CEO Field Report from the Customer Advisory Board

Last week we hosted ten of our top customers in Miami for a meeting of our Customer Advisory Board, and I wanted to share here some of the highlights of this meeting for me.  In a lot of ways this CAB meeting reflected how far we’ve come as a company in the 8 years we’ve been in business.  Interspersed with our engineering team sharing our roadmap and getting feedback on some potential future priorities, each customer told their story about why they chose Talend, described their deployment, and gave us their feedback on their experience and their suggestions.  As they told their stories I started to realize how remarkable each of them were, and how as a group they added up to something truly extraordinary.

Our CAB consisted of CTOs and Chief Architects from a number of well-known companies with thought leading implementations.  Half of the group were in the Fortune 50, and all of them described large scale, mission critical deployments with Talend as the primary integration solution.  Among them:

  • One of the largest retailers in the world described their visionary approach to set price and stocking levels for each of their tens of thousands of SKUs uniquely in each store.  That’s a huge math equation that they run in a giant Hadoop cluster.  They feed the results back into Teradata as a tightly curated database that integrates well with their Tableau visualization solution. They’re piloting their future data architecture now, replacing their incumbent data integration solution with Talend end to end. 
  • One of the top financial companies in the world described how they’re using Hadoop for credit and risk scoring in their 1,000+ node Hadoop cluster.  They chose Talend “because it’s the only product that actually worked with Hadoop when we tried it out.  And we tried all of them.”  That comment got some laughs but also a number of rueful nods as others shared their similar experiences as they piloted Hadoop. 
  • One of the largest retailers in Europe talked about his deployment that included three layers: a “classic stack” including Teradata for data warehousing, a “big data stack” for data warehouse offload and large scale problems using Hadoop, and a “real time stack” they’re prototyping using a mix of Cassandra, Storm, and Kafka for a number of things like “next product to buy” suggestions.  Talend was the data integration and ESB solution in each “stack”.

On the second day, one of our CAB members pulled me aside to ask me “Why is it that Gartner doesn’t have you in their top quadrant?  If they could see who you have here and hear the discussion about how you’re being used and the results we’ve all gotten, it’s a literally a no-brainer.”  (He’s from a Fortune 10 manufacturer.)  I laughed and replied “because they’re not here.”  But the topic also came up on a more serious note later that day.  In Gartner’s Magic Quadrants for both Data Integration and Data Quality we’re in the Visionary quadrant, a couple pixels south of the Leader’s quadrant.  As a result, nearly all of the customers there related stories about how some of the big legacy vendors who are in the Leaders quadrant have repeatedly tried to win back their business, resorting to sowing FUD with their colleagues and their CIOs once they realized that they couldn’t unseat us directly.  “Why is <our buyer> making this risky bet on Talend rather than working our safe proven solution?”  The enthusiasm I saw as they told these stories and shared their successes made me proud to lead Talend.  The most important thing that we do is create enthusiastic, successful customers like these – and last week’s meeting showed us how far we’ve come as a company at doing exactly that.  As word gets around and the top analysts hear these stories directly from some of their top clients I’m confident that will take care of itself in time. 

In the meantime we left Miami with a lot of shared excitement and detailed feedback on what we need to do next.  Stay tuned as we make that happen.




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