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SAS Plans Savvy SaaS Splash for Big Data

Tom Brewster is TechWeek Europe’s Security Correspondent. He has also been named BT Information Security Journalist of the Year in 2012 and 2013.

SAS is getting SaaSier says UK director Mark Wilkinson

Analytics firm SAS has plans to bring more Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offerings to the table. The SAS SaaS splash comes because it sees demand for big data growing, and an appetite for analytics-on-demand.

SAS currently has three levels of cloud-based offerings, one of which is just for students, whilst another is only for some of its simple tools. SAS also offers bespoke cloud services to customers in certain cases, and can use data centres belonging to one of its major partners, who it prefers not to name. There has so far been no major SAS SaaS push, however.

But that looks set to change, as the company is planning to widen its SaaS offerings. “It is a natural model to go to,” Richard Kellett (pictured left), director of marketing for SAS UK told TechWeekEurope. “It is also a better model for our own technology, so where we do want to offer a service, by developing our technology around those models, will add benefits and efficiencies to us.”

Cloud confusion

Some vendors have been tentative about jumping onto the SaaS model as it can harm revenues, said IK managing director Mark Wilkinson (pictured below), who recently moved over from Oracle.  “The problem with the cloud is that it is potentially an erosion of their revenues.”

SAS has been enjoying the mania surrounding Big Data, largely because it has been helping analyse large data sets for years. The firm said businesses were getting excited about the Big Data boom, even though they were still confused by the concept.

“We think this is significant. This is a problem we see in our own clients,” Wilkinson said.

Research from earlier this year indicated Big Data could add £216 billion to the UK economy between 2012 and 2017, whilst creating 58,000 jobs.

The use of the term Big Data can itself be misleading. Many use the term as if all pieces of information were the same and equally relevant to all organisations, when that is simply not the case, TechWeekEurope suggested at a round-table event on Thursday.

SAS agreed that better understanding of the term was required. In particular, breakdowns of how companies use structured and unstructured data would prove useful, the analytics firm said.

“Large parts of the IT industry are putting up smoke and mirrors around big data,” Wilkinson added. “There is a lot of market noise, which is confusing.”

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