SAS, IBM Lead in Predictive Analytics: Study

SAS and IBM are a step above the rest in the predictive analytics space, according to Forrester Research.

SAS, IBM and SAP are clear leaders in the big data analytics space, specifically predictive analytics, according to a recent report from Forrester Research.

Forrester's evaluation of general-purpose big data predictive analytics solutions reveals these three leaders, along with five strong performers and two contenders. The Leaders in this Forrester Wave offer a rich set of algorithms to analyze data, architectures that can handle big data, and tools for data analysts that span the full predictive analytics life cycle. SAS and IBM stand out above the others in the study, but each of the 10 vendors evaluated provide unique points of differentiation that many customers will find attractive, Forrester said.

The report says that among the 10 vendors evaluated, SAS is "an analytics powerhouse" and, along with IBM, is an "unshakable leader" in the analysis of big data predictive analytics solutions. The ratings were based on three categories, and SAS scored highest among all vendors in each: current offerings, strategy and market presence.

"Since 1976, SAS has provided enterprises with the industry's most powerful analytics, which continue to support the world's largest data sets, now called big data," Jim Davis, SAS senior vice president and chief marketing officer, said in a statement. "With innovative new products such as SAS High-Performance Analytics Server, SAS Visual Analytics and SAS DataFlux Event Stream Processing Engine, we are leading the charge to meet new and fast-evolving customer needs.

"Regardless of data volume, analytics maturity or company size, SAS helps organizations uncover insight, and while every organization may not have big data, they all have big data analytics problems," Davis said.

SAS, with its 36-year history of providing analytics software, was a leader in the evaluation because it scored well in all categories. Its SAS Enterprise Miner tool is easy to learn and can run analysis in-database or on distributed clusters to handle big data, Forrester said. IBM's Smarter Planet campaign and acquisitions of SPSS, Netezza and Vivisimo represent its commitment to big data predictive analytics. IBM's complementary solutions, such as InfoSphere Streams and Decision Management, strengthen the appeal for firms that wish to integrate predictive analytics throughout their organization.

Meanwhile, SAP is a newcomer to big data predictive analytics but is a leader due to a strong architecture and strategy. SAP also differentiates by putting its SAP HANA in-memory appliance at the center of its offering, including an in-database predictive analytics library (PAL), and offering a modeling tool that looks a lot like SAS Enterprise Miner and IBM SPSS Modeler, Forrester said.