SAS Analyzes Telecos and Banks

Developer SAS Institute announced new business intelligence solutions for vertical industries, as well as an extension to its partnership with CSC.

SAS Institute Inc. continued its increasing focus on packaged applications, announcing Thursday at its European User Group International conference in Paris new application packages for the telecommunications and banking industries.

The new applications are the first two of a series of applications SAS is releasing for vertical industries, known as SAS Industry Intelligence Solutions. These application sets include at their core a common data model that defines business entities and processes for the given industry. Application components are then integrated around that data model which ensures the sharing of information across the enterprise, said officials of the Cary, N.C., company.

Applications available as part of these solutions include credit scoring, customer retention and segmentation, cross-and up-selling and marketing automation, as well as strategic performance management.

Rob Epstein, president of On-Site Database Marketing Consultants Inc., in Atlanta, whos currently working on a database-marketing project at Cingular Wireless, uses SAS technology for data mining and OLAP. He said the Industry Intelligence Solution for Telecommunications contains applications hed be interested in for Cingular, particularly customer segmentation and retention and cross-selling and up-selling, so Cingular can better manage relationships with its 23 million customers.

"Were getting into the world of one-to-one marketing," said Epstein. "Getting the right message to the right customer at the right time."

Epstein said Cingular would also be interested in the strategic performance management application to help better align and optimize use of its IT resources as the company, formed from a joint venture between Bell South Corp. and SBC Corp., seeks to consolidate various systems and phases out older technology.

While there is no shortage of applications on the market that could handle either of those tasks, Epstein said getting the same applications in one package from one vendor is compelling.

"We have a strong interest in reducing the number of vendors we deal with. So an integrated suite of products would make that much easier," he said. "SAS support and service is excellent. Its hard to find another vendor that offers that kind of quality."

SAS plans to offer more Industry Intelligence Solutions for other verticals. The next one will be for the insurance industry and will likely be available in September, SAS officials said.

SAS will turn to Computer Sciences Corp. to help deliver these and other solutions to customers. The companies announced Thursday a new global strategic alliance to deliver analytical CRM, strategic performance management and data warehousing applications to customers. The agreement extends the existing relationship between the two companies, which entailed CSC managing the IT operations of some SAS customers.

CSC consultants in North America and Europe have been trained on the latest SAS technology to help customers implement BI solutions. CSC also is working with SAS to include SAS strategic performance management solution as part of its balanced scorecard offering, officials said.

In other news at the conference Thursday, SAS announced the integration of the activity-based costing technology it acquired when it bought ABC Technologies in March into all of its customer intelligence applications. The company also announced that Version 9 of its business intelligence software, expected later this summer, will be available on servers running on Intel Corp.s forthcoming Itanium 2 processor.