SAS Moves to Strengthen CRM Suite

The company?s acquisition of Intrinsic benefits both; merges research and development teams

SAS Institute Inc.s acquisition late last month of campaign management software vendor Intrinsic Ltd. was a move to extend SAS CRM software offerings beyond pure analytics.

The addition of Intrinsics namesake technology will enable users of SAS customer relationship management offerings to use SAS analytics to design and manage targeted marketing campaigns and then further refine those campaigns based on an ongoing analysis of their results.

This should allow SAS to directly compete against CRM vendors with similar offerings, including Xchange Inc., Unica Corp. and E.piphany Inc.

SAS officials said the company will be able to offer more advanced analytics and the ability to scale to more massive amounts of data than its competitors.

While SAS, of Cary, N.C., and Intrinsic have partnered on SAS Solution for Enterprise Marketing Automation since last June, the acquisition will bring them even closer together as theyll now merge their research and development groups.

Intrinsic, of Faringdon, England, has grown slowly, with just 30 customers—mostly in Europe—in eight years of operation. But its software compares favorably with that of other players in the campaign management space, according to Shaun Coyne, chief technology officer of GE Capital Real Estate, in Stamford, Conn., a customer of SAS and Intrinsic.

GE Capital chose Intrinsic two years ago after evaluating competing solutions from Prime Response Inc., Xchange and Acxiom Corp., Coyne said.

SAS acquisition of Intrinsic should benefit both companies, he said.

"No. 1, it brings Intrinsic stability," Coyne said. "Its extremely difficult for a small company to grow, especially to grow globally. This gives them worldwide distribution without having to build it out themselves. It helps SAS because it solidifies their CRM solution and gives them operational software to execute strategies on."

"Plus, it helps show that their software is more open and that they dont have to build everything," he added.

SAS officials would not rule out further purchases, and acquisition targets abound. SAS, the worlds largest privately held software company, still plans to take at least part of the company public, possibly later this year.

A company official said SAS will remain focused on analytical CRM but will look to continue to expand its offerings into the operational side of CRM—contact centers, sales and Web applications—through partnering.

Terms of the Intrinsic acquisition were not disclosed.