informa
/
Commentary

What About SAS?

SAS has been known for high-end data analysis software for years. Now it wants to be known as a business intelligence vendor.
When you hear "SAS," what do you think? It seems nobody can write an article about the company without using the phrase "world's largest privately held software company," which is, in fact, what SAS happens to be. I grew up in North Carolina, and I happen to know that in and around Raleigh, SAS is considered a company that offers employee benefits that are considered opulent by local standards. OK, so that's two things. But how about being known as a business intelligence vendor? That, it seems, is how SAS would like to known more than anything else these days.

As a story we're running from InformationWeek's Rick Whiting makes clear, the new release of SAS's BI Enterprise Server might just get the $1.5 billion company perceived exactly as it wants to be--as a big-time BI vendor. As Whiting says, "The new BI Server release, available now for developers and consumers of business intelligence reports, now includes online analytical processing capabilities and new report linking and scheduling features. The server also now provides geographic visualization capabilities through integration with Environmental Systems Research Institute Inc.'s ArcGIS geographical information software."

Most IT pros, if they think of SAS at all, think about hugely complex analytics for science and financial data. But that's changing. SAS is putting out the call: It's in the same market as Business Objects, Cognos, Hyperion and the other pure-plays now. And it's there to stay.