SAS Showcases New BI Tools

New tools, focused mainly on generating self-service query and reporting for business users, are designed to broaden the company's user base.

SEATTLE—SAS Institute Inc. previewed its forthcoming SAS 9.1 platform at the SAS Users Group International conference here Monday, showing off new business intelligence tools designed to broaden the user base of the Cary, N.C.-based software companys technology.

As previously reported by eWEEK, the new tools focus mainly on generating self-service query and reporting for business users.

SAS, by revenues the largest business intelligence software company in the world, has been traditionally dominant in the data mining space, developing high-end analytical tools favored by statisticians.

With this release, SAS is trying to reach what SAS president and CEO Jim Goodnight called "a whole new class of decision-makers."

The new products include SAS Web Report Studio and SAS Report Studio, Web-based and desktop products respectively for wizard-driven report creation. The products are designed to be self-service, with users generating reports ad hoc without IT department intervention.

Interfaces can be tailored to different user groups based on skill level and usage patterns.

The third new tool is SAS Office Integration, which will allow users to embed SAS analytics within Microsoft Office applications like Excel and Word.

All three new products make up the SAS Business Intelligence Server, which is a key part of the companys Intelligence Value Chain framework for enterprise intelligence delivery, the theme of this years conference.

The software will make SAS technology accessible to up to 80 percent of employees at most customer sites, according to SAS officials.

The Intelligence Value Chain also includes Plan, for project planning and consulting; SAS ETL for extraction, transformation and loading of data from operational systems; Intelligent Storage for ensuring that data is properly stored and disseminated; and lastly, Analytic Intelligence for analyzing past, present and future business scenarios.

SAS 9.1 is in the early adopter stage now and is scheduled to ship to customers in a phased release beginning Aug. 31.

In other news at the show, SAS launched SAS Insurance Intelligence Solutions, a packaged application offering for the insurance industry. Initial applications in the suite are for customer retention, segmentation, claims prediction, cross-and-up-selling, marketing automation and strategic performance management.

Its the third such industry-specific offering SAS has delivered, joining solutions for the banking and telecommunication industries the company released last June.

SAS also released a new hosted offering at the show, SAS IntelliVisor for Financial Services, an analytical customer relationship management solution for the financial services industry.

The service measures the effectiveness of financial service company Web sites and is designed to help these companies track customer behavior at their sites, determine what products customers are most interested in, assess customer expectations at the site and track the success of online marketing campaigns.

SAS is targeting the life sciences vertical as well, announcing the formation of a Life Sciences Organization as a specialized business unit within the SAS Americas sales division. The Life Sciences Organization is focused on health care providers, health insurers and biomedical firms, including pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical device companies.

Early initiatives of this organization include a Migration, Integration and Validation Project to help these companies with regulatory compliance issues, and development of the SAS Strategic Performance Management for Healthcare solution.

Also at SUGI, SASs Alliance Development Division announced more support and resources for consultants and partners and a strategy to develop more joint offerings with partners.

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