stood up in a public forum and told people about the value they get from Teradata

Every one of them. Pretty cool, huh?  Now, Point 1 might sound fairly obvious.  And to us, it is.  But don’t be fooled that every vendor’s data warehousing & analytics references are the same.  Because they’re not.  Remember that this is a new area for most Utilities (unless you believe SAP BW is a data warehouse, in which case we need to have a different conversation some time…).  So next time a major IT vendor in blue or red or yellow comes to talk to you about data warehousing and analytics and shows you a slide with hundreds of existing Utility customers, ask them this:  How many are relevant to the meeting you’re actually having today?  How many of those references in fact have their ERP system; or their transactional databases; or a free trial copy of their new thing, destined to change the world forever?  Because while these references might mean that yes, they’ve got some utilities experience, does it mean they’ll be any good implementing a data warehouse?  Something they have no way to show previous expertise in?  Taking the point a little further, would you let them commission a substation, say?
All of which takes me back to Point 1.  When you hear me talk about a Teradata Utilities customer, it’s the real thing.  A real customer.  Every time.  No ‘triallists’; none who once participated in a Proof of Concept; none who bought something else from us.  Ever.  Sure, if it’s relevant, I might show you some anonymous results from a PoC or some data lab tests at some point in our discussions.  But we’ll make it very clear that’s what we’re doing and we won’t mix it up with customer references.  Ever.

Coming on to the second point – this is one of the main reasons working for Teradata is such a joy.  Our customers talk about us (in good ways)!  Literally every named Utilities customer Teradata has, has spoken publicly about the value of their Teradata data warehouse.  (We have a few more that are not ready to go public yet, while we’re still in implementation phases – so you know what, we don’t name them.  That’s for another day.)  The last one to speak was US Utility SCANA, who talked about the business value and costs savings derived from data.  You can watch and listen to their webcast here.  Next, unless someone gets in quicker, will be Centrica at the Teradata PARTNERS Conference and EXPO in October.  Centrica are an integrated energy company operating mainly in the UK and North America.  They’ve already spoken publicly about their data warehouse architecture and in October will talk about the improvements they have seen since deploying Teradata. There’s nothing better than customer endorsement, is there?

And just one final thing on the CIO’s question above:  Read about a recent independent study here.  The quote you’re looking for: “Teradata’s customers were the happiest we surveyed”.  Oh yes.

David Socha

*The CIO, clearly messing with us to see how we handled it, had a second question.  He asked about a full-page advert in the WSJ that Oracle ran over a year ago about how they replaced Teradata at a Japanese telco.  We love it when people ask about that.  Take a look at my colleague Martin Willcox’s blog here to see why.

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David Socha

Utilities Practice Leader at Teradata
David started his career as a hands-on electrical distribution networks engineer, helping to keep the lights on in Central Scotland. In the mid-1990s, he moved through roles in Scottish Power's electricity retail deregulation programme and into the second stage of his career as an IT Strategist and Manager. From a successful time in such roles, David then spent 4 years at a major international systems integrator and consultancy before joining Teradata around 6 years ago. David initially led Teradata’s Utilities practice in Europe, Middle East & Africa but now also has responsibility for Asia Pacific & Japan. He works with local and account-focused teams to bring Teradata's unrivalled data and analytics capabilities and knowledge to the International Utilities sector. David lives in Singapore, but has lived most of his life in Edinburgh, Scotland (at least at the weekends). He has a B.Eng from Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh and an MSc from the Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen. He remains an engineer at heart. Don't get him talking about whisky unless you have plenty of time on your hands.
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About David Socha

David started his career as a hands-on electrical distribution networks engineer, helping to keep the lights on in Central Scotland. In the mid-1990s, he moved through roles in Scottish Power's electricity retail deregulation programme and into the second stage of his career as an IT Strategist and Manager. From a successful time in such roles, David then spent 4 years at a major international systems integrator and consultancy before joining Teradata around 6 years ago. David initially led Teradata’s Utilities practice in Europe, Middle East & Africa but now also has responsibility for Asia Pacific & Japan. He works with local and account-focused teams to bring Teradata's unrivalled data and analytics capabilities and knowledge to the International Utilities sector. David lives in Singapore, but has lived most of his life in Edinburgh, Scotland (at least at the weekends). He has a B.Eng from Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh and an MSc from the Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen. He remains an engineer at heart. Don't get him talking about whisky unless you have plenty of time on your hands.

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