Today Alation and Teradata announced a strategic partnership.
There are multiple components to this partnership. Teradata will sell Alation worldwide. Both companies will co-invest in R&D and Marketing. Alation will be the primary solution for Teradata customers seeking a product to help increase the productivity of their data consumers as well as the effectiveness of their data stewards.
The preceding paragraph outlines the what, but not the why. Strong relationships — at work and at home — require shared culture, complementary capabilities, and good people — something to justify sticking out the tough times when things go poorly. I’m hopeful that this partnership will be successful because it contains all the ingredients of a strong, long-term relationship.
How can an emerging software company based in Silicon Valley share culture with a decades-old public company based in Ohio? I’m not here to tell you that the companies are exactly the same, but we do hold some core common values, and values are the building blocks of culture. First, both companies share an unrelenting desire to make their customers successful. Teradata has the kind of relationships with it’s customers that Alation dreams of having — decades long, deep, and based on mutual success. Second, both companies invest in and differentiate on the strength of their technology. We pride ourselves on building the fastest, most robust, most highly featured tech in our domain; so does Teradata. Finally, both companies pride themselves on straight-dealing. We might not always be the best solution for the job — when we’re not, we try to be upfront with the customer and tell them so.
Alation is clear that it’s not a database company, nor do we provide data federation capabilities. We don’t build products that optimize a company’s ability to store, process, compute or even visualize data. Alation enhances a human’s ability to process data. Data is a different form of information, one that’s full of complexity, hidden rules and nuance. We’re interested in making it easier for humans to gain a full understanding of data and all of its nuances. Neither company falls for the “stack fallacy.” Teradata and Alation are clear that building an amazing database and delivering an optimized Unified Data Architecture, in the case of Teradata, or developing a collaborative data catalog, in the case of Alation, is hard work.
Oliver Ratzesberger, now president of Teradata Labs, started conversations with Alation over 8 months ago after learning about our work at eBay, where he used to run the data organization. Though, in some cases, Alation cannibalized some of what Oliver had built at eBay, he immediately understood and embraced Alation. And as an early customer, the incredible data team at eBay pushed Alation to deliver even more at an incredible scale. Since then, Alation and Teradata have gotten to know each other better and the result is the construction of this partnership — a framework for how both companies will work together.
To be clear, this partnership is a major company milestone for Alation, but it is not the end of our journey together. Neither company is popping the champagne today. The goal, for both companies, is to build and deliver solutions to our customers that make their business better. We’ll celebrate when the next joint customer is successful and then we’ll get back to work to make the next one successful after that.