Instead of showcasing new features embedded in its SAS Viya analytical suite, the New York publisher chose to announce the availability of solutions aimed at certain market segments.
SAS (which is more) is strengthening its offer segmentation
SAS 360 Match (formerly SAS Intelligent Advertising for Publishers) is an advertising delivery platform for AVOD (Video On Demand Advertising) platform providers. SAS 360 Match integrates with SAS’s CDP offer. It should offer functionality to track, evaluate and monetize audience segments through an orchestration of targeted advertising. With the decline of SVOD (Subscription Video On Demand), SAS sees it as an opportunity to target newcomers and specialists in this sector who want to change their business model.
Available later this year, the SAS Clinical Enrollment Simulation Cloud is a SaaS offering accessible from the Azure Marketplace. As its name suggests, it allows you to simulate the enrollment of patients in clinical trials and plan evaluation stages with doctors or medications, thanks to a discrete-event simulation engine. Here again, the publisher wants to position itself in a market that is unfortunately emerging due to the pandemic. The health emergency has proven that it is no longer possible to wait 6 to 10 years to market a vaccine. In this context, SAS understands that laboratories have every interest in expediting their clinical trials.
Another sector, another solution. SAS represents GridGuardian AI, an IoT analytics solution aimed at energy companies wishing to set up predictive maintenance mechanisms in the equipment that houses their electrical distribution networks. For this, SAS has set up a partnership with the IoT and radio frequency analysis specialist, Exacter.
To target industrial and logistics players, SAS will also enter into a partnership with Lyonnais Cosmo Tech, which specializes in the simulation and design of 2D digital twins. Together, the two publishers want to develop a “digital twin” based on hybrid AI, to connect sales predictions, the order book and production data.
The offer in question will be based on the SAS Cloud for Intelligent Planning suite, along with the Cosmo Tech simulation platform, both hosted on Azure Cloud. The two partners plan to respond to issues such as reducing waste and improving the quality of manufacturing on production lines, quickly adapting to demand, while minimizing losses, controlling costs, or even anticipating costs. risk that could – again – interfere with the functioning of the supply chain, as has happened since the health crisis and war in Ukraine.
SAS covers the Microsoft ecosystem
IoT, simulation, digital twins, cloud, SaaS … The use of these themes is fully linked to SAS’s “strategic” cloud partner since 2020: Microsoft Azure.
In fact, Cosmo Tech first signed a partnership with the cloud giant to offer an offer similar to the one it intended to give to SAS.
More importantly, SAS decided to deploy its SAS Viya platform on Microsoft Azure, built on a “cloud-native and agnostic” architecture. Recently, the editor has not only offered several solutions specifically addressed to certain industries, but also integrated SAS Event Stream Processing with Azure IoT Edge and Azure IoT Hub, to ingest “real-time “data from connected objects. .
Additionally, SAS Intelligent Decisioning is integrated with Power Automate and Power Apps to automate the application of rules after determining events collected in batch or streaming. SAS Model Manager, an MLOps tool, interacts with Azure Machine Learning, the AWS SageMaker competitor service. Model Manager can also assist in deploying machine learning models in the Azure Synapse Analytics data warehouse.
SAS has other technology partners, including Red Hat (SAS Viya is available on OpenShift) and the publisher of the NewSQL database (and In-Memory), SingleStore. To deploy the solutions to its customers, the company approached several GSI. During its press conference, SAS mainly featured Accenture. Logic: Accenture is very close to Microsoft. As a reminder, these two actors have formed a joint venture together: Avanade. But he also mentioned Deloitte, EY and KPMG.
In this sense, the speakers expressed confidence in the cloud and SAS partnership strategies. In fact, the partners “influenced” 60% of new sales last year and 55% of new contracts worth more than $ 1 million.
Overall, by 2021, SAS revenues from cloud offerings will rise between 18% and 19%, “and this despite the pandemic”, spokespersons said. The customer base installed in the cloud grew 26%. According to Jay Upchurch, executive vice president and CIO of SAS, “78% of this growth is due to the move of current customers, the rest represents new logos”.
Cloud offer performance was stronger in Asia-Pacific, with 48% growth, and in EMEA (29%).
The manager ensures that SMEs, ETI and large groups use SAS Viya in the public cloud. “Our growth in the cloud is driven by industries with specific needs, primarily government, financial services, and the medical and pharmaceutical industries,” he continued.
If it is usually stingy with details, the publisher decides to present part of its results in the manner of a listed company. And it’s no small feat: since 2021, Jim Goodnight, longtime CEO of SAS, is expected to conduct an IPO in 2024.
“Preparing for this IPO is a phase of change, a phase where we are focused on change, our market leadership and our engagement with our shareholders,” said Gavin Day, senior vice president in charge for corporate programs in SAS. “SAS is the founder and the future of analytics. And this future is possible thanks to our partners,” he said.
Cloud Challenges: Customer Demands are considered
Jay UpchurchExecutive VP and CIO, SAS
Last year, the company generated 3.2 billion dollars in turnover, against 3.1 billion dollars in 2020. However, the cloud represents “only” 10% of SAS’s net turnover.
In fact, the publisher is taking a “cloud first” approach to historical customers or to those reluctant to move to the cloud without the assurance of their data protection. As a result, leaders say they are confident, but cautious. As such, Jay Upchurch identified three challenges that must be overcome to succeed in this cloud transformation: “accompanying the customer on their transition at their own pace, adding more third-party connectors to SaaS and cloud software, and reducing the cost of analytical workloads … in the cloud ”.
The vice president and general manager didn’t mention it, but having more than 270 products, extensions and functions in its catalog shouldn’t play in its favor when the customer moves to the cloud. The difficult gymnastics of license management can cause some headaches for CIOs.
It is also necessary to consider the evolution of the update cycle. SAS maintains two LTS releases of its analytics platform each year. Thus, 2021.2 is supported for the long term, but version 2021.2.6, available from April 2022, is considered stable.
Finally, SAS is still in the process of strengthening the data science functionalities already known by a good portion of its competitors. For example, it discusses support for Parquet and ORC file formats, which new competitors such as Databricks have already mastered, as well as its optimization of support for graph analyzes.