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Analytics to transform business of tomorrow: SAS CTO

Analytics to transform business of tomorrow: SAS CTO

Simple business intelligence solutions may not be enough for most firms as they only provide simple queries and reporting modules, whereas a new definition for business analytics (BA) is emerging that has the potential to transform business in the future, the CTO (chief technology officer) of BA software firm SAS remarked recently.

This new definition, according to Keith Collins during his recent visit to Manila, revolves around BA as a platform for data integration, analytics, and information deployment, closer to the original definition of the space by analyst firm Gartner in 1989.

"[Business analytics] now is focused on three things: customer intelligence, risk, and fraud," Collins explained. He further underscored the reality that banks now understand the essence of BA as an enterprise tool, and are shifting their interests to determining "enterprise fraud," which talks of a broader view of cases, instead of just individual incidences.

That SAS' performance in the recent downturn couldn't highlight the importance of BA to enterprises more. "We did fairly well during the crisis, and registered around 3% growth overall," Collins shared, adding that analytics thrives in both good and bad economy because firms either need it to know areas of expansion, or identify cost points for potential cost-cutting measures.

Just recently, SAS launched its Social Media Analysis software solution, which aims to measure customer interest based on community conversations in various social media websites widely used today.

"It's still in its early days," Collins admitted, "but it's bigger than the normal technology." He said the technology combines the power of sentiment analysis--which identifies who says things and what are they saying--and link analysis--which traces down the roots of the things being said--to identify and measure a profiles influence in the community.

Collins said SAS is targeting the communications and entertainment industries for the initial offering, because they are "big spenders on marketing." The method of deployment, for now, is through SaaS (Software-as-a-Service), according to Collins, because "it's the best place to start [for a solution like this], because all the data need are on the Web."

Conversely, despite mounting competition from other software vendors in the market--most notably IBM's recent foray into analytics through its "smarter planet" initiative, which prompted major acquisitions of analytics firms such as SPSS and ILOG--Collins said SAS remains unfazed and secure of its "huge portfolio" of analytics software. "Competition is an opportunity for us to execute extremely well," the SAS executive noted. "Our strategy to provide a seamless framework for data integration, analytics, and information deployment with suites of analytics solutions will continue to provide strong differentiation between SAS and other vendors."


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