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SAS Discussion Day Archive - 02/20/2002

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SAS Discussion Day Archive - 02/20/2002

Author: searchCRM
Subject: Discussion day February 20th with SAS Institute
Date Posted: 02/20/2002

Join us all day today, February 20th, for a discussion with Keith Collins, SAS's senior vice president and chief technology officer. Keith will be monitoring this discussion board throughout the day, responding to your questions and comments. This is your chance to get answers to your most important questions, so post them now.

Keith Collins
As a senior vice president and chief technology officer of SAS, Keith Collins manages the research and development divisions responsible for creating and supporting SAS software. Collins directs the company's global R&D activities, managing more than 1,100 technology development professionals at the company's world headquarters in Cary, North Carolina, and its global research facilities in Texas, Japan, Germany and Denmark. Collins' charter includes realigning staff to streamline development and hiring personnel to meet the company's growing business demands.


Author: searchCRM
Subject: Consolidation in the industry
Date Posted: 02/20/2002

Keith, do you predict a lot of consolidation for your industry this year?

Posted in response to: Consolidation in the industry
Author: KeithCollinsSAS
Subject: re: Consolidation
Date Posted: 02/20/2002

Absolutely. In the CRM space, the trend is

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very clear. We have witnessed the consolidation of tactical campaign management vendors being absorbed into CRM solutions providers—Peoplesoft's acquisition of Annuncio as the latest example.

We can also expect to see CRM front-office vendors such as Siebel to begin extending their reach into traditional SAS areas of customer intelligence. Like the major ERP investments businesses made in the early 90's, there came a time when organizations recognized that business process automation was a necessary, but not sufficient condition for creating business value. Organizations discovered they had to rely on business intelligence vendors like SAS to maximize these investments.

Similarly today, organization's investments in automating the call center or automating customer service means these same organizations will need to develop customer intelligence to maximize the investments made in 'customer-automation'. Spending $10 million to automate a call center to process 50,000 calls a day is not a maximized investment until the organization applies customer intelligence to determine which prospects should be at the top of the queue based on a propensity to respond measure.

Author: IgorKatelikov
Subject: RAD tools for SAS (question to Keith Collins)
Date Posted: 02/20/2002

Does SAS have own tools for Rapid Application Development and Business Renginneering or that tools from third party vendors are certified by SAS ?

Posted in response to: RAD tools for SAS (question to Keith Collins)
Author: KeithCollinsSAS
Subject: RAD tools for SAS
Date Posted: 02/20/2002

SAS provides a complete standalone RAD environment called AppDev Studio(TM). Using an n-tier architecture, organizations can build client side Java applications or applets; server side J2EE web applications (using servlets, JavaServer Pages, and EJBs); CGI/HTML applications; Active Server Pages applications and traditional full client applications. These applications can leverage the full range of SAS services such as data access methods, data manipulation, analytics, and reporting services.

SAS AppDev Studio provides a JavaBeans component library and a full featured Java development environment. AppDev Studio is J2EE 1.3 certified and conforms to all relevant Java and web standards. In fact, SAS is the first BI vendor to achieve compatibility with J2EE as noted on our website, http://www.sas.com/news/preleases/012802/news1.html . Through the use of the provided SAS InformationBeans(TM), organizations can quickly incorporate SAS decision support services into their applications. Additionally, AppDev Studio provides assisted development technologies (wizards) so that developers can quickly wrap their custom SAS functionality as InformationBeans that can be exposed to Java applications. Additional reusability can be gained by incorporating third-party JavaBeans or JSP tag libraries.

Looking at Business Reengineering, SAS, from a technology perspective, provides production capabilities as well as extensive customization technologies to realign business processes that achieve corporate initiatives.

From a business perspective, we work with our strategic SAS Alliance Consulting Partners, such as Accenture, Cap Gemini Ernst & Young and PwC, to assist companies with their reengineering efforts. The technology of SAS Strategic Performance Management supports the reengineering initiatives and subsequent direction with the technology to operationalize the strategic framework.

