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SAS Visual Analytics OverviewUNIXBusinessApplication

SAS Visual Analytics is #4 ranked solution in top Data Visualization tools. PeerSpot users give SAS Visual Analytics an average rating of 8 out of 10. SAS Visual Analytics is most commonly compared to Tableau: SAS Visual Analytics vs Tableau. SAS Visual Analytics is popular among the large enterprise segment, accounting for 70% of users researching this solution on PeerSpot. The top industry researching this solution are professionals from a computer software company, accounting for 23% of all views.
SAS Visual Analytics Buyer's Guide

Download the SAS Visual Analytics Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: June 2022

What is SAS Visual Analytics?

SAS Visual Analytics is a data visualization tool that is used for reporting, data exploration, and analytics. The solution enables users - even those without advanced analytical skills - to understand and examine patterns, trends, and relationships in data. SAS Visual Analytics makes it easy to create and share reports and dashboards that monitor business performance. By using the solution, users can handle, understand, and analyze their data in both past and present fields, as well as influence vital factors for future changes. SAS Visual Analytics is most suitable for larger companies with complex needs.

SAS Visual Analytics Features

SAS Visual Analytics has many valuable key features. Some of the most useful ones include:

  • Data
  • Interactive data discovery
  • Augmented analytics
  • Chat-enabled analytics
  • Sharing and collaboration
  • Visual analytics apps
  • Embedded insights
  • Location analytics
  • Security and administration
  • In-memory engine

SAS Visual Analytics Benefits

There are many benefits to implementing SAS Visual Analytics. Some of the biggest advantages the solution offers include:

  • Machine learning and natural language: SAS Visual Analytics uses machine learning and natural language explanations to find, visualize, and narrate stories and insights that are easy to understand and explain. This enables you to find out why something happened, examine all options, and uncover opportunities hidden deep in your data.
  • Easy and efficient reporting: With SAS Visual Analytics, you can create interactive reports and dashboards so you can quickly summarize key performance metrics and share them via the web and mobile devices.
  • Easy to use: SAS Visual Analytics was designed to be easy to use. Its easy-to-use predictive analytics enables even business analysts to assess possible outcomes, which also helps organizations make smarter, data-driven decisions.
  • Self-service data: Self-service data preparation gives users the ability to import their own data, join tables, create calculated columns, apply data quality functions, and more. In turn, the solution empowers users to access, combine, clean, and prepare their own data in an agile way, which helps facilitate faster, broader adoption of analytics for your entire organization.

Reviews from Real Users

Below are some reviews and helpful feedback written by PeerSpot users currently using the SAS Visual Analytics solution.

A Senior Manager at a consultancy says, “The solution is very stable. The scalability is good. The usability is quite good. It's quite easy to learn and to progress with SAS from an end-user perspective.

PeerSpot user Robert H., Co-owner at Hecht und Heck GmbH, comments, “What I really love about the software is that I have never struggled in implementing it for complex business requirements. It is good for highly sophisticated and specialized statistics in the areas that some people tend to call artificial intelligence. It is used for everything that involves visual presentation and analysis of highly sophisticated statistics for forecasting and other purposes.

Andrea D., Chief Technical Officer at Value Partners, explains, “The best feature is that SAS is not a single BI tool. Rather, it is part of an ecosystem of tools, such as tools that help a user to develop artificial intelligence, algorithms, and so on. SAS is an ecosystem. It's an ecosystem of products. We've found the product to be stable and reliable. The scalability is good.”

SAS Visual Analytics was previously known as SAS BI.

SAS Visual Analytics Customers

Staples, Ausgrid, Scotiabank, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, Oklahoma Gas & Electric, Xcel Energy, and Triad Analytics Solutions.

SAS Visual Analytics Video

Archived SAS Visual Analytics Reviews (more than two years old)

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IT Project Manager with 5,001-10,000 employees
Real User
Easy to create a forecast, discover insights, but visualization needs work
Pros and Cons
  • "Quick deployment to dashboards and analytics features (using SAS Visual Statistics and Enterprise Guide). Easy to create a simple forecast and discover business insights using segmentation tools."
  • "Better connectivity with other data origins, better visualization, and the ability to create KPIs directly would all help."
  • "There are scalability issues. It depends on the data volume and number of end-users. VA requires a lot of hardware resources to move volumes of data."

How has it helped my organization?

Quick deployment to dashboards and analytics features (using SAS Visual Statistics and Enterprise Guide). Easy to create a simple forecast and discover business insights using segmentation tools.

What is most valuable?

Agility in dashboard creation and evaluating statistics with simple models.

What needs improvement?

Connectivity with other data origins Visualization is poor Create KPIs directly

For how long have I used the solution?

One to three years.
Buyer's Guide
SAS Visual Analytics
June 2022
Learn what your peers think about SAS Visual Analytics. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: June 2022.
607,332 professionals have used our research since 2012.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Normally it is stable, if the hardware is correct.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

There are scalability issues. It depends on the data volume and number of end-users. VA requires a lot of hardware resources to move volumes of data.

