SAN FRANCISCO—SAS Institute at its annual user conference introduced on March 27 three new and seven enhanced business intelligence applications designed to give customers tools for performing data analysis that predict trends and uncover potential problems.
Headquartered in Cary, N.C., SAS, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary as an independent data warehousing and data analysis company during its annual SAS Users Group International conference here this week, also announced that it was expanding its research and development of enterprise data integration technologies.
This initiative will include enhancements to the SAS Enterprise Data Integration Server Software to provide more data monitoring, verification and cleansing capabilities that will provide more accurate and consistent information, company officials said.
These enhancements are due for release in July 2006.
The company will increase its R&D in data integration by 15 percent per year in 2006 and 2007 to continue to develop a SAS universal data integration platform that will serve as an alternative to other data warehouse systems.
SAS data warehouse technology works with multiple databases and data file formats and serves as an alternative to data warehouse systems based on relational databases from Oracle, IBM and others, SAS CEO James Goodnight said.
Oracle competes for at least 9 percent of SAS sales engagements, making Oracle its biggest single competitor, Goodnight said. The belief of many Oracle customers that its relationship database is “the only way they should go with data warehousing is a tragic mistake,” he said.
SAS data warehouse technology “can store many, many times more data than relational databases” and is much better suited for data analysis and BI, he said.
The company will also introduce new customer data integration technology that will allow enterprises to synchronize, consolidate and manage customer information that usually exists in separate databases and applications.
The goal of this technology is to help companies reconcile customer data at the point of the transaction so companies get faster insight into customer interests and needs, said Jim Davis, SAS chief marketing officer. This quickly provides new opportunities to sell additional goods and services to customers on a real-time basis rather than waiting until an overnight batch run or database update provides the information, Davis said.
The company has also assembled a special data integration focus team that can visit customer sites round the world to study their data integration needs and propose solutions.
SAS Focuses on Industry
SAS is also following through on a strategy to provide BI applications that are focused on vertical industries, Davis said. The BI applications introduced at the start of the SUGI conference on March 27 are focused on the financial services, manufacturing, retail and telecommunications industries.
In the area of financial services, the software includes an anti-money laundering application that sifts through huge amounts of transaction data to detect suspicious deposit and transfer patterns.
The latest version of this application provides enhanced data integration features through the SAS Data Integration Studio and related components.
A new version of SAS Credit Risk Management for Banking provides improved reporting features so information can be rapidly shared throughout a bank for scoring, rating and managing credit and credit risk.
SAS Fair Banking provides enhanced analytics to help lenders ensure regulatory compliance while improving the quality of lending decisions.
For the manufacturing sector, SAS has enhanced its warranty analysis application, which seeks to reduce warranty costs and improve product quality by using warranty claims, call center data, and other data sources to identify fraudulent claims and emerging quality problems, and to forecast warranty costs. The new version provides integration with standard desktop office tools.
A new Service Parts Optimization product gives manufacturers better tools for forecasting demand for parts and optimizing inventories with the goal of increasing customer satisfaction and improving profitability.
In the telecommunications field, SAS is shipping two products later this year. They include a revenue assurance application that enables service providers to track and manage their revenue streams to ensure that they are receiving the forecast amounts of revenue from their various business lines.
The Price Plan Optimization product helps services providers improve their operational performance and customer satisfaction by identifying price plans that are preferred by customers while providing the highest returns for provider.
In the retail sector, SAS has released three enhanced applications. They include the Markdown Optimization application, which boosts profitability by helping managers identify products that should be marked down and decide by how much, when and in which stores. This latest version of the application supports broader scalability to support large-volume markdowns and clearance sales.
The enhanced Marketmax Allocation application enables user-defined merchandise allocations for inventory management. The application recommends targets for replenishment of merchandise on store shelves.
The Promotion Optimization applications helps managers arrange campaigns by predicting which times are optimal for promotions at specific locations, at certain prices and using different promotional methods. The new version supports more complex promotions with improved scenario analysis and planning.
The goal of these products is to provide enterprises with more sophisticated BI and analytics tools than just the simple query and reporting tools that enterprises are used to working with, said Anne Milley, SAS director of technology product marketing
Enterprises want BI products that are more predictive and give them broader insights into what is happening in their operations, she said.
This level of analysis requires a high level of data integration and allows users to “get better answers faster, which is far more than what mainstream query and reporting tools can do,” she said.