SAS’s traditional business intelligence offering is called Enterprise BI Server. For end users, the Enterprise BI Server includes web clients such as Web Report Studio (WRS), BI Dashboard and a series of Windows clients including Enterprise Guide (EG) and OLAP Cube Studio. These components cover BI use cases ranging from dashboards and reporting to OLAP and advanced analysis.
SAS, founded in 1976, is privately held, one of the earliest software companies and a well-known brand in the BI and analytics market. The vendor has specialized in data management, business intelligence, data visualization, advanced analytics and industry-specific analytic applications for decades.
SAS’s traditional BI offering, SAS Enterprise BI Server, covers dashboarding, OLAP and reporting through clients such as SAS Web Report Studio and SAS Enterprise Guide. SAS also offers a variety of analytic applications to address different industries and application domains. Currently, the bulk of these applications are based on the SAS 9 architecture.
To target business users, SAS released SAS Visual Analytics back in 2012, which was complemented by SAS Visual Statistics in 2014. In 2016 SAS introduced SAS Viya, a new open and cloud-ready platform for analytics. SAS Viya extends SAS 9 to serve all types of SAS customers’ analytical needs. SAS Viya and SAS 9 are now collectively known as SAS Platform.
SAS Visual Analytics 7.4 was the last release on SAS 9 architecture and was replaced by SAS Visual Analytics 8.1 (released in March 2017), which is completely SAS Platform (Viya)-based and uses the new CAS in-memory engine. This product line focuses on visual data exploration, dashboarding, ad hoc reporting and analysis. SAS Visual Statistics complements the product with more advanced options for predictive modeling. Add-on products like SAS Visual Statistics and SAS Visual Data Mining and Machine Learning are also available on the SAS Platform (CAS).
This product review focuses on SAS Enterprise BI Server and its main front ends: SAS EG, SAS WRS and SAS BI Dashboard.
User & Use Cases
SAS is used predominantly in large enterprises in mid-sized to large scenarios. The solution’s main usage scenarios are quite interesting. Like the last couple of years, SAS Enterprise BI products are mostly used to query data and create reports. However, customers also seem to use tools such as Enterprise Guide to prepare and model data. In fact, SAS’s customer rates of modeling and enriching data are nearly twice as high as The BI Survey average. 57 percent of respondents currently use the solution for its original purpose: advanced analytics.
Current vs. planned use
5 products most often evaluated in competition with SAS Platforms
Percentage of employees using SAS Platforms
Number of users using SAS Platforms
Tasks carried out with SAS Platforms by business users
Company size (number of employees)
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