How are customer service and support?

Seven out of 10 for the SAS Support home page and direct support.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

QlikView and Qlik Sense, IBM Cognos suite.

How was the initial setup?

The straightforward part: Create a dashboard and calculate attributes. You don’t need programming experience using SAS Visual Analytics. You can export to Excel or PDF directly. The complex part: Creating a relationship between tables.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Compare pricing online with other vendors; licensing type is simple.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Qlik, IBM Cognos, MicroStrategy, and others.
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
PeerSpot user
Statisticien at a government with self employed
Real User
Simplifies report designs and quickly displays tables and graphs
Pros and Cons
  • "Simplifies report designs and quickly displays tables and graphs."
  • "The speed to display charts and react to users' choices is great."
  • "The charts and tables could use better sorting, primarily using other variables than the ones on the figure. If they could implement views like in the older version (previous to Viya), it would be very nice."

What is our primary use case?

We use Base SAS to extract IIS logs and prepare them for analysis. Then, we load them in SAS Visual Analytics to feed the reports that we made (tables and charts). We use dynamics dropdown lists to add interactivity (such as year/month).

How has it helped my organization?

Simplifies report designs and quickly displays tables and graphs. Time is not wasted thinking about what I want, then waiting for 30 minutes before seeing the display was not it.

What is most valuable?

The speed to display charts and react to users' choices is great. We use different  charts and they added some new ones since the last version which are great to display what we have to show.

What needs improvement?

The charts and tables could use better sorting, primarily using other variables than the ones on the figure. If they could implement views like in the older version (previous to Viya), it would be very nice.

For how long have I used the solution?

Less than one year.
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Buyer's Guide
SAS Visual Analytics
June 2022
Learn what your peers think about SAS Visual Analytics. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: June 2022.
607,332 professionals have used our research since 2012.
it_user543933 - PeerSpot reviewer
MSc. Health Informatics at a training & coaching company
Vendor
the best tool for insightful and analytical dashboard development and reporting
Pros and Cons
  • "The alert generation feature also helps in sending out ad hoc messages to the business users if business thresholds have been crossed."
  • "Colours used on report objects"

What is most valuable?

Majorly, SAS is a statistical analysis tool and the statistics incorporated within the VA/VS of a business intelligence tool is quite sufficient. It enables the users to generate insightful reports rather than just descriptive reports. Automated mechanisms of dissemination of reports to business users on emails doesn’t require them to login to the portal to view the reports. The alert generation feature also helps in sending out ad hoc messages to the business users if business thresholds have been crossed. Reports for administrators help customers to follow up on the usage of SAS VA/VS and can also contribute in understanding how to improvise the usage of the tool. The licensing policy of SAS VA is not user-based, but it’s based on the volume of data to be loaded on SAS VA.

How has it helped my organization?

I cannot comment on this since I belong to an organisation who sells and implements this tool, but our customers are satisfied with this tool.

What needs improvement?

  • Colours used on report objects
  • Look and feel
  • Nested calculations

For how long have I used the solution?

I’ve used this solution for approximately two years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

No.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

No, as I mentioned earlier the licensing policy for SAS VA is flexible according to data volumes and concurrency of development, and it isn’t user-based.

How are customer service and technical support?

Good.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

No.

How was the initial setup?

That depends on the environment. There are two different setups: Distributed and Non-distributed deployment. I cannot comment on the complexity of the installation and configuration.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Know your data volumes needed for reporting, and project your data growth for at least five years to size your servers right!

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I sell and implement this tool. The evaluation is always at the customer end.

What other advice do I have?

Go ahead and do it! It’s the best tool for insightful and analytical dashboard development and reporting.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Reseller
it_user393597 - PeerSpot reviewer
SAS Visual Analytics Administrator at a financial services firm with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
​It has taken out the step of preparing the reports so it shortened our turnaround time.

Valuable Features:

The variety of graphs and charts make it easy to show the data in a way that's easy to interpret.

Improvements to My Organization:

It has taken out the step of preparing the reports so it shortened our turnaround time. You only need to prepare the report once. Anytime an updated report is needed, you just need to upload an updated data mart.

Room for Improvement:

There are a lot of technicalities in setting up the product. 

Use of Solution:

Setting it up will probably take a while.

Deployment Issues:

Setting it up will probably take a while.

Stability Issues:

There have been no issues with its stability.

Scalability Issues:

There have been no issues scaling it.

Other Advice:

Coordinate with your IT department so they'll know the specific requirements of the product.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
PeerSpot user
Junior Business Analyst at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
Consultant
It provides interactive reporting with various statistical graphs.

What is most valuable?

Interactive reporting with various statistical graphs. The company was able to see the 360 view of how the customers were consuming their services in terms of membership, events and educational purposes from a central data storage loaded in SAS which was very hard to achieve without the software.

How has it helped my organization?

It removes functional silos that departments have before. With the use of SAS Visual Analytics, the marketing department can actually see if their campaigns are actually working by looking at the data from the finance department. It also tightens the unnecessary access of data from other departments by restriction features in SAS.

