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SAS Business Intelligence Review: "SAS BI: The power to see and be seen."
https://www.trustradius.com/business-intelligenceSAS Business IntelligenceUnspecified8.445101
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Updated June 06, 2014

SAS Business Intelligence Review: "SAS BI: The power to see and be seen."

Score 10 out of 101
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source

Software Version
9.3
Modules Used
Base SAS 9.3, Enterprise Guide 5.1, Management Console 9.3, Information Map Studio 4.31, OLAP Cube Studio 4.3, Web Report Studio 4.31, BI Dashboard Studio 4.31, Information Delivery Portal 4.31

Overall Satisfaction with SAS Business Intelligence for Midsize Business

The Institutional Research Department at the college uses the full functionality of SAS BI to manipulate data, and produce reports and dashboards. These products are placed on the SAS Information Delivery Portal for use by administrators, deans and other staff across the college in data-driven decision making. Having a centralized repository for reports that are timely, interactive and easy to use has helped our employees in their decision making.
  • Collect and combine data from multiple sources. For example, data from the college database, the National Student Clearinghouse and our student services tracking software can combine to feed one report.
  • Condense millions of rows of data into a single, easy to use report. For example, we can produce a cube that is collapsed at a high level, and users can drill down to their area of interest in seconds.
  • Create interactive reports. It was important that our reports contained the ability for users to play with the data. They had to be able to filter large datasets, drag and drop comparison groups into graphs, and drill down to student-level data. SAS BI provided all of this and more.
  • There will be a steep learning curve for individuals transitioning from BASE SAS to SAS BI. Our department was filled with experienced SAS programmers, but that did little to prepare us for the challenges of SAS BI. Training will be a must.
  • It is possible, but extremely difficult to customize the web-based portions of SAS BI, like the Information Delivery Portal or Web Report Studio. Having an out-of-the box solution is great to get up and coming quickly, but customizing the look and feel for the web-based users will require some previous web design skills.
  • In order to fully appreciate the features of SAS BI, you absolutely need someone on your team with a background in platform administration, security, web design or some other basic IT skills. Alternatively, you may just need strong support from your IT department. Simply having a group of individuals experienced in BASE SAS will not cut it.
  • Positive Impact: better customer service. We have been able to deliver reports that will help multiple employees and implement any feedback they have on those reports quickly.
  • Positive Impact: increased inter-departmental discussions. We have long had a problem working in silos. Now we are pulling data from multiple departments into one report, and it becomes easy to see how what one department is doing in affecting another. We had a meeting to discuss a preliminary report on course scheduling efficiency. It included data from our Facilities folks and our academic Deans. Once we put the numbers up on the screen, there spawned a helpful discussion about how what one department can do to help another.
  • Positive Impact: organizational transparency. For the first time, our users are exposed to a wealth of data about themselves and other areas of the college. It is starting to make some question the way we do business, and if there is a better way.
SAS really is the cutting edge in Business Intelligence. That is all they do! They are constantly coming out with new products, product upgrades, and their tech support is second to none. In addition, their support of Education has made our ability to acquire their product possible.
Implementing SAS BI will work best when you either have strong IT support or someone on your team with IT experience. We naively went into this adventure with a group of researchers who could not fully articulate what a virtual server was. That was a mistake. SAS BI is typically installed in a multi-tier, multi-server environment. Getting the server configuration and server sizing correct from the outset is critical and the SAS organization can only help so much without inside knowledge of the needs of your organization.
SAS BI is also well-suited for organizations which do not have an existing reporting solution. Previously, our organization had no way to get data into the hands of our users outside of ad-hoc requests delivered as Excel tables or graphs. This was a great way to get up and running quickly delivering interactive reports that are accessible from anywhere and updated daily.

Using SAS Business Intelligence for Midsize Business

1000 - College Administration, deans, program managers, marketing, student services, academic affairs and institutional research.
6 - An individual(s) knowledgeable in your databases or data sources will be needed. This person can help with the extraction and storage of the data that will be used in SAS BI. A platform administrator will be needed to manage the behind-the-scenes aspects of SAS BI like updating data files, managing metadata, setting user security, promoting content between environments, etc. Then you will need report creators. These individuals create reports, dashboards, information maps, stored processes or other content that is used by your users.
  • To provide timely, appropriate data to decision makers at the college.
  • To provide transparency of the college's data.
  • To promote a culture of evidence or assessment culture at the college.
  • To develop and deliver an auto-graduation system for the college, as well as propel other initiatives to address the completion agenda like reverse transfer and a near-graduates reach-out program.
  • We hope to get into forecasting in the near future, as in predicting enrollment and completion trends.

SAS Business Intelligence for Midsize Business Support

When you call tech support, you are immediately routed to a person who can answer your question. Often they can answer on the spot. However, if they cannot, you are given a track number and then followed up with. There have been times when I have had multiple track numbers open and they will actually TRACK YOU DOWN to ensure that your problem has been resolved. Issues do not fall into black holes with SAS. They are also willing to do a WebEx with you to diagnose the problem by seeing your environment, which is always helpful.
ProsCons
Quick Resolution
Good followup
Knowledgeable team
Problems get solved
Kept well informed
Immediate help available
Support understands my problem
Support cares about my success
Quick Initial Response
Escalation required
No - I am not sure if there is "premium" support. The regular support that comes with the product license fee is fantastic on its own.
Yes - Typically, bugs are resolved in the next release of the product, so when we upgrade our license, then the bug is resolved at that time. Bugs are always resolved, but the time it takes to resolve them depends on the next product release.
Shortly after our install of the product, we had a deadline to produce a large number of reports for the college. SAS was able to provide us assistance in producing the foundation for many of those reports, as we were all just starting to learn the product. By providing several basic reports using our data and according to our specifications, we were able to modify them quickly to our final specs. It also sped our learning of the product by having some examples ready to go.