SAS analytics platform benefiting from AI investment

Starting up on March 31, longtime BI vendor SAS was preparing to expose additions and updates to the SAS analytics system.

Now, even so, the new and updated characteristics for Viya will not likely be unveiled until finally a later, to be determined, date.

SAS, launched in 1966 when it was aspect of North Carolina Point out College and now based mostly in Cary, N.C., was scheduled to host SAS International Discussion board, its annual consumer conference, in Washington, D.C., from March 31 to April one. On March 5, even so, SAS joined the big group of vendors altering and canceling conferences in reaction to the new coronavirus pandemic and introduced that the conference would be held virtually rather than in-individual.

Later, even so, SAS made the decision to hold off SAS International Discussion board indefinitely.

“If at any time there was a time for details and analytics, it truly is now,” reported David Tareen, director of advertising and marketing, AI and analytics at SAS, noting that he was not aspect of the final decision-earning process about the conference. “How to forecast [economically] now is this sort of an uncertainty, so this is a exclusive time not to market products and solutions but to do the job internally with our consumers. We are consumed with requests by consumers.”

Even with not keeping its annual conference future week, it truly is been an lively yr for SAS, 1 in which the vendor manufactured substantial strides in its augmented intelligence and machine finding out capabilities and rolled out 5 updates for Viya.

SAS uncovered in April 2019 that it prepared to invest $one billion in AI in excess of a a few-yr period, and while not all of that is earmarked for Viya, new additions to the SAS analytics system given that then involve automatic details management and automatic machine finding out equipment near the conclude of 2019, and before that pure language processing and computer vision capabilities.

The new equipment were not SAS’ initial foray into AI and machine finding out, but they characterize an acceleration of the SAS analytics platform’s capabilities.

“SAS has made available machine finding out algorithms and capabilities aimed at details experts for many years, and of late it truly is been undertaking a good deal of foremost-edge do the job on implementing deep finding out in the health care business, for illustration, as was featured at past year’s SAS International Discussion board,” reported Doug Henschen, principal analyst at Constellation Investigation.

He extra that 1 of the vendor’s best strengths is its information of distinct industries and the equipment it delivers for people industries.

“In each individual context it applies a variety of analytical capabilities, together with machine finding out, extra traditional statistical strategies and the fundamental principles of BI reporting and dashboarding,” Henschen reported. “It’s actually unmatched in its depth and breadth of business experience and analytical capabilities.”

In accordance to Tareen, SAS’ $one billion investment decision in AI came from a will need to tackle a new form of consumer.

With an experience in details science, SAS has a lengthy record serving the company intelligence needs of substantial companies with details science teams. Several new analytics converts, even so, never have that identical experience and will need their BI platforms to perform some of the do the job generally completed by details experts.

“We noticed that our traditional consumers required AI, but we also noticed desire from nontraditional consumers,” Tareen reported. “They brought us a various established of prerequisites. They did not know exactly where the issues have been that we desired to fix, and did not know what issues to inquire. We felt a will need to tackle that various aspect of the industry.”

The reaction, meanwhile, to SAS’ aggressive investment decision in AI and machine finding out in excess of the past yr, has been constructive, in accordance to Mike Leone, senior analyst at Company Tactic Group.

They carry on to add and enhance machine finding out, computer vision, pure language processing and pure language question, and explainable AI characteristics and performance.
Mike LeoneSenior analyst, Company Tactic Group

“Considering the fact that that announcement, SAS Viya sales have jumped,” he reported. “I believe the Viya company has grown by close to 50%. And they carry on to add and enhance machine finding out, computer vision, pure language processing and pure language question, and explainable AI characteristics and performance.”

Shifting forward, while SAS hasn’t yet uncovered exactly what new capabilities it designs to add to the SAS analytics system in the coming months, Leone reported that turning out to be extra concentrated on the cloud is a significant aspect of the vendor’s roadmap.

Exclusively, he reported he thinks SAS will change to a cloud-centric company design.

“That implies shifting to membership-based mostly licensing and converting its software stack to be cloud-indigenous with Kubernetes,” Leone reported. “Additionally, they are deeply concentrated on business answers, anticipating a substantial part of earnings — upward of 50% — to arrive from business answers, specifically financial solutions, retail, manufacturing and government.”

Tareen, meanwhile, confirmed that the cloud is a significant aspect of SAS’ upcoming designs.

“What we have in the hopper will attack the issue of obtaining analytics utilised by every person in a various dimension,” he reported. “It’s about earning it simpler to take in analytics and improve the expertise.”

That will require earning it simpler to take in products and solutions and do advanced analytics at scale in the cloud, applying containers for storage to improve workflows, and escalating consumer agility by means of the architecture of its system.

“They carry on to evolve alongside with their consumers,” Leone reported. “To some extent, their consumer foundation held them again from embracing cloud, but now, it truly is comprehensive steam in advance.”