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4/13/2010
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SAS Offers Social Media Analytics Service

The sentiment analysis tools aim to take the technology challenges out of Facebook, Twitter, blog and public-forum monitoring.

For more on business intelligence, see Intelligent Enterprise.

Bringing some new twists to the white-hot market for sentiment analysis applications, SAS has launched an on-demand Social Media Analytics service aimed at taking the technology challenges out of Facebook, Twitter, blog and public-forum monitoring.

The service was announced Monday at the SAS Global Forum in Seattle, where the company also unveiled integration to the open-source R statistical programming language.

Sentiment analysis applications are being deployed by hotels, airlines, fast-food restaurants and other brand marketers to monitor changes in customer attitudes as expressed in CRM comment fields, customer surveys, and forum comments as well as external social networks, blogs, and news feeds. The SAS Social Media Analytics service puts the application online, integrating internal sources with an archive of public-network and feed content.

"This service lets you look at everything from Twitter and Facebook to newswire feeds and blogs to track your customer sentiment over time, tie it to what's going on within your organization and benchmark it against the competition," said Jim Davis, SAS's senior vice president and chief marketing officer, in a pre-conference interview.

The service will offer a two-year archive of online social media data that SAS said will grow richer and deeper over time. The system integrates with CRM systems and other internal systems, and it can also port insight, by way of dashboards, alerts, and metrics, to internal systems including marketing campaign management systems.

"It's not just about tracking sentiment; you can also take action by, say, launching a campaign and then measuring the impact that campaign has on customer sentiment," Davis said.

Several competitors already offer cloud-delivered text analytics capabilities, including IBM, Attensity, and Clarabridge. The SAS service stands out in integrating predictive analytics, which are used to forecast future volumes of social media conversations and predict their impact. This helps companies allocate resources, create "what-if" scenarios and correlate marketing metrics such as brand preference, Web traffic, online campaign effectiveness and media mix, according to SAS.

Social Media Analytics supports 13 languages, including Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Korean and the major European languages. Costs were not disclosed.

Upgrading its core analytics capabilities, SAS yesterday announced plans for a new interface to the open-source R statistical modeling language through the next release of the JMP data visualization tool, which is set for release in September. The integration will enable users to seamlessly switch between models and algorithms developed by SAS and those available from the R development community. R is popular in academia and in the pharmaceutical and financial services

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