Author: searchCRM
Subject: Is 'analytics' overused?
Date Posted: 02/20/2002

In October, searchCRM interviewed SAS CEO Jim Goodnight. In that interview, Goodnight said: "the term analytics is overused." We also asked some of our members to comment on this notion earlier this week and we had a lot of response -- some agreed, some disagreed. Can you provide a clear definition of this term and provide insight on why SAS thinks it's overused?

Posted in response to: Is 'analytics' overused?
Author: KeithCollinsSAS
Subject: re: Is 'analytics' overused?
Date Posted: 02/20/2002

It's overuse has more to do with market claims of 'me-too-, and the need to be couched in business terms. We continue to hear everyone speak of analytics, and while they are important, what is more important the benefits they provide a business. For example, an analyst might develop a model using a particular predictive technique, select a number of input measures and produce an output score. Without a business context to place this in, this is essential a meaningless activity.

A better way to examine this process is in the context of a particular business issue. If I want to increase profitability, I can either attempt to increase the number of customers I sell or increase the number of products I sell to existing customers. In today's economic climate, most companies will likely place more focus on the latter. I can use the process described above to create intelligence about the customers I have. Thus, successful companies are going to focus on building this intelligence about their most precious assets, their customers, and by taking this intelligence into the business process, make more informed decisions. The goal is to build customer intelligence by applying the various techniques and ensuring the resulting measures are applied to everyday business decision-making processes.

Author: pgeller
Subject: License base SAS?
Date Posted: 02/20/2002

Is it true that you have to license base SAS in order to use any of your analytical modules? I understand you "rent" your software rather than license it. How much would this base license cost for, say, 50 users? Posted in response to: License base SAS?
Author: KeithCollinsSAS
Subject: re: License base SAS?
Date Posted: 02/20/2002

Yes, you must license Base SAS software in order to use analytical modules. Base SAS software is the foundation for an extensible set of software components including software modules for analytics. In order to achieve platform portability, Base SAS contains a number of shared services which uses a host layer to map internal services needed for SAS execution to external services provided by the host environments. Base SAS software also provides a user application layer for a set of common services such as data access, data manipulation, univariate analysis, and reporting.

The licensing model is on an annual renewable basis which includes documentation, technical support, and software updates and enhancements. The cost for a 50-user license is a function of which platform you expect to run the software. I recommend you contact our software sales to obtain pricing information. We have over 50 offices throughout North America and over 100 offices in the major countries around the world.

Author: Chen11
Subject: text mining
Date Posted: 02/20/2002

What types of unstructured data can your text mining product really analyse?

Posted in response to: text mining
Author: KeithCollinsSAS
Subject: re: text mining
Date Posted: 02/20/2002

SAS Text Miner provides a complete set of text processing tools to uncover the underlying themes or concepts that are contained in large document collections. Documents can be automatically clustered into groups, classified into predefined categories and, more generally, predictive models can be built in order to predict the outcome of a response variable based on the contents of the text. With SAS Text Miner, organizations can access and analyze written content against as many as 15 types of data files, including unstructured data sets such as e-mail, Microsoft Word, ASCII and ANSI text, PDF files and HTML files. SAS Text Miner supports multiple languages including French, English and German. An important point to note is SAS is the only vendor that can seamlessly link unstructured data and structured/numeric data for more comprehensive results.

Posted in response to: RAD tools for SAS
Author: IgorKatelikov
Subject: Re:RAD tools for SAS
Date Posted: 02/20/2002

Thank You very much for the answer.
How to be if we use only SAS BASE and SAS AF ?

Posted in response to: Re:RAD tools for SAS
Author: KeithCollinsSAS
Subject: re: RAD tools/Reengineering
Date Posted: 02/20/2002

There are a variety of ways you can use Base SAS, SAS AF and several other SAS technologies to assist in business reengineering. To appropriately answer your question, we need to have an exploratory conversation to understand exactly what you are interested in reengineering and what would be the most appropriate solution for you using SAS technologies. I recommend you contact one of our SAS offices for further discussion on this subject. We have over 50 offices throughout North America and over 100 offices in the major countries around the world.

