SAS 9 goes modular

SAS 9 goes modular

With the latest update of its flagship statistical software, SAS 9, SAS Institute Inc. of Cary, N.C., is stressing a building-block nature to fit more easily into agency enterprise architectures.

'We provide an almost one-to-one match from the Office of Management and Budget's enterprise architecture definitions to our platform definitions,' said Jeff Babcock, SAS public-sector vice president. 'The government is asking vendors to come forward with component-based architectures. It's trying to get away from boutique technology that doesn't have a lot of extendable use or can't scale to multiple problems.'

The SAS 9 Intelligence Platform can serve as a foundation for individualized business analytics, using data from multiple vendors' process, storage, query and reporting tools. It includes extraction, transformation and loading software; storage management software; a business intelligence server; and an analytic toolkit for analytics, algorithms, mathematical manipulation and modeling.

SAS is pitching the base software to consolidate multiple business intelligence jobs. For example, Babcock said, an agency could combine human resources data with financial data in a single view.

'An agency might have to rely on five or 10 applications to make that happen, and there is no interoperability among them,' he said.

To augment the base platform, the company will release seven add-on modules in the next year. The modules will handle specific tasks: marketing automation, risk assessment, and management of activities, finances, IT, performance and suppliers.

In addition to modularity, SAS 9 also has multithreading, allowing a single operation to run across multiple servers. 'Most processes will run two to three times faster' than with the earlier version, said Jennifer Hill, SAS marketing director of public-sector strategy.

The new SAS platform also has a unified look and feel with a Web interface. Whereas previous SAS modules had varied interfaces, all the new products will look and operate in a similar fashion.

The price of an SAS 9 installation might range from $500,000 to $1.1 million, depending on addition of collaboration, integration and analytical tools, and presentation capabilities, Babcock said.

SAS federal users include the Air Force Materiel Command, Census Bureau, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Defense Manpower Data Center, Environmental Protection Agency, General Accounting Office and Treasury Department.

About the Author

Joab Jackson is the senior technology editor for Government Computer News.

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