What needs improvement?

It will be better if SAS can accomodate Survey data as some organisations are would like to load their survey results and analyse in SAS. Easier data cleaning features in SAS Enterprise would also help them clean data faster before loading into SAS VA.

For how long have I used the solution?

For about 8 months.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

I did not encounter any issues with the deployment. It all went well with ongoing support from SAS. The technical support team was very helpful.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I do not experience any. It all went well with the ongoing support from SAS. The technical support team was very helpful throughout.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

No issues so far. I do not see any problems with larger data sets. SAS has the power to accomodate it. SAS technical support team can also provide advice on the issues with scalability.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

The customer service provided was valuable. Customer Intelligence Manager and Support team closely interacts with the company to make sure deployment and utilising SAS as smooth as possible.

Technical Support:

I would rate 9/10. The technical team has always been responsive and willing to provide the knowledge they have to resolve issues.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I did not use any solution before. We decided to use SAS straightaway. There wasn't any analytics solution we use before.

How was the initial setup?

The set up was not very straightforward as our company using a remote server that is not hosted on the company so we had to contact the server company and SAS back and forth to make sure setup is stable and ready to use.

What about the implementation team?

It was a mixed of vendor team and the server company we have offsite. The vendor team has high level of expertise and guided us through how to implement the whole system and ways to utilise it.

What was our ROI?

I work as Data Analyst and I am not allowed to disclose this. I do see that SAS can help in the company by customer retention and acquisition.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

I think given the power of analytics and how it can improve your company, the price for licensing is worth it although it may be regarded as pricy for smaller organization.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluate other softwares. We found that SAS can take data from other applications such as Salesforce and many other enterprise applications.

What other advice do I have?

Overall, I think SAS VA is a great software for interactive reporting. It is also very user friendly and allows people with no statistical or computing background to learn quickly to analyse data across the company.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user392361 - PeerSpot reviewer
Principal Engineer Processing at a mining and metals company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
It provides self-service for analytics where other systems are not so intuitive. ​

What is most valuable?

Since it is simply drag and drop it makes data inspection easy. It is the most complete in its fulfilment of the "vision". Mostly used for creating structured reports that can be replicated. It provides self-service for analytics where other systems are not so intuitive.

How has it helped my organization?

The advanced and predictive analytics where disparate time series dataset need to be combined based on irregular time and other, it was not the best tool. It was fairly structured in how it wanted the data. It was however good for visualisation of individual datasets and transformed datasets. Serves a specific purpose in making analytics more "self service". The more advanced calculations etc. are best done elsewhere, specifically time series.

What needs improvement?

I'd like to see the ability to use Python or other codes within the workflow. The helpdesk was not great. Part of the reason why we went back to open source Python was that their help desk could not solve our problems quickly enough.

For how long have I used the solution?

We've had it for two months on a trial basis to assist with data visualisation and data quality control.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

There were no issues with the deployment.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The LAZR server did not like some datasets being uploaded which was perfectly fine to visualise in something as simple as Excel. Could not figure it out.

How are customer service and technical support?

3/10

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Used Python and R, as well as Rapidminer for data exploration and visualisation. Tried SAS for two months and found it too slow and not flexible enough. Visual Analytics is recommended for a "production" environment and not development. We were heavily focused on development.

How was the initial setup?

Simple to set up. No issues. Fairly intuitive.

What about the implementation team?

Through the vendor. Make sure that the correct level of support is available to work though early issues. So that help desk tickets can be escalated.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Reasonable for what you get. Very good production/operations tool to enable self services of analytics. Not good for development.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

What other advice do I have?

Make sure you know your functional requirements up front. It is a great visualisation tool however if it does not support the tasks and objectives it may not work out for you.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user388008 - PeerSpot reviewer
Project Analyst - SAS at a renewables & environment company with 501-1,000 employees
Vendor
It was a little unintuitive and required some workarounds for tasks that should have been easy. It provides a robust way to wade through data and find the important points or trends.​

What is most valuable?

The features I found most valuable were the quick visualizations and the ease with which one could explore data sets. This gives the user a fast-moving and robust way to wade through data and find the important points or trends.

How has it helped my organization?

It created efficiencies in reporting and data visualization. I still resorted to Enterprise Guide and SQL for some of my work, but for quick visualizations without trying to reinvent the wheel, VA was fast and powerful. Given more time to learn and implement (and with a few bug fixes), VA could have greatly improved the way reporting was handled.

What needs improvement?

The product as used was a little unintuitive and required some workarounds for tasks that should have been easy e.g. automating a query for populating a data table. The problems that I was having were supposedly fixed in newer versions.

From memory, table joins and custom queries could have been a little more user friendly. I was also dealing with simple problems such as not being able to print dashboards or reports that I think were to be addressed in the next release.

For how long have I used the solution?

I used it for six month.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

There were no big issues with the deployment.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

A few problems were had with tables randomly dropping out of LASR, but no big issues that I can remember that were solely caused by the software.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

There were no issues with the scalability.

How are customer service and technical support?

