SAS strengthens assault on BI market with enhanced offering

SAS® Enterprise BI Server empowers decision makers with fast, simple, consistent and accurate reporting; first to offer OLAP storage and mapping

PHILADELPHIA (April 11, 2005) � SAS, the leader in business intelligence, today announced it is shipping a newly enhanced version of the SAS® Enterprise BI Server, a major component of the SAS�9 Intelligence Platform, to users worldwide. SAS provides the industry�s most comprehensive offering, complete with easy point-and-click reports, while at the same time delivering more breadth and depth than conventional BI vendors such as Business Objects and Cognos. SAS creates a higher level of business intelligence by making fast and simple access to information available to a wide range of enterprise users.

SAS Enterprise BI Server delivers reports on time, on demand and on target, reducing the time spent looking for answers and making more time available for driving decisions and results. Since SAS Enterprise BI Server delivers critical information in intuitive ways, users can take those insights to make better decisions faster.

No other BI provider delivers OLAP storage and mapping capabilities integrated with a BI tool offering. In this enhancement, SAS created a more sophisticated level of analytics-driven business intelligence with easy and fast access to data for users everywhere in the enterprise.

�SAS brings BI to the masses with simplified user interfaces, so now everyone at every level of an organization can use this information to solve challenges quickly and easily,� said Dr. Jim Goodnight, CEO of SAS. �In addition, our BI offering is built to support IT�s need to manage and maintain data and applications efficiently.�

SAS announced additional developments related to the SAS Enterprise BI Server:

  • The SAS Enterprise BI Server now includes SAS OLAP Server and new OLAP clients at no extra cost. With these new additions, SAS becomes the first and only BI provider to deliver OLAP storage packaged with a BI tool offering. By including the OLAP server and storage, users can create cubes and view multidimensional data within the end-user report environment.

  • SAS and ESRI Corp. have integrated the SAS Enterprise BI Server with ESRI�s ArcGIS server, delivering BI tools integrated with geographic visualization.

  • SAS is offering an integrated version of Platform Computing�s JobScheduler for use with SAS Enterprise BI Server. This enterprise job scheduler automates the execution of the entire project flow, from data integration through reporting and analytics.

The enhanced SAS Enterprise BI Server delivers an integrated and comprehensive suite of BI capabilities � including reporting, query and analysis, OLAP, integrated analytics, visualization, and Microsoft Office integration � all using consistent metadata across the suite. Using targeted BI interfaces that support individual needs, the SAS Enterprise BI Server empowers all information producers and consumers.

�The SAS Enterprise BI Server is SAS� foray into mainstream business intelligence. I was impressed by both its power and ease of use,� said Cindi Howson, president of ASK, a BI consultancy. �SAS has done well to analyze the needs of different user types and focus on the distinct needs of casual users and business analysts.

�All too often, users spend too much time trying to access data in different places and formats,� Howson continued. �Of the major BI vendors, SAS was the first Web-based tool to allow users to create a dashboard style report that can seamlessly pull data from multiple data sources, whether relational, OLAP or stored processes. Multiple data sources can also be defined at the metadata or Information Map level, providing re-usability and control when these multiple data sources need to be accessed on a recurring basis.�

The industry welcomes SAS® Business Intelligence integration, ease-of-use

A recent survey by global technology consulting firm Accenture highlights growing discontent among senior U.S. executives with their business intelligence initiatives.* More than 90 percent of the 150 senior executives surveyed across Fortune 1000 firms believe they need to significantly strengthen their analytic and BI capabilities to drive business growth in the coming year. SAS customers are doing just that.

Many industry thought leaders and SAS customers confirm that SAS� presence in the business intelligence software industry is strong. Customers have responded favorably to the business benefits that come from integrating analytics and data management with conventional BI tools.

