SAS to Make Push Into Enterprise Reporting

SAS says new reporting product's cleaner interface will make it more accessible to business users.

SAS Institute Inc. is planning to unveil new technology for enterprise reporting at its SAS Users Group International Conference in Seattle later this month, the company has confirmed.

The new reporting product will be part of the Cary, N.C.-based analytic software developers SAS 9.1 release. While SAS already offers the Enterprise Reporter product, the updated version is expected to have a much cleaner interface that will make the product more accessible to business users, as opposed to the power users SAS software typically caters to.

With the upgrade, SAS is expected to compete head-on with such vendors as Business Objects SA, Cognos Inc. and MicroStrategy Inc. Many SAS customers use those products now as the reporting front end to SAS analytics, a trend SAS chairman and CEO Jim Goodnight had bemoaned at last years SUGI conference.

Integris Health Inc., a health-care provider based in Oklahoma City, uses Enterprise Reporter today. Robert Muzny, systems analyst, decision support, at Integris, said Enterprise Reporters current graphical user interface (GUI) is somewhat outdated.

"If they were to add more snazz appeal to it, that could get interesting," said Muzny. "Our users experience now is to look at the finished product. Theyre typically not interested in pulling the data underneath the presentation. If this new interface makes it easier for them to get to the data and generate reports on their own, then it could make it easier for my staff. That would be appealing."

Mark Smith, senior vice president of research and CEO at Ventana Research in Belmont, Calif., was skeptical though about how much traction SAS could make in the enterprise reporting space.

"I am not sure that even SAS, who has not had hardly any impact in this area of the market, can make a dent in their first release, let alone they have to get the sales and marketing on the right track," Smith said. "This is a much different sales than Base SAS or Enterprise Miner where they make most of their revenue."

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