SAS unveils new BI platform, apps

SAS Institute unveiled its new SAS 9 business intelligence platform Tuesday that includes data integration, enhanced analytics, and refined user interfaces designed to drive BI beyond the traditional querying and reporting domain of the high-end business analyst to users throughout the enterprise.

In addition, SAS detailed plans for a slew of new applications designed to leverage the new platform, including suites for marketing automation, financial management, strategic performance management, and supplier relationship management.

The new intelligence platform, which is now shipping, includes data integration through the SAS Enterprise ETL Server, intelligence storage, advanced analytics, portal functionality, and query and reporting via the SAS Enterprise Business Intelligence Server. SAS 9 data integration supports data quality and a common metadata repository designed to ensure the reliability of information across IT systems, while the ETL server is designed to cleanse and integrate data into a common, usable data store to offer consistent answers to BI questions spanning the enterprise. Enhanced analytics include predictive and descriptive modeling, forecasting, simulation, and optimization to make it easier to answer complex question that cannot be addressed by traditional BI, according to company officials from Cary, N.C.-based SAS.

The SAS data mining and text mining software have been fitted with new Java interfaces designed to allow enterprises to analyze both structured data and unstructured text more easily. The new Java interface is designed to allow data mining users to extract business knowledge from vast data stores and then create results that can be integrated within operational systems.

SAS user LG Home Shopping had limited access in the past to operational information to support management decision-making, according to Choi Seung Hoi, general manager for field information strategy at the company. With SAS 9, the company now has an infrastructure in place to deliver critical BI via an integrated enterprisewide view that expands and supplements the company's data warehouse, Hoi added.

SAS Marketing Automation will be the first in SAS' family of customer intelligence applications to be launched on the new platform. These apps will be tailored to address marketing automation, marketing optimization, and customer retention. They are designed to give organizations insight to develop and implement smarter customer strategies while boosting profitability.

All seven of the new applications for SAS 9 are scheduled to be available this year.

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