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December 1, 1997updated 03 Sep 2016 7:20pm


By CBR Staff Writer

Since system vendor NCR slipped the shackles of its disastrous six-year relationship with AT&T – the result of a hostile take-over by the telecoms giant – in December last year, the company has been fixed on an ambitious plan to refashion itself as the number one vendor of data warehousing systems. This courageous strategy appears to have paid off – in 1996, NCR reported an overall net loss of $109m, a considerable improvement on net losses of $2.28bn in 1995, and revenue for the year was $6.96bn, a decline of 15% from the $8.16bn reported in 1995, but an improvement in pro-forma terms, given the demise of the company’s PC business. According to chief executive Lars Nyberg, NCR is now focused on carving out a position for itself as the leading provider of data warehousing technology – a strategy which depends primarily on its Teradata data warehousing product acquired for NCR by parent company AT&T in 1991. Teradata now boasts in excess of 500 installations globally, and this year, NCR’s main aim has been to make the product more open. The key initiative is porting Teradata to the Windows NT environment, a process which should be complete by mid-1998. In addition, development work is underway on a version of Teradata to run on Sun Microsystems’ Unix operating system, Solaris. NCR is also planning to offer Teradata on a range of other platforms, although Nyberg says no announcement is imminent.

Overcrowded market

The plan now, says Nyberg, is to use Teradata as a technology turnkey, acting as a base for a full range of integrated data warehousing applications. The company is therefore building up its portfolio of software offerings. Despite announcing plans to pull out of the overcrowded data mining tools market in June, NCR has continued to partner with tools specialists such as Cognos, Angoss and SAS Institute. In fact, NCR announced it was to become the first, and only, reseller of SAS Institute’s data mining tools. Despite the importance of the Teradata product, NCR is not restricting itself simply to data warehousing. For example, in January the company announced a partnership with Lucent Technologies to deliver computer telephony integration (CTI) products for call centers, and in November, it will launch a new product, SmartEC Billing Plus, which will enable telecoms companies to offer their customers web-based presentation of telephone bills. Not only will customers be able to view and pay their bill over the internet, they will also be able to analyze their own calling history, in order to detect excessive usage or forecast future expenditure. We’ve matured a lot since last year, says Bill Eisenman, the company’s senior vice-president. Our focus on warehousing, and by association, the high availability of e-commerce space which feeds the warehouse, is really defining NCR now.

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