SAS eyes SMB market with cloud-based analytics offerings

SAN FRANCISCO – The typical case study that Cary, N.C.-based analytics software company SAS Institute trots out is a major bank using its analytics and big data solutions to identify and reduce credit card fraud. While the enterprise space is SAS’s bread and butter, the vendor is also making inroads into the small and medium-sized business (SMB) market with new offerings and delivery models.

In an interview with at the company’s annual SAS Executive Forum conference, president and CEO Jim Goodnight said his inside sales team is now targeting the SMB market, and it’s finding success.

“For $10,000 you can buy a single blade that allows you to handle just about everything for an SMB,” said Goodnight. “We’re encouraging that.”

While such an on-premise solution might make sense for a midmarket company with a decent-sized IT staff, for companies further down-market, a cloud-based or hosted solution probably makes more sense, said Jim Davis, SAS senior vice-president and CMO.

“We’re selling closed deals for visual analytics on Amazon Web Services, for instance,” said Davis. “We can do this in a public or private cloud or we can host and add analytics.”

The offering that SAS sees as the best fit for this market is its Visual Analytics solutions, which launched in February. The visual data exploration software combines business intelligence with analytics and graphical display options. It can be used to create mobile dashboards for on-the-go executives, as well as for front-line workers to manipulate data and obtain actionable business insight without needing to go to specialists to create and run reports.

Licensing can be constrained by hardware, based on the number of cores, and departmental licenses are also available beginning at 10 users.

There’s been a lot of buzz around big data lately, including in the SMB space, but Davis said companies should consider analytics for business reasons, not for technical reasons.

“Companies that are doing well with analytics aren’t looking at it as architecture, they’re looking at it as, ‘How do I solve the business problems I have, whether its fraud, risk or marketing optimization,’” said Davis.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Jeff Jedras
Jeff Jedras
Jeff Jedras is a technology journalist with IT World Canada and a member of the IT Business team. He began his career in technology journalism in the late 1990s, covering the Ottawa technology sector for Silicon Valley North and the Ottawa Business Journal. He later covered the technology scene in Vancouver before joining IT World Canada in Toronto in 2005, covering enterprise IT for ComputerWorld Canada and the channel for Computer Dealer News. His writing has also appeared in the Vancouver Sun & the Ottawa Citizen.

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