Excellent. From installation to implementation, if there wasn’t a SAS consultant on site helping us work through the problem, they were very easy to get in touch with and very willing to help.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Before Visual Analytics, Enterprise Guide was used in conjunction with Information Map Studio and a couple of other products to meet reporting needs. Visual Analytics was chosen as a single software solution, and to improve reporting and visualization speed and presentation.

How was the initial setup?

It was complex in that it took some troubleshooting and brainstorming sessions to combine all environments that we needed combined and to make all needed data available.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user379647 - PeerSpot reviewer
Senior Manager, Group Analytics at a financial services firm with 10,001+ employees
Vendor
Empowers our citizen data scientists to answer their own business questions regarding customer trends and to forecast future trends.

What is most valuable?

  • Fast interactive dashboard designer
  • Visual data explorer (network analysis, sankey, model segmentation)
  • Inclusion of a really good predictive modelling visual interface

How has it helped my organization?

  • Exposure of full population transactional data to customer facing roles with ability to analyse trends and patterns
  • Empowers our citizen data scientists to answer their own business questions regarding customer trends and to forecast future trends

What needs improvement?

  • Random forest modelling in visual statistics
  • Ability to select category for display in data object from control such as drop down list

For how long have I used the solution?

I've used it for 18 months.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

There were no issues encountered with the deployment.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

There have been no issues with the stability.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

There have been no issues encountered while scaling it.

How are customer service and technical support?

Excellent service as usual from SAS.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

SAS Visual Analytics was been chosen by my employer as one of two applications for strategic data visualisation. Tableau has been adopted for general purposes, whilst SAS Visual Analytics and Visual Studio are deployed for data visualisation where analytics are the focus as opposed to regular dashboarding.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Pricing is excellent and beats a lot of the competition, especially when scaling.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user375498 - PeerSpot reviewer
Data Analyst at a comms service provider with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
The most valuable features for us are forecasting, word clouds, and the distributed flavour.

What is most valuable?

  • Forecasting
  • Word clouds
  • Distributed flavour

How has it helped my organization?

After implementation of SAS Visual Analytics, we overcome the prediction of future business and we were able to plan the future business, who are our premium customers, where we can cross-sell our products more, etc.

What needs improvement?

If there could be 100% feasibility of forecasting feature available then we could be more accurate as it's currently 95%.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've used it for one year.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

There have been no issues deploying it.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We have issues with the non-distributed flavour sometimes, as the LASR performs slow due to huge amount of data, so we need to fix it by performing a server restart.

Though the LASR has in-memory feature, but due to heavy load and computed columns in the project logic, sometimes the is performance slow, but at the same time in Distributed flavour with Hadoop the performance is always optimum.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

There have been no issues scaling it.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

8/10

Technical Support:

8/10

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I used SAS BI as well. Infomap Studio, Web Report Studio, and Information Delivery Portals(IDP), which does almost the same as this does, but much slower, and there is no dynamic look and feel, and no graphs or charts options available. Also, in SAS Visual Analytics we can prepare data exploration and reports in one platform.

How was the initial setup?

It was a completely new installation on a Unix server, so it was interesting and challenging, but if you have the installation documentation such the prerequisites and post-validation then you can replicate the installation in different environments.

What about the implementation team?

We have implemented both ways at client side as well as in-house, but I recommend that if you implement it in-house then you should have lot of projects with you otherwise it could cost you a lot for the yearly license.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The next release of SAS Visual Analytics, v10, will be cloud based, so pricing and licensing will cost you less.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

It doesn't matter if the data is live or historical, if you have visualization and analytics skills, then Visual Analytics is the best way to project the visualization of data to vendors and clients. Because the one time you invest and gain throughout the year, there are so many other tools suchas R, Matlab, Tableau, amd Qlikview available on the market, but there are certain limitations in those.

What other advice do I have?

I would suggest that you always keep it simple and keep documenting what you do. Before working for any vendor, it is always better to train a certain number of people in-house, so at the client side things will be hassle free.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
PeerSpot user
Business Analyst at a tech services company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Consultant
One of the advantages of this tool is that I can analyze data without date limitations.

What is most valuable?

The way how data is shown in the tool – using predefined views (statistical methods) is very helpful for understanding data/patterns – with such help I’m able to focus only on a specific area within my data set much easier than in other tools.

How has it helped my organization?

Handling of large volumes of data is much easier here, even with the fact that we’re using various data tools. I’m working mostly with ITIL core processes data (incident management, problem management, configuration management etc.). What this means is a lot of data on a daily basis, so one of the advantages of this tool is that I can analyze data without date limitations and I that I can do it within seconds.

What needs improvement?

