Data warehousing practitioners had the opportunity to learn more about how the technology can give organisations a greater competitive edge from two of the world’s foremost experts in the field at the Teradata Data Warehouse Summit, which was hosted by Bytes Systems Integration in Johannesburg on 3 February.
Dr Stephen Brobst, chief technology officer for Teradata Corporation, spoke on “Extreme Data Warehousing: Business Applications and Issues” and “The SAS/Teradata Relationship and In-Database Capabilities”. Looking ahead, he predicted that within the next two years, the appetite for data will outpace Moore’s Law. Data is growing faster than memory is growing cheaper, he said, stressing that the shift in emphasis from customer value to customer experience will make data governance even more critical than it already is. “Trends in data acquisition have also led to a new generation of information management,” he said. “Data is being used for up-to-the-minute strategic and operational decision making.”
He noted that with pervasive BI, the vertically integrated organisation is being replaced by the virtual organisation, with data sharing occurring across the value chain and customers being integrated into it.
“The value of data comes from event detection and response creation, not from the reporting itself. In addition, with data warehousing going worldwide, one single version of the truth will be available on a global scale.” Referring to “extreme data warehousing”, he noted that extreme performance is being measured in milliseconds; extreme scalability is enabling millions of people to access petabytes of data; and extreme availability is eliminating planned and unplanned downtime.
“In the healthcare sector, for example, this means an integrated medical history for each patient, comprising both structured and unstructured data, facilitating effective healthcare based on complete information, as well as global accessibility. Data ownership, however, remains a critical question and is even more sensitive than in the financial services sector.”
Dr Dave Schrader, Teradata’s director of strategy and marketing: Active Enterprise Intelligence, spoke on “Business intelligence – the next generation”. He focused on pervasive BI, which helps move the use of the database from back-office strategic intelligence to “operational intelligence”, to improve the IQ of frontline people and systems, like websites and contact centres, as they connect to data and insights from the database.
“Mobile BI is one of the current top trends, with mobile Web definitely being the way to go. We are also looking at getting mobile dashboards onto the iPad,” he said.
Schrader noted that geospatial information is everywhere. “It’s the hottest area within the database at the moment, following an explosion of geographic location data. 80% of corporate databases now have a spatial component.”
In his second presentation, “Business Scenario Investigations”, he engaged the audience in solving data warehousing problems.
“Arming the audience with information and specifically case studies of successful implementations helps increase their ability to be change agents within their company for better, faster data-based decisioning.”
Also on the agenda was a presentation by SAA MIS and EDW manager Neelam Rama on the airline’s migration to Teradata which was carried out by Bytes Systems Integration and is being used to record all passenger information, and includes the carrier’s loyalty programme.
Pat Holgate, solutions architect at Bytes Systems Integration, said the company’s alignment with Teradata and its more than 20 years’ experience as the sole distributor of Teradata in South Africa has enabled Bytes to bring international data warehouse best practices to the country. “We have recruited top consultants in South Africa and are developing a reputation for being trusted advisors when it comes to enterprise intelligence.”
Referring to new services on offer, Holgate said Bytes Systems Integration had introduced data warehouse maturity assessments, BI and analytical services, enterprise data management services, managed services, migration services, and enterprise intelligence services.