SAS Serves It Up on Demand
SAS has furthered its push into the on-demand market by launching the on-demand versions of its BI, supplier relationship management, marketing automation, and counter money-laundering products. The firm has also rolled out the on-demand version of Veridiem MRM, the marketing-resource-management functionality it acquired from privately held Veridiem, which was announced in March.
These offerings are not the company's initial efforts to gain footing in the on-demand territory. SAS first entered the on-demand market five years ago with its SAS Solutions On Demand: Web Analytics offering, and saw its hosted business total $20 million in sales last year.
SAS Solutions OnDemand: Business Intelligence helps organizations derive intelligence from disparate data sources across the enterprise like customer, operational, and financial sources of data, while SAS Solutions OnDemand: Supplier Relationship Management helps companies analyze spending on raw materials and supplies. SAS Solutions OnDemand: Marketing Automation provides data management, campaign management, and customer analytics capabilities. SAS Solutions OnDemand: Anti-Money Laundering is a risk-based monitoring and alert system that helps financial services organizations comply with regulations and lower the risk of illegal money-laundering activities. SAS Solutions OnDemand: Veridiem MRM helps organizations track and improve the effectiveness of marketing investments and includes marketing analysis and simulation capabilities.
The idea behind the on-demand offerings is to provide rich functionality rather than watered-down versions of products, says Richard Roach, senior director of SAS Solutions OnDemand. "We're not cutting down the value of the solution whether you are a small, medium, or large customer. There's a lot more mindshare for this on-demand type capability and customers want the option many times."
The launches are indicative of more interest in on-demand BI functionality. In April, BI player Business Objects announced the availability of crystalreports.com, an on-demand report-sharing platform targeting SMB organizations. Christina McKeon, marketing manager for BI at SAS, however, says the Business Objects' offering is "really just providing some static PDF reports." With the SAS Solutions On Demand for BI, she says, "you're actually getting the full functionality of BI," so that anyone from managers to nontechnical users can be served.
Naturally, Business Objects takes a different stance. "There is a tremendous difference between simply hosting your current applications for your customers like SAS is doing, and truly providing a software as a service offering like we are doing with CrystalReports.com," says James Thomas, senior director of product marketing at Business Objects.
Bill Gassman, research director at Gartner, has been looking for on-demand BI to emerge. He estimates that 80 percent of the revenue generated in the Web-analytics space is on-demand, a space that includes Coremetrics, Omniture, WebSideStory, and WebTrends, all of which deliver on-demand functionality. "If it's a core competency, if it's something like around supply chain that...[you] have very, very specific processes, you might want to keep it in-house because it is your core competency, it's your value. But if it's something that's just a commodity type of function you might want to consider going outside," he says. "[On demand] is not for everybody, but if the infrastructure behind it and if the domain knowledge is there, there's no reason not to at least consider it, and especially in Web analytics."
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