Extension to more statistical functions, rest is quite OK. We always need to have in mind is that this is not a data mining tool, but an analytics tool for data exploring and for big data handling, which main advantage is in way how output is shown. It's easy to understand, nicely shown dynamic results for quick, but data-based decisions.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've used it for a maximum of one year. I’m experienced SAP Business Objects developer. Unfortunately, SAP BO is not capable to work with that large volumes of data in that short time as SAS VA is. Also the main purpose of SAS Visual Analytics is not reporting, but data exploring. I also have experience with other business intelligence/data mining tools, but I’m using mostly SAP Business Objects and SAS Visual Analytics on a daily basis.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

I wasn't involved in the deployment.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I've not experienced any issues with the stability.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I've not experienced any issues with the scalability.

How are customer service and technical support?

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I'm an experienced SAP Business Objects report developer, I have also experience with IBM SPSS, SQL Developer, with an overview of SAS Enterprise Miner, MS Excel, and other tools. The advantage of this tool  is its big data handling in seconds and its predefined statistical methods for better data evaluation and understanding.

What other advice do I have?

It’s not a full data mining tool such as SAS Enterprise Miner, but it's a very powerful analytics tool, with useful statistical options. I especially appreciate dynamic way of visualizing data, mostly used for exploring patterns in the data. And also user friendly interface – user doesn’t really need to be data scientist to use potential of this tool.

If you’re looking for advanced tool for data analysis, but you do not have enough experience for SAS Enterprise Miner, or other data mining tools, this is a good first step for you due to user friendly interface and useful options. Always keep in mind that SAS Visual Analytics is not reporting tool so it shouldn't be its substitute.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user374145 - PeerSpot reviewer
Analyst at a consultancy with 1,001-5,000 employees
Consultant
Two of the most valuable features are its forecasting capabilities and the user-friendly report access and view control.

Valuable Features:

  • Reporting capability
  • Rapid data processing
  • Seamless
  • User-friendly report access and view control
  • Forecasting capabilities

All these features blend in very well together. Users from the most non-technical backgrounds can use this tool to pull out valuable insights from their data.

Improvements to My Organization:

We implemented this product for our client as a BI/reporting tool. It has been key to addressing some major bottlenecks in our client’s CAPEX/OPEX planning.

Room for Improvement:

SAS Visual Analytics was often prone to crashing. Modules with barely 20 to 30 GB datasets took a lot of time to load even after satisfying necessary software specifications (RAM, etc.).

Use of Solution:

I've used it for roughly four months. I used this tool for reporting purposes when I was in KPMG India.

Deployment Issues:

There was no issues with the deployment.

Stability Issues:

The tool was subject to frequent crashes/errors with incremental data.

Scalability Issues:

There's been no issues with the scalability.

Customer Service:

4/10 - customer support experience has been quite poor. Perhaps this is to do with the fact that SAS India outsources its support function.

Initial Setup:

Implementation of SAS is a very complex process. In fact, SAS employs a technician at the time of implementation and it takes about 1-2 days. There are several controls/firewalls layered throughout the process.

Implementation Team:

All the technical help was provided by SAS. We were responsible for operational/post-implementation activities.

Cost and Licensing Advice:

In terms of ROI, our client was able to chart out a viable savings plan using the insights we drew using SAS Visual Analytics.

Other Solutions Considered:

SAS products/licensing fees are generally higher than industry standards.

Other Advice:

Please ensure you go through the implementation process with a SAS team member. There are a series of access/authority barriers that require SAS technical help.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user254223 - PeerSpot reviewer
Project Manager - Business Intelligence at www.datademy.es
Consultant
Data preparation, exploratory analysis, and Report Designer make this visual BI tool an effective solution, but there are competitors that also provide similar features.

Originally posted in Spanish at https://sasybi.blogspot.com.es/2015/07/sas-visual-a...

SAS Visual Analytics is a business analytics solution that allows you to visually explore all data in an easy-to-use platform that's accessible to users of all levels without statistical, technical, or design skills.

Visual Analytics within BI solutions that are available on the market are positioned within the analytical displays solutions group. In this group, we have solutions such as QlikView, Tableau, and TIBCO Spotfire, amongst others. In summary the proposed solutions have:

  • Analytical visualization tools that allow interactive analysis, relying on visualization capabilities and agile data management, allowing them to perform a free analysis of the data model imported into the tool.
  • The orientation of these tools is usually self-BI, facilitating the integration and analysis of data with little IT intervention.
  • The visualization capabilities likewise allow you to make clear and effective presentations that aid decision-making.
  • Agility and speed data management technologies rely on in-memory.
  • These tools are supported by an intuitive interface that facilitates data exploration aimed at both IT and business analysts profiles.

SAS Visual Analytics offers a complete analytical platform for displaying information, allowing you to identify patterns and relationships in data that were not previously apparent. The interactive capabilities of self-service BI and reporting combine with advanced analytics for all to help discover knowledge of data of any size and type.

Let us now look at the features of the tool, analyzing each of the main modules, and its technical architecture:

  • Data Preparation importation and preparation of data for later viewing and analysis.
  • Exploratory analysis is a module to explore, analyze and visualize data in order to identify patterns, trends and knowledge in the data.
  • Report Designer is the reporting module for report design and dashboards.

