28 November 2002 The role of the chief information officer (CIO) in major IT buying decisions is becoming increasingly irrelevant, according to a senior executive with Teradata, the data warehousing division of NCR.
Werner Sulzer, vice president of NCR for Europe, Middle East and Africa, this week moved to position Teradata’s data warehouse as a technology with broad appeal.
“We need to raise the profile of Teradata,” he said in an interview with Infoconomy. “It is not only a product for IT gurus. The people that are calling us are one-third IT experts and two-thirds marketing people, CFOs and CEOs. These [IT buying] decisions are taken by a lot of people — and not always IT people.”
IT directors need to understand that their role has changed, Sulzer argued. “Today, the CIO of a company should make sure that an individual [employee] has all the information that he needs to do his job properly.”
That meant “democratising” the data warehouse by encouraging as many people as possible to use it, not only database administrators. He cited the data warehouse now installed at Wal-Mart, which can be accessed by all the US retailing giant’s suppliers and about 10,000 of its employees, as an example of good practice.
“The worse the economy is the more our customers need solid information. That is important for every level of an organisation,” he said.
His views support Teradata’s new marketing drive, which aims to make “data warehousing for all”.
The company said the new version of the technology, Teradata Warehouse 7.0, which is due for general release in December 2002, “marks the first time in the history of data warehousing that any company can extend decision-making beyond corporate management to all functions across the organisation.”
Teradata, which has about 200 clients in Europe, still does most of its business with major corporations and large government agencies.
Sulzer brushed off suggestions that the high-end market is getting saturated and said there was still considerable scope to raise spending among existing customers. He added that Teradata has some medium-sized companies as clients but generally they are “not on our radar screen.”
Teradata’s focus on data warehousing has enabled it to pull away from its closest rivals, IBM and Oracle, at the high-end of the data warehousing platform market, say analysts, where customers often want to work with many terabytes of data. Internal estimates give the division, which reported revenue of about $1.2 billion last year, a 25% share of the enterprise data warehousing market.