Teradata Tries to Shake Off Its ‘Just a Storage Vendor’ Stereotype

Ted Cuzzillo,
Principal Analyst – Data Analytics

Summary Bullets:

  • Longtime database vendor and now also analytics vendor Teradata is trying to fight off the perception that it just does data storage.
  • Teradata, in character with its quiet and reliable reputation, struck at the stereotype recently by announcing an expansion of its 20-year-old academic program.

Underneath all the buzz of technology marketing is the steady hum of stuff just working. Part of that hum seems to have always been Teradata, which has been around so long that the name even goes back to when a terabyte of data was impressive.

It’s been humming for so long that it carries a stale stereotype — propagated even by some people who should know better. They still say it offers only data storage. Never mind its strong, nimble analytics wares.

Now and then, Teradata makes noise, albeit quietly. Recently, for example, it made an announcement of the kind that most people ignore.

Its long-running Teradata University for Academics program on the University of Arkansas campus will expand the partnership with the school. Students and faculty from any university worldwide will have access to Teradata’s now two-year-old analytics platform, Vantage. Count those students and faculty as one more group free of the stereotype.

The academic program has run for 20 years now, with about 11,000 annual enrollments. The expansion adds free access to Vantage for anyone in the academic community, on any campus worldwide. Vantage will make students and faculty see Teradata for the storage-and-analytics vendor it is.

What spurred Teradata to expand the program this year? That question has so far gone unanswered by any Teradata spokesperson. However, the answer can be guessed: The expansion seems consistent with the messaging campaign of recent years that started with the appointment in March 2018 of CMO Martyn Etherington. A sporty new logo and website have provided a new face along with new slogans and an emphasis on social media. When elements of that campaign have failed, the company seems to make corrections. For example, the pungent new tag line “pervasive analytics” vanished.

Teradata’s far from the first victim of a stereotype. Informatica, for example, labored forever to escape the perception it was just an ETL vendor. Also, Qlik now struggles to be seen as more than self-service data visualization and forever in second place to Tableau.

Will the Teradata University announcement help it break out? It’s a step, but the company will have to keep it up for a long time – and perhaps with more dramatic moves.

What do you think?

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