Data Preparation

SAS Visual Analytics has a module for importing data and other data preparation based on SQL which allows adapting imported data to the optimal structure for its exploitation. For most potential analyses, the recommended tool works on a table that consolidates aggregate information from multiple tables and starting file. This is the classic board obtained as N junction fact tables and dimensions. The tool also enables the option of working with a model in which star felling facts and dimensions would be separate tables.

The tool has a module for data preparation that allows data transformation on imported data for performance analysis based on a SQL query builder. This module may, thus, stop a little when transformations to be performed are fairly complex. In this case, I propose using SAS Enterprise Guide, offering the choice of Visual Analytic Pro (Visual Analytics + Enterprise Guide).

With the fields of the imported tables, it is relatively easy to derive the calculated fields using elements in a simple way, giving access to a powerful expression editor.

Exploratory analysis

One of the main differences of SAS over other analytical tools are its display analytic capabilities (predictive techniques, time series, associations, etc.) based on the long experience of SAS tools such as SAS Enterprise Miner. The algorithms apply predictive analytics for automatic detection, and you can get detailed info on the selected algorithm. You can easily create decision trees for groups or classifications in the data, as well as box-plot diagrams to learn more about the distribution of data.

The ability to easily obtain time series for process Forecasts. These processes are very simple to implement, but would fall short if we think of a more industrialized forecast that would make a massive entry which would result forecast for other systems (e.g. forecast need for stocks), in these cases it is advisable to go solutions SAS Forecast Server type.

In predictive processes, we can use the functionality " underlying factors "that allows us to evaluate how other variables affect our prediction can perform scenario analysis and simulations, "what-if".

It has the ability to connect through add-in to Visual Statistics for processes that need more advanced statistical analysis.

Utilities to learn about the relationships between variables, such as correlation matrices. Descriptive statistics that provide insight into the distribution of values in the variables (minimum, maximum, average, zero, etc.)

Report Designer:

Report Designer very intuitive use (drag and drop). We can easily create reports or dashboard using the graphics and visualization objects as include indicators or classifiers select.

Ability to incorporate dashboards analysis documents obtained in the process of exploratory analysis.

Once you designed a serial graphic objects on a document we can define interactions between them, to relate the selections made some of them to other objects or to define navigation between them.

SAS Visual Analytics incorporates multiple possible visualization box plots, heat maps, animated bubble charts, network diagrams, decision trees, geolocation. Likewise, auto charting capabilities help determine the most appropriate graph to display the data according to the elements selected for analysis. A bar overview allows you to zoom on the range of data that you want, without losing the whole picture.

Dimensions and hierarchies Organization for OLAP analysis multidimensional.

Creation, display, publication and distribution of multi-device analysis and reporting. Integration with Office Outlook, SharePoint, Excel and Power Point

Technical architecture:

Response times are nimble because the data is loaded into memory based on SAS LASR (server analytical high performance memory). It also has solution oriented Cloud with an on-premise option.

In short it is a powerful analytical tool display, which is an interesting option for companies without having to make a large initial investment, want to start making analytical, with the ability to scale and grow into other tools.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user254223 - PeerSpot reviewer
Project Manager - Business Intelligence at www.datademy.es
Consultant
It enables forecasting without a background in statistics, but data preparation and management need work.

What is most valuable?

  • Visual analytics
  • Reporting
  • Predictions features

How has it helped my organization?

We have detected a high margin group of customers with very little work.

What needs improvement?

Data preparation, and data management need work, as without Enterprise Guide, if you use SAS/VA alone (not SAS/VA pro), it will be hard to do the data preparation.

Forecasting is a very easy tool to use, and you don't need a great background on statistics. However, if you need to do forecasting with many groups of data in an industrialized way, then SAS/VA is not a suitable solution, because forecasting in SAS/VA is easy, but it needs a lot of manual work.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've used it for one year, alongside other SAP products such as SAS/Enterprise Guide.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

Data preparation problems, as SAS/VA needs a big, aggregated (all columns) table to work well. We didn't know the importance of data preparation.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We work in the cloud, and therefore it was quick and easy to implement.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

I would rate them high as they're good and quick.

Technical Support:

I would rate them high as they're good and quick.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I knew Business Objects and QlikView. I started with SAS/VA because the client needed prediction and forecasting features.

What about the implementation team?

I used a vendor team whose expertise was high. There was also a third party consulting team, with high-medium expertise

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The initial cost is just for the licenses, and the day-to-day cost is the consulting services.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We also looked at Qlikview. It was good at visualization, but poor about prediction and forecasting features, so we chose SAS Visual Analytics.

What other advice do I have?

It's important to have a data preparation tool like SAS/Enterprise Guide if your data model is complex or your volume of data high.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user254223 - PeerSpot reviewer
Project Manager - Business Intelligence at www.datademy.es
Consultant
When it comes to statistical analysis tools, SAS and R lead the way, but are different in important ways such that the pro's and con's of each should be considered.

