Teradata Universe: “Data Enables The New Economy”

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The future will belong to companies that make data-driven decisions and value the trust of their customers, says Hermann Wimmer from Teradata

Big Data has forever changed the way large businesses make strategic decisions, said Hermann Wimmer, president for EMEA and Asia-Pacific at Teradata, during his keynote at the Teradata Universe conference in Prague.

He added that data could be considered the new currency, but it is only available to companies that make an effort to maintain the trust of their customers.

Data is the new currency

Teradata has been working with business information for more than 35 years – it shipped the world’s first parallel data warehouse in 1984, long before the Big Data hype cycle began. The company offers database software, data warehousing hardware and consultancy services, with an army of 5,000 Big Data experts scattered throughout the world. The conference in Prague is Teradata’s largest ever European event, with 1,100 customers, partners and journalists in attendance.

Hermann SideDuring the opening keynote, Wimmer said that most people don’t realise just how much data they already produce. “How many companies know you are here?” he asked the audience. “Quite a few. Your airline knows it, and if you arrived by car, your car manufacturer knows it. Facebook and LinkedIn know it, and if you took some money out of the ATM, your bank knows it. The hotel knows it.”

He explained that even such basic knowledge can be turned into an advantage – for example, some businesses can offer the customers local deals, while others will know not to disturb them while they are abroad.

According to Wimmer, this year we have seen some of the largest Internet companies spending literally billions in order to harvest even more information. Facebook’s $19 billion purchase of WhatsApp? It was about the data. Google’s $3.2 billion acquisition of Nest was also about the data.

Wimmer believes in “datafication”, as more and more devices and sensors get connected to the Web. “It means everything has a chip in it, and you know the location, the temperature the relationship between people and products. This is the future, and whoever understands it better will make more business.”

He mentioned several companies which are already restructuring their business around data. For example, Ford’s new Fusion Energi hybrid car offers the equivalent of 108 miles per gallon, while also generating 25GB of data per hour. Meanwhile car-sharing services like ZipCar abandon the idea of car ownership altogether, using data to offer cheap transport at a time and place where customers need it the most.

Netflix is transforming its original TV shows into reliable investments – it knows what you want to watch and when, and it is currently trying to answer the question why – hence the triumph of projects like the House Of Cards and Orange Is The New Black.

“Is it easy to become a data-driven company? It’s not – you have to change your thought process, you have to change the way you work, hire new people. But most importantly, you have to build up trust,” said Wimmer.

“If you build up trust, people will give you data. If people give you data, you can make money out of it.”

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