Author: IgorKatelikov
Subject: SAS v.9 multithreaded capabilities
Date Posted: 02/20/2002

I heard, what in SAS v.9 multithreaded capabilities will be implemented only for a few procedures/components. What exactly procedures/components ? And once one question. What is a ship date of SAS v.9 ?

Posted in response to: SAS v.9 multithreaded capabilities
Author: KeithCollinsSAS
Subject: SAS v.9 multithreaded capabilities
Date Posted: 02/20/2002

Multithreaded capabilities are one of the cornerstones of our new release improving SAS' scalability over large volumes of data. We are excited about announcing the details of SAS v.9 at our SAS Users Group International (SUGI) conference in April. To acquire a comprehensive understanding of the new procedures associated with multithreaded capabilities, I invite you to attend SUGI on April 14-17, 2002 in Orlando, Florida. For more information please go to: http://www.sas.com/usergroups/sugi/intro.html Early adopter sites are working with v.9 currently and it will be available in third quarter 2002. If you are interested in discussing early access to v.9, I recommend you contact our software sales department. We have over 50 offices throughout North America and over 100 offices in the major countries around the world.

Author: searchCRM
Subject: CRM in the financial services sector
Date Posted: 02/20/2002

A good percentage of SAS customers come from the financial services sector -- are you finding that CRM spending has slowed in this vertical market?

Posted in response to: CRM in the financial services sector
Author: KeithCollinsSAS
Subject: re: CRM in the financial services sector
Date Posted: 02/20/2002

A recent report from Meridian Research, CRM Spending Update: Hitting the Wall or Taking a Time-Out? December 19, 2001 states "The pace of financial institutions launching new CRM IT initiatives moderated overall, declining along with the rate of spending as 2001 progressed and reversing the accelerating trend from 1997 into 2000. Financial institutions that excelled at execution were the exception and more or less continued with their current CRM spending plans. Our original estimate for 2001 for total retail CRM spending of US$6.8 billion was not realized. This report revises our retail CRM spending estimate for 2001 downward to US$6.7 billion, which includes front-office and analytical CRM initiatives, an 11 percent increase over 2000". Our own indications are that spend in banking and financial services remains healthy, particularly as these organizations focus on the customer intelligence imperative.

What we have also seen is these organizations are willing to make the appropriate investments; however, these investments receive far greater scrutiny than they might have just 12 to 24 months ago. The economic buyers want to ensure the investments made in solutions have a demons ratable and reasonable payback period.

We have had significant wins at three different financials services organizations in the past quarter; one in the U.S., one in Australia, and one in Singapore for the SAS Marketing Automation solution. In all three cases, one of the main drivers for winning this new business was the recognition that these organizations could no longer justify their 'above-the-line' advert spend and needed to move to a more targeted customer and prospect communication and intervention strategy.

Author: JavaJane
Subject: How does SAS help customers measure ROI?
Date Posted: 02/20/2002

How does SAS help customers measure ROI? Can you provide an example of your best customer success ROI statistic?

Posted in response to: How does SAS help customers measure ROI?
Author: KeithCollinsSAS
Subject: re: How does SAS help customers measure ROI?
Date Posted: 02/20/2002

This is a great question. We have several ways we help organizations measure and achieve ROI. Using our SAS Marketing Automation solution as an example, we sit down with customers and review their current communication and customer intervention spend. These include the typical average numbers of campaigns per year, campaign size, average response rates, and average value per responder, which goes into determining calculating returns from existing campaigns.

We then project with the company the value of customer intelligence by setting key performance goals such as reducing campaign size (and cost), improving response rates, increasing average value per responder and improving customer retention rates. At the end of this exercise, we have estimated the direct cost savings and increased revenues. Taking into account total cost of ownership of the solution, we can estimate the expected return over a given time period.

Our customers use different Key Performance Indicators to assess their ROI. An example of some successful results our customers have reported back to us after using SAS include: - Improved customer retention rate by 33%
- Reduced campaign cycle time from 12 weeks to 2 weeks
- Reduced customer attrition by 50%
- Annual campaign execution savings of $750,000

Posted in response to: re: How does SAS help customers measure ROI?
Author: OliverQ
Subject: re: How does SAS help customers measure ROI?
Date Posted: 02/20/2002

Can you be more specific about the customer ROI stats you referenced? What industries are they in? how long did it take to get those stats?

