Siebel and Teradata Form Analytics Alliance

Companies say users of Siebel’s analytical applications can more efficiently get at the massive amounts of data stored in a Teradata warehouse

Last week, CRM power Siebel Systems Inc. announced a partnership with high-end data warehousing specialist Teradata to promote a combined solution based on Siebel’s Enterprise Analytic platform and Teradata’s vaunted data warehousing and database technology.

Officials position the new partnership as a win-win for customers, arguing that users of Siebel’s analytical applications will be able to more efficiently get at the massive amounts of data that can be stored in Teradata Warehouse. “We’ve always had interoperability with Teradata. We’ve been working very closely with Teradata even before the announcement, but this [partnership] gives [customers] native access to that data [stored in Teradata],” explains Larry Barbetta, group vice president and general manager for Siebel Analytics.

To that end, Barbetta says that Siebel’s Enterprise Analytics Platform has been optimized for high-performance native interaction with the Teradata Warehouse, such that it’s even able to generate SQL specific to Teradata and make use of the specialized analytic functionality offered by the underlying Teradata database. “It has the ability to work with the more normalized types of data schemas and structures that Teradata prefers,” Barbetta explains. “Many business intelligence tools require that data be in a star schema and require considerable aggregates to work well. In the Teradata environment, they don’t necessarily like that schema.”

General availability for integration between the two products is slated for Q3 of 2004. Also by Q3 of this year, Siebel and Teradata plan to release an integration methodology to reconcile Teradata's logical data models and Siebel's Analytic Application data models and help minimize data redundancy and accelerate time-to-implementation for joint customers. “We’ve got their data model and crew working with our data model and crew trying to rationalize it all and build in the proper linkages,” says Barbetta. “There is nothing inherently hard about this. It takes work, [and] we want to customer vet it first.”

So what brought two relatively dissimilar vendors like Siebel and Teradata together in the first place? According to Michael DeBrosse, vice-president of solutions marketing with Teradata, the partnership between the two companies was fomented largely by demand from customers.

“We have a number of customers who have both the Siebel products today and are running them against Teradata, and some new customers who wanted to push it a little further was really the impetus for us putting the strategic partnership together,” he comments.

The alliance includes a joint-marketing component, says DeBrosse, which includes cross training for sales representatives from both companies. Teradata’s well-respected professional services team will also be trained on Siebel’s analytics, he confirms. “We have one of the leading professional services organizations in the [data] warehousing space, so we see there an opportunity to be able to provide customers with a more integrated approach,” he says.

While the partnership should benefit both Siebel and Teradata, Mike Schiff, a senior analyst with consultancy Current Analysis Inc., notes that in the CRM space (and possibly elsewhere), they’re both nominal competitors. “Although the partnership seems to focus on using the Teradata warehouse as a platform for Siebel’s Analytics, Teradata has its own suite of focused analytic applications and is thus a Siebel competitor,” he points out, speculating that “Teradata’s strategic alliance with Siebel may come at the expense of its own analytic application capabilities.”

Officials from both companies are adamant that this isn’t a concern, however. Siebel’s Barbetta, for example, maintains that his company doesn’t actually compete against Teradata except in a few very specific markets. “They clearly have a strong position in the high-end data warehousing market. They have lots of premier accounts. Where we probably have the most shared [accounts] is in markets like financial services and communications. These are probably the most where we have overlap,” he notes.

Teradata’s DeBrosse, for his part, asserts that the partners complement more than compete against one another.

“We really don’t see a tremendous amount of overlap. We see it as very complementary. If you look at their analytics, they are very broad customer analytics. We have analytics in a few selected areas—but typically not of the broad nature of Siebel’s analytics—so we find them kind of adding to our own portfolio of partners,” he argues, conceding that “There may be a few areas of overlap, which were there before, but the areas of overlap are very minor, so we don’t think there will be much conflict between the two sales forces.”

The alliance with Siebel is Teradata’s second such accord this year, following on the heels of a similar partnership with SAP AG, announced in February. Teradata’s DeBrosse positions his company’s recent rapport with big-time applications vendors such as SAP and Siebel as a “validation” of its high-end data warehousing expertise. “The fact that you’re seeing these [partnerships] now is also a good validation of the presence of Teradata and the momentum that we have in the marketplace. Both of those are top-tier application providers, and you’re seeing the value that Teradata can bring into the enterprise,” he says.

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About the Author

Stephen Swoyer is a Nashville, TN-based freelance journalist who writes about technology.