Originally posted in Spanish at https://blog.mbitschool.com/2015/05/data-science-tools-sas-vs-r.html and https://sasybi.blogspot.com.es/2015/05/data-science-tools-sas-vs-r.html

Some of the disciplines that have experienced the most development in recent years have all related to data science. The techniques and tools used in this discipline are gaining more weight in the business environment. If we take a look at the tools most commonly used, we see that there have been changes in recent years. The next (www.datasciencecentral.com) chart shows the major tools currently used by data scientists.

They are the most sought after today and represent the long trend led by R, and if we focus on existing posts, the leader has been SAS. We could add to those listed in the chart Phython, which although is a general-purpose language, its use in data analysis is increasingly widespread. We can also add to previous tools such as SCALA, RapidMiner, Weka or KNIME.

In this post, we will try to compare two of the most-used tools: SAS and R. Besides being the most-used tools, they also represent different architectures, different orientations and from the point of view of costs: paid vs free. Probably much more interesting to compare a Ferrari with a Lamborghini, to compare R with SAS, but although we also purchased speed, and cost usability, in the business-analytics context we focus on SAS and R.

Do not lose sight that considering the hectic pace leading the IT industry, if we make the same comparison within two years, tools will have evolved and certainly the criteria to assess them, there will be the need to integrate new data types into the analysis.

We begin with a brief introduction of both tools:

SAS: data analysis tool with tradition. It takes many years to lead the market and present in large accounts. It has several tools for data analysis: SAS / BASE, SAS / Enterprise Guide and SAS / Enterprise Miner. Annual term licenses at a cost affordable by only large accounts.

R: data analysis tool, unless you're a SAS veteran, but with a remarkable presence in the market. Widespread in universities and research centers, it is entering with force in the business landscape. Open source license. Extensive community and active users, the amount of available libraries is growing by the day.

The comparison criteria to consider are:

  • Ease of use / learning curve.
  • Management and data management
  • Graphic and visualization capabilities
  • Software updates
  • Support services and communities
  • Workflow capabilities
  • Ecosystems
  • Integration with other languages and tools
  • Licenses and costs


Ease of use / learning curve:

In this aspect SAS may be a simpler language for non-programmers, and there are many business analysts who must use such tools without prior technical background programming. SAS data steps are easy to learn for anyone even slightly acquainted with table structures, as it has a design type DML (Data Manipulation Language). Moreover SAS proc SQL allows the option to write SQL code directly in R may demand a more solid base of knowledge in programming and data structures. If SAS is similar to SQL, R would have its equivalent in C++. In structuring, R is an object-oriented language, while SAS responds to a type of structured, sequential language. R can do the same thing in many different ways, for example, if SAS aggregations, we'll go to a proc SQL aggregation or a PROC MEANS. But in R, there are multiple ways to do this (aggregate, summarize, apply Functions, Doby, etc.). This can be confusing to the novice who is learning R. As for training resources, it's easy to find useful resources on the web. SAS has certifications, but this formal training is also expensive. 

Management and Data Management:

The key difference in data management is that R works in memory and SAS disk. Working mostly in RAM has its advantages and disadvantages, facing processes with high-volume datasets R records should be taken into account. There are libraries that allow R disc also work. SAS processes has traditionally been a problem footprint and libraries as the work must be well managed. Both work well paralleling processes.

Graphical and visualization capabilities:

The graphics capabilities of SAS focus on SAS / BASE and SAS / Enterprise Guide and, without considering SAS / Visual Analytics is licensed part, they are pretty fair. SAS in this area covers the essentials, at least in their own modules of data mining. Besides it is not limited in its use intricate. R, however, has very potent display capabilities and numerous packages with advanced functionality.

Software updates:

Due to the nature of open source, R has new algorithms and techniques readily available as individual packages are updated. To date R has about 15000 packets in CRAN (Comprehensive R Archive Network). SAS's policy of regular releases of commercial software, so that R can have more flexibility to incorporate new functionalities, although it may do SAS tested in a controlled environment.

Support services and communities:

R has a widespread and community but has no support, even if you have SAS support. In everyday practice, the broad user community for R (forums, questions, resources), supplies more than the lack of support. That said, some people are more relaxed having support on the other side of the line or you resolve the problem or you can "push" to an alternative solution.

Workflow capabilities:

SAS module features the Enterprise Guide an intuitive interface for developing process flows analytic. There are different tools based on R which also allow the development of workflows (an example is Rattle), but the have not been finally imposed, nor are they optimized. Experience shows that many analytic processes are not supported by the components of these tools and, for example, in the case of SAS, most code is purely SAS / BASE and of little use to the predefined components of which Enterprise Guide is made.

Ecosystems:

SAS provides a range of tools in fields near the Science Data as Business Intelligence, Dashboarding, Data Visualization, Data Warehouse, ETL and Data Quality, which can be integrated with data science processes (end-to-end), while R is a language focused exclusively on data science.

Integration with other languages and tools:

With regard to integration with other tools and languages, it is possible that R will take the lead from SAS. There are many open-source community tools that are integrated with R and rarely does commercial software not offer integration with R. Logically, SAS also has integrations and partnerships, analytical environments, but perhaps stay one step behind.