Author: itsaUNIX
Subject: Defining CRM
Date Posted: 02/20/2002

A lot of people (vendors) have a lot of definitions about what CRM really is. What's yours?

Posted in response to: Defining CRM
Author: KeithCollinsSAS
Subject: re: Defining CRM
Date Posted: 02/20/2002

First and foremost, people need to pursue CRM as an enterprise-wide strategic initiative that aligns its people, processes and technology to be customer centric in order to optimize customer satisfaction and profitability which ultimately increases shareholder value.

From a strictly technical perspective, common terms used to define CRM solutions are analytical and operational. Operational CRM solutions denote the technology used to automate front-end customer touch point processes, such as a Sales Force or Call Center Automation solutions or a Website Content Management solution. On the other hand, Analytical CRM solutions, such as those offered by SAS, refer to technology that supplies decision makers with customer intelligence which provides a better understanding of a customer. When customer intelligence derived from Analytical CRM solutions is deployed through the Operational CRM technology, it enables companies to facilitate more effective interactions with customers--at the point of contact--and to build more profitable relationships.

Analytical CRM Solutions, as defined by SAS, include functionality allowing customer centric warehousing, query and reporting capabilities, predictive modeling and data mining, campaign management and delivery of customer intelligence to front-office systems.

Posted in response to: re: How does SAS help customers measure ROI?
Author: KeithCollinsSAS
Subject: re: ROI
Date Posted: 02/20/2002

Sure, I've listed the industries for each of the stats below. Off the top of my head, I do not know the exact time it took to achieve these specific successes. But I can give you a high level estimate of within one year after implementation. Implementation, depending on how complex the initiative is, can take anywhere from 3 months to 18 months.
- Telecommunications: Improved customer retention rate by 33%.
- Insurance: Reduced campaign cycle time from 12 weeks to 2 weeks
- Financial Services: Reduced customer attrition by 50%
- Telecommunications: Annual campaign execution savings of $750,000

Author: OliverQ
Date Posted: 02/20/2002

How does your analytics package compare to that of SPSS or Quadstone?

Posted in response to: CRM Vendor Selection Series
Author: KeithCollinsSAS
Subject: SAS Strengths
Date Posted: 02/20/2002

We believe we have the most robust analytical software solution in the industry. Rather than speak to a feature-by-feature comparison, let me discuss three primary attributes we feel are our key differentiators. SAS is superior due to its richness of the wide-range of descriptive and predictive analytics techniques. To give you some idea of overall investment in research and development, we have over 1,400 full-time programmers, analysts, statisticians, application developers and testers. Of these, many have advanced degrees in areas ranging from operations research, decision sciences, quantitative analysis, econometric modeling and numerical analysis. These on-going investments in intellectual capital ensure we not only provide the latest in analytical techniques but provide new functionality to meet business needs. A good example of this can be seen in the response I provided earlier regarding our new offering for text mining.

Another attribute we focus on is application richness and scalability. We have provided not only a rich set of analytical techniques, but experience has shown us the need to provide a rich set of data access and manipulation techniques. Regardless of whether the problem is measuring customer profitability or building predictive models to measure propensity to churn, analysts need to be able to shape the data to fit the problem. We hear over and over that 80% of the problem for analytics is a data management problem. That is why we have focused R&D investments in areas such as ensuring SAS software supports different hardware platforms, can access legacy files as well as relational databases, and allows for a rich set of data manipulations to complement the breadth of analytical techniques we offer today.

The third attribute we focus on is scalability which is critical to today's large enterprises. Data mining is a classic example where access is needed to large volumes of data, both in terms of rows and columns. The ability to process gigabytes and even terabytes of customer data is essential in many CRM applications. So software scalability and performance is a critical goal. Another aspect of scalability is our ability to support our global customer install base. This means we have to be able to provide 24X7 support worldwide. Finally, we recognize organizations are attempting to rationalize the number of software vendors with which they do business. For over 25 years SAS has been a stable, profitable, software vendor which is critical when choosing a strategic partner.

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