Trusted Advisors in the Era of Open Choice

By | January 14, 2015

I’ve been talking a lot lately about how analytics customers have an unprecedented opportunity to call the shots and define which tools make sense for leveraging data in the best possible way for their businesses. If you can understand the choices in front of you these days and figure out how all the different pieces need to interact, that’s pretty much your road map for creating value from data.


But, the flip side of open choice is the confusion that can easily result from so many options.  Every new tool brings claims, reviews and hype that you have to sift through to get to the truth about whether and how you might actually use it for your own architecture.  As a result, your big data road map can get littered with road blocks and unanswered questions that stall innovation. What’s the best way to leverage Hadoop? How can I ensure flexibility to adapt to new data types over time?  Is this open source technology mature enough for my enterprise? Your business plan needs clarity, and confusion is the enemy of clarity.

Given this landscape , I think it’s worth remembering the “Trusted Advisor” concept that’s so important here at Teradata and derived from the 2001 book of the same name by David H. Maister, Charles H Green and Robert M. Galford.  These veteran professional services and consulting experts wrote The Trusted Advisor to explain how clients need to trust not just what you sell, but the advice and guidance you give about your products and even broader business issues that involve your expertise.

I’ve made the case before about how Teradata embraces and earns this Trusted Advisor role on behalf of our clients. It’s like a North Star among our more than 4,000 professional consultants as they draw on expertise from more than 1,200 implementations over 25 years.  We mentor clients throughout the engagement on any number of issues — from architecting, building and implementing, to analyzing, tuning and managing your analytics environment.  And we back up our commitment to a best-of-breed ecosystem by working closely with additional third parties and vendors in whatever way works best for the customer’s needs.

All of this was true in June 2013 when I first wrote a blog post about the Trusted Advisor. But since then I think our credibility has grown even more with every acquisition and partnership we pursue. In recent months, we acquired Hadapt, the company specializing in natively integrating SQL with Apache Hadoop; we also acquired Revelytix, known for its deep history in metadata management via its Loom open platform for discovering, profiling, preparing and tracking data lineage in Hadoop. And, our acquisition of Think Big Analytics, a leading consulting and solutions company focused exclusively on reaping value from big data, instantly takes our advisory capabilities to the next level.

I think these acquisitions and related moves – like our collaboration with NOSQL database and application development leader MongoDB, and our partnership with Revolution Analytics and the release of Teradata Aster-R to make open source R language more enterprise ready  –  burnish our credentials as a Trusted Advisor.  It’s a lot easier for customers to trust advice when they’re getting it from a company like Teradata that’s a proven collaborator across the industry and with a nerve center – in the form of our recently released Teradata QueryGrid – to seamlessly orchestrate queries both within and beyond our own Unified Data Architecture.

As a Trusted Advisor, we don’t tell customers what to do; we help them discover their own analytics path by listening and adapting to their business needs. We roll up our sleeves alongside our customers and go to battle with them in the quest to turn the tsunami of big data into business value and insights – this approach is ingrained in our culture and DNA at Teradata. We are right there on the frontlines with our customers, arming them with the best technology tools and the smartest consulting partners.

I’ve always been proud of our role as a Trusted Advisor, particularly since my early years at Teradata were spent as a consultant.  But, lately I think our leadership on this has evolved even further in two significant ways:  Our capabilities have grown; and in this era of open choice, our broad expertise is all the more rare as customers look for a partner with the right answers and the experience to offer clarity.

Scott Gnau

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