Latin America still far from analyzing "big data," says Teradata

Friday, September 16, 2011

Latin America has still got some way to go to jump onto the next big wave in data analytics, the so-called "big data," Matias Gil, Chile and Peru country manager for data warehousing specialist Teradata (NYSE: TDC), told BNamericas.

This year, Teradata paid US$263mn to acquire Aster Data Systems, through which the company plans to enable firms to analyze vast amounts of unrelated or unstructured data (big data) available in the cloud.

According to Gil, most Chilean and Peruvian companies are still at the reporting and analysis stage, but not in real time.

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"There's still a long way to go here in terms of where Teradata is going.... Today there are few companies with a single corporate data warehouse. But I think companies are realizing that to do more, they have to have more information," Gil said.

Stephen Brobst, CTO at Teradata, told BNamericas that the dot-com players like EBay, Netflix, Travelocity and Amazon have been the early adopters in terms of analyzing big data. These companies have been able to mine the feedback they get on social networks to find out more about their customers.

Brobst said that the three industries that social network users comment on - or complain about - most are telecoms operators, airlines and banks.

Telecoms operators have understood early that just providing a pipe is not enough and that they need to delve deeper into data, beyond just call records, to provide value-added services. Telcos, like banks, are at a distinct advantage given that they have access to a lot of customer data.

"Telcos know your location so they can do location-based services. They can do special analysis based not just on call detail records but the lower level detail of how someone is moving in the network," Brobst said.

Teradata's traditional focus is on industries that generate a lot of data, such as financial services, telecommunications, retail and transport.

But according to Brobst, Teradata is starting to see non-traditional industries like oil and gas and mining taking more of an interest in the ability to correlate different types of data.

"They have sensors that are essentially monitoring the equipment out in the field and doing all kinds of measurements, trying to figure out where they should drill the next hole," Brobst said.

According to Gil, in Peru and Chile the retail, banking and telecoms sectors are the biggest, while financial services and especially mining are growing.

Teradata offers to integrate disperse data marts into a single platform in a cloud environment where clients can get much better utilization of assets. According to Brobst, consolidation onto a single platform allows companies to increase the use of their assets anywhere from 20-90% and to reduce the number of servers required by a factor of 4-5.