Licensing and costs:

There is little to say on this: as we know R is open source and SAS  is commercial software with high cost. It would be interesting to see what happens in terms of trends of use if SAS lowered prices. So far it has already released one version for free training (SAS OnDemand for Academics). There are approaches in line to use both, something perfectly acceptable since R is free. There are facilities that use SAS for all data management (extraction of sources, merging, cleaning, application of business rules, consolidation, etc.) and allows the final dataset R prepared to apply the statistical model and perform the final presentation. Not a bad approach, especially considering that we can save the license SAS / Enterprise Miner (models) which is the most expensive .Equally useful is to know some equivalences between code level tools: SAS and R Equivalents

Finally an interesting study in which SAS or R preference based on years of experience is analyzed.

In this brief summary we have tried the aspects we consider most critical, this post serves as a home to possible ways to provide comments or considerations not listed in this compendium and that may also have relevance in the selection of the data analysis tool. We Also welcome contributions about other tools (Python, Matlab, SPSS, SCALA, etc.).

Interesting training services about SAS and R, ask at: cursos_a_medida_r@yahoo.es

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user263847 - PeerSpot reviewer
Senior Software Engineer with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
Auto-charting helps identify the best chart for the categories and measures selected, but on deployment, it throws up errors like "ask your system administrator."

What is most valuable?

  • Correlation
  • Forecasting
  • Autocharting
  • Geomaps

How has it helped my organization?

The correlation gives us a better understanding of new data. Also, with auto-charting, it helps in identifying the best chart for the categories and measures selected.

What needs improvement?

Many things missing, including -

  • Infomaps
  • Facebook connection
  • Better objects
  • Forecasting, auto-charting, and correlation are only available in exploration but should be available in reports
  • Server issues - it is difficult to connect to the public LASR server at times, then requesting SAS support and waiting for them to answer

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using this solution for the past year.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

At times it hangs with some objects like gauges, and throws up errors like "ask your system administrator." After logging in, the issue is resolved automatically.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

There are times when it's not responsive.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

No issues encountered.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

5/10.

Technical Support:

5/10.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

No previous solution was used.

How was the initial setup?

It's not straightforward, and proper guidance or a manual is required which is not provided by the SAS support team.

What about the implementation team?

We implemented it in-house.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

No other options were evaluated.

What other advice do I have?

It's good to go.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Business partners
it_user7437 - PeerSpot reviewer
Director of Data Analytics at a transportation company with 10,001+ employees
Vendor
Can do statistics on ratios that were more complex and advanced than other BI tools but it's not as user friendly as other BI tools

I worked on a CMS project which used hadoop, my sql, rolled into a DW (inofrmatica) which included the powercenter, metadata, dataquality moduals and SAS BI. We choose SAS because of the predictive modeling piece, they can do statistics on ratios that were more complex and advanced than other BI tools. The difficulty is that it's hard to implement and not as user friendly as other BI tools.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Ariel Lindenfeld - PeerSpot reviewer
Director of Content at PeerSpot (formerly IT Central Station)
Community Manager
Do you agree with the primary reasons for SAS BI adoption listed in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence?

The February 2013 Magic Quadrant states that the primary drivers for SAS BI adoption are data access & integration, and the ability to support large volumes of data.

Are you a Real User of SAS BI? Why did you chose this solution?

If you are a user or are evaluating SAS BI, add your comment below or write your own review. Share your opinion with our community!

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user5691 - PeerSpot reviewer
Architect at a insurance company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Improved interface but still not for novices

SAS is a great toolset for moderate to advanced statistical analysis. I have been using SAS since 1975 when I was doing market research projects for my packaged goods clients. It is not for novices; you really need to know statistics and while they have improved on the interfaces significantly (eg the management console), it will be still technically challenging for someone not used to anything but true drag and drop. You still need to master the "data step" to get unruly data into shape for analysis or write precisely formatted reports, or know SQL for Proc SQL.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user4518 - PeerSpot reviewer
Head of Databases at a retailer with 501-1,000 employees
Vendor
Great for data analysis and reports once we got it up and running. Recommended

Valuable Features:

• Includes great tools for performing data analysis, executing queries and developing reports. • We can develop all types of reports by using its web based interactive interface. It enables us to build, load, organize, view and save reports based on OLAP cubes and/or relational data from one or more data sources. • It offers us a central platform and support for maintaining consistent metadata, managing huge databases, business rules, data and security definitions. • Ensures our data credibility and consistency, so we can easily manage all of our data integration projects.

Room for Improvement:

• It is expensive. This is BI at the the high end. • Installation is complex. We required expensive professional services for installation. Would be nice to be able to do the install ourselves! • We had compatibility issues while integrating SAS.

Other Advice:

We are using SAS because it provides us a complete set of BI capabilities. We use its role based portal to define the access level of each member of our team. I love the wizard-based report creation function which helps us in creating reports with enhanced graphs and skins. I also really like that we can print reports in PDF format and export data in any format to Excel as per our requirements. SAS in my opinion is an excellent BI solution if you have the money.
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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Updated: June 2022
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