• Taking on a man’s world

    Ella Mae Ortega, Teradata Philippines’ new country manager. PHOTO BY EDWIN MULI

    Ella Mae Ortega, Teradata Philippines’ new country manager. PHOTO BY EDWIN MULI

    There seemed to be a hushed tone, as one walks to the appointed area for the conference. The tiny place was packed with a normally vibrant group, yet this time the crowd was politely silent. At the center, was a soft-spoken lady in the middle of a presentation of big data, and what it can do for one’s business. Meet Ella Mae Ortega, Teradata Philippines’ new country manager.

    Ortega has been put in charge of strategically augmenting Teradata’s business in the Philippines, as well as overseeing and managing its sales, professional services and customer management strategies. Teradata is publicly listed at the New York Stock Exchange, and is the leading company in analytic data platforms, marketing applications and consulting services. Her appointment comes at a time when most companies in the country are starting to equip themselves with business solutions to keep their networks up-to-date and their data protected. Most likely, the question now shifts to what will you do with all that data and how do you make it work for you. Well, depending on the different businesses’ way of approaching these issues, management can either ask their pool of executives to analyze the data themselves, which could be additional workload on top of what they have to do, or ask Ortega to help. Sometimes, it takes a woman to do several men’s jobs.

    According to the newly minted country manager, the value proposition of Teradata is to bridge the gap between business and information technology (IT). She said that Teradata is the only company that keenly focuses on the area of data warehousing. In a nutshell, she explained what the company does: “Teradata is all about making sure that our customers would get the information that they need to be able to operate better, and to be able to compete in the market.”

    She added that these are information that can span from financial performance, and getting those reports to the executives or managers. It could also be from customers’ profiles and the right information that would reach their marketing teams, so they can study how their customers behave and how they can react to it accordingly.

    More importantly, Ortega said that they can also help businesses understand their customers better, and be proactive with their customers’ needs or even sentiments. Ortega cited as an example businesses that might have social media accounts like a Facebook page and Twitter.

    “You don’t hire someone to be in front of the monitor all day, because I don’t think anyone is capable of doing that,” Ortega said.

    She also stressed the importance of having “meaningful data” that companies can use. Ortega said that there can be key words that a company wants to find amid all the streaming data, such as the telecommunication firms would. An example, she said that she might be a telco that wants to find words or phrases that say “their company has poor service and lousy,” or words that have “I want to terminate my contract with this particular telco,” and Teradata can easily capture those and be able to inform their customer immediately, so they can do something about it.

    In the Philippines, some of Teradata’s customers include Philippine Airlines (PAL), Globe Telecom and Smart Communications. Ortega said that Teradata also wants to focus on the banking and retail, since apart from telcos, these are two sectors that have the highest growth rates and would benefit the most from Teradata’s expertise. “We present the tools needed to present the data they need, and analysis is up to them,” she said, and the significance of having these data on hand couldn’t be emphasized any further than in these sectors.

    Teradata’s strengths
    In her presentation, she pointed out that globally, Teradata’s industry successes have been 90 percent in the top 20 telecommunications companies, 75 percent of the top 20 retail and 70 percent in the top 20 financials. Teradata’s corporate data also showed that other top industry successes have been with travel and transportation and manufacturing.

    She maintains that the Philippines is an important market for Teradata, as the company has a number of significant telecommunications customers and are well-positioned in the banking sectors.

    “With the emergence of big data as the new business imperative and a growing appreciation in the market on how business analytics can hone a company’s competitive edge, my charter is to drive growth in Teradata Philippines by expanding into new sectors, while continuing to help our existing and new customers uncover valuable insights from vast volumes of data,” Ortega said.

    While she is no stranger to the IT industry—having had a total of 17 years of experience in business development and sales management—Ortega said that she is extremely excited about her new position. “One of my goals apart from growing the company and getting more contracts here is to grow our people too. I want the right people to help provide the long term growth and strength of Teradata in the Philippines,” she added.

    Of course, this would mean that she would have to take in longer hours of work to make sure she achieves all her goals, to which she doesn’t mind at all. It’s all about properly juggling the many hats that she wears, including being boss and mentor, while also being a wife and mother as well. “I believe we can always find time for everything if we want to, and it’s all like a balancing act,” she added.

    Ortega also doesn’t believe in stereotypes, although she acknowledges that women sometimes do have to work harder to reach their goals. And in an industry whose top positions are mostly dominated by men, she probably doesn’t know it, but she has made one more meaningful dent that would lead to finally shattering what Hillary Clinton refers to as the dreaded glass ceiling.


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