These business benefits include: users� timely access to information; cost containment and operational efficiencies; self-service reporting; confidence in the data; regulatory compliance; and IT standardization. For IT, these benefits include: easy implementation, administration and deployment, reducing time and expense of IT resources; complete 24/7 support at no additional cost; and licensing to unlimited report authors and consumers. Read what some users have to say:

  • �We investigated six platforms, including Business Objects, Information Builders and Cognos, before selecting SAS Enterprise BI Server. No other vendor offered cutting-edge analytics and easy-to-use BI reporting in a single integrated platform,� said Jody Porrazzo, director of econometric risk strategy for APEX Management Group. �We started deploying SAS Enterprise BI Server the end of November 2004, and it is now reaching 95 percent of our enterprise, including IT, administration, risk forecasting, actuarial, auditing, warehousing and reporting departments. Reports used to take too long for decision makers. With SAS, BI-related data quality is up and so is productivity.�

  • �Alamo Community College District has been working with SAS for approximately 20 years and recently took a step forward in migrating to the SAS BI Server,� said Dr. Charles Burmeister, CIO, Alamo Community College District. �In the Information Technology Department, we have the responsibility to manage enterprisewide applications for the district, which includes four independent accredited community colleges that serve more than 80,000 different students in a 12-month period. Our BI architecture that we�re deploying through the SAS BI Server will provide us with the opportunity to have a single enterprisewide solution. We�re very excited about being able to deliver key information at the right time into the hands of the administrators and faculty to help them be more proactive and make positive change in our district.�

  • �To continue our ongoing success in strengthening the ability of individuals and companies to stay connected locally, nationally and globally, we needed to better understand the needs of our customers,� said Gabriel Toichoa, director of pricing and modeling for Canada Post. �To successfully achieve this goal required a robust and integrated solution, and, based on our research, SAS was the only provider in the marketplace with an integrated business intelligence offering.�

  • �Our clients are excited about how SAS business intelligence provides timely and easy access to information, so they can make informed choices and not have to rely on �gut� decisions. SAS provides self-service reporting that brings this data access to business and non-technical users at different skill levels, so they can quickly discern data through familiar and intuitive interfaces, including zero footprint web-based interfaces and Microsoft Office integration,� said Bridgette Chambers, managing director for SAS partner COMSYS� National SAS & BI Solutions. �This frees up IT professionals to spend less time responding to ad hoc report requests and focus more on strategic issues.�

  • �With the SAS Enterprise BI Server, we will be able to reduce the complexity of our BI architecture, providing information on every aspect of Frankfurt International Airport�s operations. By consolidating our BI applications, we significantly reduce the cost for providing reports to various business departments,� said Dr. Roland Krieg, senior vice president of information and telecommunication for Denmark-based Fraport AG. �The integrated business intelligence environment will also reduce reporting cycles � better meeting business users� information needs.�

  • �SAS Web Report Studio provides business users with a 360-degree view on business without exposing users to the complexity of underlying data sources. IT can define SAS Information Maps on top of relational and multidimensional data sources that hide the complexity from business users in order to let them create their own business reports, while keeping IT in control of data access,� said Dieter Steinmann, senior manager, business systems/business information architect for Denmark-based Fraport AG.

  • �SAS Enterprise BI Server offers a broad set of capabilities that are major differentiators from the competition,� said Mario Perkins, director of North American operations for SAS partner Qualex. �This includes extensive ETL that can access any type of data on any platform; common metadata that can be used throughout SAS; advanced analytic capabilities that far exceed the competition; Web reporting and OLAP that allow easy access to information across an organization; and integration with Microsoft Word and Excel � all in one solution from one vendor. The competitors cover a few of these areas, but not the full breadth, depth and flexibility that SAS offers.�

  • �We reviewed the technology of all the major business intelligence vendors, including Cognos, and decided to consolidate our BI efforts with SAS,� said Prokurist Josef Jarausch, head of sales controlling at Austria-based UNIQA. �We have confidence in its integrated business intelligence platform to deliver a consistent view of the data to all our users across the enterprise. The breadth of interfaces targeted at specific user roles enables UNIQA to surface a corporatewide understanding for business that lets all employees act toward common goals.�

See related SAS customer press releases:

  • Briggs & Stratton harnesses the power of SAS Business Intelligence enterprisewide.

  • Tekelec signals for SAS Enterprise BI Server to improve operational efficiencies.

Beyond business intelligence

SAS differentiates itself from other conventional BI vendors in the industry with unmatched technology and expertise in advanced analytics, data management and tailored solutions for specific industries such as banking or life sciences. SAS takes enterprises Beyond BITM by integrating analytics that not only provide limited insight and hindsight in the form of historical reports, but predictive analytics that help predict outcomes and allow clearer foresight. With these capabilities, SAS offers users at any level immediate access to cleansed and reliable data, through targeted user interfaces that match the skill level of the individual user.