SAS analytics platform benefiting from AI investment

Nancy J. Delong

Beginning on March 31, longtime BI vendor SAS was arranging to reveal additions and updates to the SAS analytics system. Now, however, the new and up-to-date options for Viya will not be unveiled until a afterwards, to be established, date. SAS, started in 1966 when it was aspect of North […]

Beginning on March 31, longtime BI vendor SAS was arranging to reveal additions and updates to the SAS analytics system.

Now, however, the new and up-to-date options for Viya will not be unveiled until a afterwards, to be established, date.

SAS, started in 1966 when it was aspect of North Carolina Condition University and now dependent in Cary, N.C., was scheduled to host SAS Global Discussion board, its annual user conference, in Washington, D.C., from March 31 to April 1. On March five, however, SAS joined the big group of suppliers altering and canceling conferences in reaction to the new coronavirus pandemic and announced that the conference would be held virtually instead than in-person.

Later, however, SAS decided to delay SAS Global Discussion board indefinitely.

“If at any time there was a time for knowledge and analytics, it truly is now,” mentioned David Tareen, director of marketing and advertising, AI and analytics at SAS, noting that he was not aspect of the final decision-producing course of action about the conference. “How to forecast [economically] now is these an uncertainty, so this is a one of a kind time not to sell goods but to do the job internally with our consumers. We’re consumed with requests by consumers.”

Despite not keeping its annual conference subsequent week, it truly is been an lively 12 months for SAS, just one in which the vendor manufactured considerable strides in its augmented intelligence and equipment learning abilities and rolled out five updates for Viya.

SAS exposed in April 2019 that it prepared to devote $1 billion in AI more than a 3-12 months period of time, and while not all of that is earmarked for Viya, new additions to the SAS analytics system given that then consist of automatic knowledge management and automatic equipment learning tools close to the conclude of 2019, and prior to that organic language processing and personal computer eyesight abilities.

The new tools were not SAS’ to start with foray into AI and equipment learning, but they represent an acceleration of the SAS analytics platform’s abilities.

“SAS has available equipment learning algorithms and abilities aimed at knowledge researchers for many years, and of late it truly is been accomplishing a good deal of primary-edge do the job on implementing deep learning in the health care business, for example, as was highlighted at final year’s SAS Global Discussion board,” mentioned Doug Henschen, principal analyst at Constellation Analysis.

He additional that just one of the vendor’s greatest strengths is its knowledge of particular industries and the tools it delivers for these industries.

“In every single context it applies a range of analytical abilities, including equipment learning, additional conventional statistical procedures and the principles of BI reporting and dashboarding,” Henschen mentioned. “It really is genuinely unrivaled in its depth and breadth of business know-how and analytical abilities.”

According to Tareen, SAS’ $1 billion investment in AI came from a need to have to tackle a new type of buyer.

With an know-how in knowledge science, SAS has a prolonged historical past serving the business enterprise intelligence demands of large organizations with knowledge science groups. Quite a few new analytics converts, however, don’t have that similar know-how and need to have their BI platforms to accomplish some of the do the job usually done by knowledge researchers.

“We noticed that our standard consumers wished AI, but we also noticed fascination from nontraditional consumers,” Tareen mentioned. “They brought us a unique set of prerequisites. They did not know where by the issues were being that we needed to address, and did not know what questions to talk to. We felt a need to have to tackle that unique aspect of the marketplace.”

The reaction, meanwhile, to SAS’ intense investment in AI and equipment learning more than the earlier 12 months, has been constructive, in accordance to Mike Leone, senior analyst at Company Strategy Group.

They continue to insert and greatly enhance equipment learning, personal computer eyesight, organic language processing and organic language question, and explainable AI options and features.
Mike LeoneSenior analyst, Company Strategy Group

“Considering the fact that that announcement, SAS Viya gross sales have jumped,” he mentioned. “I consider the Viya business enterprise has grown by shut to fifty%. And they continue to insert and greatly enhance equipment learning, personal computer eyesight, organic language processing and organic language question, and explainable AI options and features.”

Transferring forward, while SAS hasn’t nonetheless exposed particularly what new abilities it options to insert to the SAS analytics system in the coming months, Leone mentioned that becoming additional targeted on the cloud is a major aspect of the vendor’s roadmap.

Specially, he mentioned he believes SAS will change to a cloud-centric business enterprise model.

“That indicates shifting to membership-dependent licensing and converting its computer software stack to be cloud-native with Kubernetes,” Leone mentioned. “Furthermore, they are deeply targeted on business answers, expecting a large part of profits — upward of fifty% — to appear from business answers, exclusively financial companies, retail, producing and federal government.”

Tareen, meanwhile, verified that the cloud is a major aspect of SAS’ potential options.

“What we have in the hopper will attack the trouble of receiving analytics used by all people in a unique dimension,” he mentioned. “It really is about producing it simpler to take in analytics and make improvements to the practical experience.”

That will entail producing it simpler to take in goods and do sophisticated analytics at scale in the cloud, applying containers for storage to make improvements to workflows, and growing buyer agility via the architecture of its system.

“They continue to evolve together with their consumers,” Leone mentioned. “To some extent, their buyer base held them back again from embracing cloud, but now, it truly is comprehensive steam forward.”

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