SAS Unleashes a Bevy of BI Tools

The company is bringing new analytics capabilities for service executives, profitability experts, model managers and gaming and casino companies.

Business intelligence software developer SAS announced a bevy of new products to help companies better predict and manage business fluctuations, at the BetterManagement Live conference in Las Vegas from Oct. 23 to 25.

SAS commissioned a study that showed, essentially, what BI companies have been lamenting all along: that while there is a much broader use of BI throughout businesses, most companies are still getting BI down to all the layers in the company, and are not achieving their desired results—either as the result of cultural or technology issues.

"Companies face cultural resistance and lack of collaboration across departments, as well as technology barriers such of lack of integration between systems from multiple vendors," the study states; it was released Oct. 25.

"More than one in four companies surveyed cited data inaccuracy as a major obstacle to performance improvement….Some firms also expressed concern about being able to deliver a full view of the companys information."

To combat this, the company is bringing new analytics capabilities for service executives, profitability experts, model managers and gaming and casino companies.

A new SAS Service Intelligence suite was unveiled Oct. 25 to help users monitor, predict and optimize their companys service chain.

The suite brings in SAS existing Warranty Analysis software and combines that with forecasting functionality of SAS Service Parts Optimization and SAS Service Operations Optimization with the goal of enabling users to tap previously disconnected business processes.

IT research firm Aberdeen Group ranks post-sales service among the top three priorities for CFOs worldwide, with 68 percent of companies appointing a vice president or higher-level executive to oversee service performance.

SAS announced at the same time it will ship a new Profitability Management module that will be available in the fourth quarter of 2006.

/zimages/4/28571.gifClick here to read more about SASs enhanced vertical BI line.

The software will help companies facilitate faster decisions on product-mix, customer mix and marketing and sales programs through flexible business modeling capabilities, officials said.

The idea is that by using Profitability Manager, individual users are able to define the segmentation reports they need on the fly—profit performance of customer groups, product groups or individual SKUs, for example—and then create reports based on profitability rather than on revenue.

A new predictive analytics suite, announced Oct. 23, will be available in November.

The suite, named SAS Model Manager, is really geared toward keeping models correct—getting rid of model decay, essentially—as models are applied to changing business processes.

What Model Manager does is centrally organize, classify and assess models to help companies determine which model is best used, in which situation, for correct results.

A SAS enterprise model management framework helps companies to organize and track model development by providing best practices for model verification and testing, comparative model performance benchmarking, publishing and sharing model performance data and metrics.

Targeting a specific vertical industry—tribal casinos and gaming—SAS also announced Oct. 25 its Patron Value Optimization offering that amounts to a three-way partnership with two consulting firms to bring together services and software.

SAS has partnered with WhiteSand Consulting and Qualex Consulting Services to go in and help casino and gaming companies consolidate disparate data sources—patron gaming and non-gaming revenue, models and reports on patron information—and optimize their resources.

"As the gaming industry becomes more and more competitive, casinos need to better understand their customers," said Suzanne Fiero, SAS Industry Developer Manager, in LOCO.

"Non-gaming revenue is starting to surpass gaming revenue in some markets, which requires more effective data integration and analysis."

Patron Value Optimization is available on demand or on premises.

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