Teradata has been humming along for so long and so quietly that it has acquired a musty stereotype — propagated even by some people who should know better. They still say it offers only data storage. Never mind its strong, nimble analytics wares.

Now and then Teradata makes noise, albeit quietly. Recently, for example, it made an announcement of the kind that most people ignore.

Its long-running Teradata University for Academics program on the University of Arkansas campus will expand the partnership with the school. Students and faculty from any university worldwide will have access to Teradata’s now two-year-old analytics platform, Vantage. Count these students and faculty as one more group free of the stereotype.

The academic program has run for 20 years now, with about 11,000 annual enrollments. The expansion adds free access to Vantage for anyone in the academic community, on any campus worldwide. Vantage will make students and faculty see Teradata for the storage-and-analytics vendor it is.

Teradata step forward needs to be repeated frequently

What spurred Teradata to expand the program this year? That question has so far gone unanswered by any Teradata spokesperson. However, the answer can be guessed: The expansion seems consistent with the messaging campaign of recent years that started with the appointment in March 2018 of CMO Martyn Etherington.

A sporty new logo and website have provided a new face, along with new slogans and an emphasis on social media. When elements of that campaign have failed, the company seems to make corrections. For example, the pungent new tag line “pervasive analytics” vanished.

Teradata is far from the first victim of a stereotype. Informatica, for example, labored forever to escape the perception it was just an ETL vendor. Also, Qlik now struggles to be seen as more than self-service data visualization and forever in second place to Tableau.

Will the Teradata University announcement help it break out? It’s a step forward, but it will have to keep it up for a long time – and perhaps with more dramatic moves.