Teradata building out marketing platform with eCircle acquisition

The move heightens its rivalry with the likes of IBM and Oracle

Teradata is planning to acquire digital marketing software maker eCircle in order to augment the capabilities it gained through its 2010 purchase of marketing management vendor Aprimo, the company announced Wednesday. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed.

The deal will give Teradata additional tools for directing marketing efforts at customers through multiple channels, including social media sites, said Darryl McDonald, executive vice president of applications, business development and chief marketing officer at Teradata.

The company also intends to integrate eCircle with its database appliances and Aster Data analytic database software, McDonald said. However, eCircle will remain available as a standalone offering, Teradata said.

Marketing was a natural foray into business applications for Teradata, given that between 60 percent and 70 percent of its appliance customers have historically used those products to support such efforts, McDonald said.

Oracle and IBM have also begun building out marketing platforms, through acquisitions such as ATG and Unica, respectively.

The overall goal is to provide a set of capabilities that allow companies to deliver marketing messages to consumers, monitor social channels for customer sentiment, and bring related data into a central warehouse for analysis.

There seem to be a couple of possibilities for how Teradata will use eCircle's technology, including as a "defensive portfolio play," Forrester Research analyst Rob Brosnan [cq] said in a blog post Wednesday.

"In this scenario, Teradata brings eCircle into Aprimo, but other than modest integrations, treats it as a SaaS-focused addition to its portfolio of campaign management applications," he wrote.

But Teradata may also incorporate eCircle as part of a "bold platform play," according to Brosnan. "A platform move requires Teradata to blend capabilities from its acquisitions — digital messaging from eCircle, big data analytics from Aster Data, MRM and interaction management from Aprimo — into a single application, rather than as a loosely related set of products."

However, "a platform move also requires perseverance," Brosnan added. "Today, demand for a unified platform comes more, though not exclusively, from the mid-market than from large enterprises. Teradata would likely have to provide financial support for the platform until enough interest grows from large customers."

Teradata may be going in the latter direction, judging by other comments McDonald made.

"In many cases the competition have bought stuff and there's loose integration done by the client," he said. "We're doing tight integrations so the customer doesn't have to do it."

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris's e-mail address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com

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