Apr 24, 2017 Themes and Technology Change – but PARTNERS Value Remains Constant

Data Conference / Technology / All Posts

Networking, Customer Success Stories, and Takeaways You Can Use

Current PARTNERS Steering Committee President, Troy Crites, will be attending his 10th PARTNERS this year and he is as excited as ever. “This year’s conference is aligned to the same vision as so many of the companies attending.” That, according to Mr. Crites, is “cloud-based, open-source, agile development, doing more with less, reusing your assets, and treating data like an asset. These are going to be key themes this year. That’s why I’m so excited about this year’s conference.” The fact that the conference is aligned to the vision of those attending won’t be a surprise to anyone that knows PARTNERS. Unlike many other conferences, PARTNERS is led by customers, for customers.

Like data and technology, the good news travels fast. “I’m already hearing a lot of chatter about companies looking at the cloud solutions, looking at how they can leverage open source capabilities like Kylo™. They want to learn how to take advantage of open source tools like Hadoop® and integrate some of these new or more advanced methodologies around agile development, DevOps, and work on a platform with those same capabilities,” according to Troy.

PARTNERS Topics Evolve with Technology

In Atlanta in 2016, one of the big announcements was the Teradata Everywhere™ strategy. “I think that’s going to be another huge theme,” said Troy. “That’s very different than where we were 10 years ago. Then it was more focused on how to build a data warehouse in one central platform. We’re past that. Now we are moving towards managing an ecosystem of platforms that are workload-specific and distributed across data centers and cloud platforms. It has just exploded where data goes.”

Another emerging trend in the last several years revolves around the idea of advanced analytics. “Five or six years ago, you would have never heard a talk on a machine learning or path analysis,” Troy said. “You wouldn’t hear how someone had leveraged Aster to do sentiment analysis and then integrated that data with mainstream sales and commercial information. We (the PARTNERS Steering Committee) get so many of those talks now that we have to cut them down and only go with the best of the best.”

Shared Struggles Lead to Mutual Success

While PARTNERS attendees come from across roles and industries, their commonalities are bigger than their differences. “The reality of it is that everybody is kind of going through the same challenges. And when you go to conferences like this, it puts a lot of those issues into context. According to Troy, “Every year we see common themes. This year is heavily focused on advanced analytics, speed to execution, leveraging big data technologies and real-time integration. And of course, the cloud.” Troy believes this year’s conference is going to focus heavily on Teradata Cloud offerings and will get customers thinking about analytic platforms in a much different way. “I see it in daily conversations. When you explain to people that you can add more CPU or disk right now or you can spin up a new server and run advanced analytics for a week just to try something—it is hard to wrap your head around that. We are so used to big budget capital projects and Cloud simply changes that way of thinking.”

Lifelong Career Connections

One constant you will always find at PARTNERS is the unmatched networking. In fact, one survey found that 88 percent thought PARTNERS provided unmatched professional networking for data-driven businesses. “From my first PARTNERS to the last, it always comes down to the networking,” said Troy. “I still talk to some of the same people I met that first year when I went to PARTNERS. When you go and talk to those individuals they are all dealing with the same things you are. What’s great is it gives you opportunities to sit down and say, ‘hey, how did you guys do it?’” And the kicker is, you’re likely to walk away with real answers.

For example, Troy shared a story from his first PARTNERS. At that time, he had an issue managing disk space. “There was a guy there that explained to me how to figure out the cost/benefit of when to use multi-value compression and that you could do it with this algorithm,” he said. “He literally gave us the queries and tools that we could use to go back and compress data and save space. Which we did. We ended up saving close to over 5 TB, a significant amount of space for us.” Troy continues to return the favor. “Each year, I meet with as many teams as I can. The last few years the topics have been mainly on Teradata Analytics for SAP (TAS), agile development, and reference data management. But the door swings both ways. A few years ago, I was talking to fellow attendees about our TAS implementation and last year they were giving me tips on how to make our data loads more real-time. I took this back and we reduced our latency to every 5 minutes. So, this tight community of networking and sharing makes PARTNERS truly unique.”

A Cross-Pollination of Ideas

For Troy, the learning across industries available at PARTNERS has been extremely valuable. “That’s the thing coming from manufacturing. At PARTNERS, I can go to a talk from somebody in retail, oil and gas, or travel, and hear about their challenges. It gets you thinking, oh, we could do that too. That’s applicable here. Then you take a few of those ideas back and give them a try.”

“I had a great conversation six years ago with the VP of enterprise integration at a financial services company. They had created an agile development approach and took it to the extreme. It was really well polished and well done. And I remember bringing that back to my company at the time (a major healthcare company) and saying ‘we have to do this. It’s incredible how much work they get done in short amount of time. The business is engaged and working directly with the IT team.”

The learning at PARTNERS can literally come from anywhere and in the most unexpected ways, as Troy revealed in another story. “The last few years we’ve seen more participation from university students and professors. Last year, there was an incredible session from a college freshman about predicting crime with machine learning on Aster, there was a hackathon sponsored by Northwestern University, and as always, there was a sponsored philanthropy event the day before PARTNERS sponsored by DataKind. All of these sessions drew huge audiences and participation. These are some of my favorite sessions to attend as they help you brainstorm and find new ways of analyzing data.” That’s the never-ending value of PARTNERS.

Make Plans for PARTNERS Now

PARTNERS is fast approaching. Learn more about specific sessions for your role:  

Data Platform Architect
Troy Crites is a Data Platform Architect at Monsanto responsible for defining the strategy and engineering guidelines for all major data store platforms. He has 20 years of experience in business intelligence, data warehousing, database design, and data integration across several industries including manufacturing, consumer product goods, healthcare, and telecommunications. He specializes in designing and implementing large-scale data warehousing solutions and has extensive experience in data architecture, data modeling, database optimization, agile and lean delivery, and master data management.

Learn more about the PARTNERS Steering Committee here.

Did you attend PARTNERS in 2015? See Troy’s 2015 Presentation Using an Iterative Approach Delivers Value Early and Often. Session ID: 3489

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