Teradata’s Master Data Push

Teradata unveiled two new deliverables that are but the first in its burgeoning MDM portfolio.

NCR Corp. subsidiary Teradata is no stranger to the importance of Master Data Management (MDM). When MDM first burst on the scene as a mainstream buzzword early last year, Teradata was already in the mix, allying with supply chain management specialist i2 Technologies to promote a combined MDM offering. That partnership might have marked Teradata’s first explicit foray into branded MDM, but the MDM software family the NCR subsidiary unveiled earlier this month was easily its most significant foray into MDM to date.

For the record, Teradata announced the immediate availability of two new MDM applications, Teradata MDM and Teradata Product Information Management (PIM). What’s more, Teradata officials promised, the company is prepping additional MDM applications—including deliverables optimized for customer data integration (CDI) and risk management—which will be available at a later date.

For a vendor with Teradata’s track record in the high-end data warehousing segment, a viable—if not best in class—MDM is a must, says James Kobielus, a principal analyst for data management with consultancy Current Analysis Inc. That’s partially because many of Teradata’s data warehousing vendors have articulated MDM strategies of their own, usually encompassing corporate performance management (CPM), ETL, data mining, data quality, data modeling, and other capabilities. That’s why it’s reassuring to see Teradata devote significant time and resources to its burgeoning MDM strategy, Kobielus says.

“Clearly, Teradata intends to provide a full set of products addressing diverse enterprise MDM domains,” he points out.

Kobielus highlights several aspects of Teradata’s announcement—starting first and foremost with its core MDM technology, which, not surprisingly, has been licensed from i2. Most importantly, he argues, Teradata’s initial MDM deliverables—which, true to their billing, are designed to help customers ensure the consistency, completeness, and accuracy of master reference data stored in Teradata’s redoubtable data warehouse systems—are just the first in a bona-fide quiver of targeted MDM offerings, including offerings for CDI and risk management. “Teradata also announced plans to link these new MDM products with other Teradata software products, though it has not presented a specific product enhancement roadmap in that regard,” Kobielus points out.

The announcement strengthens Teradata’s already compelling business intelligence (BI) and data warehousing proposition, Kobielus argues. “Now, by launching its own line of MDM software solutions that are optimized to work with its [data warehousing] platform, Teradata can position itself as a one-stop source of hardware, software, support, and consulting for enterprise MDM requirements,” he points out. “Its new MDM software products are available now, thereby enabling its many DW customers to begin the necessary technical evaluations. [Teradata also] plans to add new MDM products that cover a broad range of reference data domain areas, addressing the many enterprise usage scenarios for MDM, and possibly stoking continued customer, sales, revenue, and profitability growth at Teradata.”

Teradata’s MDM push isn’t all upside, however. For one thing, Kobielus notes, it runs the risk of coming into conflict with its existing partners, some of which also have aspirations in the MDM space. “In addition,” he points out, Teradata’s “MDM product architecture is still focused on centralized, physical [data warehouses], and it lacks support for multi-master MDM approaches, such as those enabled by EII technologies.” And although Teradata aims to get all of its ducks in a row, MDM-wise, it’s still missing a few important pieces. “[I]t still lacks some functionality necessary for a comprehensive MDM suite, especially BI tools, standalone data cleansing tools, and collaborative tools for role-based distributed data stewardship,” he argues.

And then there’s Teradata’s inescapable bête noire—its premium pricing: “[I]ts combined [data warehouse and] MDM software offering is pricey, keeping Teradata in the high-end of the market and putting it outside the affordability range of SMBs and many subject-specific departmental data marts.”

About the Author

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

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