Michael Koehler, Teradata president CEO, talked about their progress since the spinoff from NCR, giving Teradata speed and better focus. He cited increased speed of product releases, broadening the platform, control over R&D direction and investment.
The split from NCR has been good, with big change over past two years in their positioning. They used to be the choice for the high-end in size and scalability. Now they have products that cover the breadth of the platform market: smaller installations, marts, mid-market appliances, and enterprise data warehouses. I still question how competitive the small mart / appliance gear is relative to other vendors, but they do seem to be in the same price range. Price/performance is the area I don't have enough data on and need to look into further.
Stephen Brobst, Teradata CTO, talked about some futures he thought would drive data volumes and data usage, like sensor technology, pervasive BI, in-database computing, and non-traditional data types in the DW.
Dan Ariely, professor of behavioral economics at the Sloan school, talked about how irrational people are, how that affects decision making, and how situational our moral behavior is by discussing cognitive psychology studies on cheating. His core message is that we like to believe we are in control of our own decision making, but we are heavily influenced by context and environment and totally unaware of this. We are not rational, we are rationalizing.
Having worked in cognitive science research, I was familiar with some of the examples he used. A good one showing how cogsci can be applied to business involved studies of how we decide when presented with choices - people were presented with six or 24 different jams in a grocery store. People presented with six choices often bought. Those with 24 never did. Too many choices and people don't buy because it's mentally easier to not buy - but we aren't aware that this is the case. He didn't mention a related study that packaged selections of choices into a single assortment. Doing this gets people to buy the package where they would normally not buy one or more single items (think Neapolitan ice cream, where one flavor is always left over).
Core advice on getting people to decide the way you want them to: throw lots of options at them, emphasize the importance of the decision, and make the default option the one you want them to choose.I'm at the Teradata Partners conference this week. I consider it to be the best event in the BI market if you want to see a diversity of company presentations, particularly on more advanced topics. The official kickoff went through some interesting and entertaining moments and closed with a terrific keynote... Here's my quick takes on each of the talks: