The latest release also brings Oracle Database into the fold as a partner platform on High-Performance Analytics, with many in-database processing options along the lines of those previously supported only by EMC Greenplum and Teradata.
SAS speed-of-analysis options now range from in-database to in-memory to in-stream, with the last option supported by SAS DataFlux Event Stream Processing technology. "Some things you'll want to do inside the database, like scoring," Collins explained. "You'll want to handle some processing-intensive analytic computing in memory, and the real-time work you'll want to handle with streaming technology."
In an example of a streaming application, Collins said a large bank has created a consolidated view of myriad risk-analysis computations. Stream-processing technology is used to connect, run and continuously monitor the risk measures.
In the area of marketing, SAS has been successful with purpose-built applications including SAS Marketing Automation, SAS Marketing Optimization, SAS Real-Time Decision Manager and SAS Digital Marketing. But marketers have been asking SAS for a more cohesive combination of these capabilities as they seek to develop and optimize cross-channel marketing campaigns.
With this week's release of a redesigned SAS Customer Intelligence product, the vendor is exposing all four applications within a single, integrated product. And it wasn't a simple matter of putting a portal-like veneer with single-sign-on capabilities in front of four otherwise-unchanged products.
"We spent a tremendous amount of time and energy working with customers to understand their processes, so it's a complete rethink about how work flows," Collins said.
Customers can chose any or all of the four marketing modules that are relevant to their needs, and the functionality shows up within process-oriented workflows, according to Collins. Rather than moving from application to application, users move more naturally through sequential and related tasks.
Choice is the theme behind the SAS cloud announcements this week, and the options include "your cloud, my cloud or their cloud," Collins said, meaning customer private clouds on virtualization technology, SAS managed services or third-party public clouds such as Amazon Web Services.
These choices are facilitated by a SAS 9.4 foundation software release set for June that incorporates cloud-friendly architectural enhancements including automation features developed to facilitate virtualized capacity deployment. The technology was gained through the November acquisition of cloud infrastructure company RPath.
Big data, technology-driven marketing and cloud deployment are, of course, trendy topics for lots of tech vendors. But SAS, as always, has focused on advanced analytics and what these enablers can do to deliver its tag line "power to know" that much more quickly, flexibly and in-line with day-to-day business processes.