Is SAS® Still a Leader in Analytics?

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Where does my favourite software SAS stand in 2014? Is it still the leader in Analytics ? Where can we find some comparative data which we can analyse and conclude on?

Let’s look at the Magic quadrant for business intelligence and analytics platforms which is published annually by Gartner. Gartner is the world’s leading IT research and advisory company. It delivers technology related insights from CIOs and senior IT leaders in corporations to business leaders in high-tech and telecom enterprises and services firms. All of us use Gartner and its reports to come to conclusions about the various software suites we would like to buy.

Over the last decade the world of business intelligence and analytics has undergone a change. Many organisations have adopted business intelligence and have started to look at data not only for measurement and reporting purposes, but also for prediction, forecasting and optimisation. Because of this growing importance of advanced analytics, organisations have started looking at solutions which can deliver end to end services. That’s why over the last few years we have seen software suits developed which have both BI and predictive analytics capabilities.

Well let’s see what does Gartner say about SAS?

SAS: SAS’s analytics portfolio spans platforms for BI, performance management, data warehousing, in-memory databases, data integration, data quality, decision management, and content and social analytics, with a core strength being advanced analytics. SAS also offers industry- and domain-specific analytic applications built on its product portfolio.


  • SAS’s analytics portfolio spans platforms for BI, performance management, data warehousing, in-memory databases, data integration, data quality, and content and social analytics. However, unlike most other BI platform vendors, SAS’s core strength is in its advanced analytical techniques, such as data mining, predictive modelling, simulation and optimization, for which it is acknowledged as a Leader in “Magic Quadrant for Advanced Analytics Platforms.” 

  • Historically, SAS tools have been used primarily by power users, data scientists and IT-centric BI developers. That this remains the case is shown by SAS customers placing it above any other vendor in the Magic Quadrant survey in terms of support for complex types of analysis, but giving it one of the lowest scores for ease of use. During the past five years, SAS has been investing heavily in revamping its user experience to change this situation and encourage more mainstream user adoption. This aggressive and unmatched strategy is part of the reason for SAS’s favourable Completeness of Vision position. 

  • SAS also differentiates itself from most other BI platform vendors by productizing and selling industry- and domain-specific advanced analytic applications that are focused on specific business problems and built using many of its technology platform products. This enables it to sell “value,” rather than components.

  • Data access and integration and the ability to support large volumes of data are the main reasons customers choose SAS, according to the survey. In fact, while SAS deployments support a below-average number of users, its data volumes are among the highest in the survey.


  • SAS customers consider its software among the most difficult to use and most difficult to implement, with ease of use for business users being identified as a limitation on broader deployment by a higher percentage of customers than for any other vendor.

  • Although SAS has exploited its core competency in predictive analytics to encapsulate and automate advanced analysis for business-user-oriented guided data discovery in Visual Analytics, it will face competition from data discovery and BI and analytics platform vendors with leading-edge data discovery capabilities, such as Tableau and Tibco.

  • Despite SAS’s success as a Leader in the predictive analytics space, the company still faces a challenge to make it onto BI platform shortlists, unless customers already use its other advanced analytic capabilities and require integration and leverage of skills.

  • SAS’s reference customers rated functionality used in traditional BI areas (reporting, dashboards, OLAP, interactive visualization and so on) lower than for most of the other BI Leaders.

We can conclude that SAS is still very much a market leader today. However it must be noted that free and open source software like R are fast gaining popularity and for a data analyst to remain marketable they need to master at the least, both SAS and R packages.

If you have found this post interesting and want to know more about the software that Gartner has covered in this report, access the report on their website ( )

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Interested in learning about other Analytics and Big Data tools and techniques? Click on our course links and explore more.
Jigsaw’s Data Science with R Course – click here.
Jigsaw’s Big Data Course – click here.

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