CEO Jim Goodnight took the stage at the SAS Global Forum in Washington, D.C. to demonstrate how SAS continues to take number crunching to higher levels of visualization.

A new software suite, Visual Statistics, can turn data into graphical predictive models, Goodnight demonstrated. The product is scheduled for release in July.

With big data and analytics continuing to grow as business drivers, a record crowd of more than 4,500 people turned out for the event.

As companies and consumers generating more data than ever, research firm IDC estimates that the big data analytics market will grow to $24 billion in 2016 from $14 billion this year.

In addition to the Goodnight demo, SAS announced a variety of other products and endorsements, including customer testimony from Lenovo. The world’s No. 1 PC manufacturer is using a variety of SAS tools to help understand customer concerns and to detect issues before they mushroom.

SAS also announced expanded analytics education initiative, “Analytics U,” and embraced the “Hadoop” open source framework for big data with a new statistics product.

  • Visual Statistics

According to SAS, the new Visual Statistics enables “multiple users can build and modify predictive models on large volumes of diverse data, using analytical methods including regression and estimation, classification and clustering.”

The “drag-and-drop” capability is designed to let users build predictive models quickly and builds off tools already available for SAS Visual Analytics, the company says. (A graphic with this post and viewable at WRALTechWire. com shows how Visual Analytics turns data into graphics.)

Visual Statistics is designed to produce “more advanced analytics, such as model development, assessment and scoring,” SAS says. 

So how does SAS Visual Statistics differ from SAS Visual Analytics?

“Both use the same highly-graphical, point-and-click user interface and both run on the same SAS in-memory architecture. But who uses each and the capabilities of each are markedly different,” a spokesperson tells WRALTechWire.

“Used by a business user, Visual Analytics offers deep query and reporting – a basic set of analytics for forecasting, simple text analytics and other analytics functions. For data scientists and statisticians, Visual Statistics offers deep advanced analytics including predictive analytics, optimization and other functions.”

Both suites utilize SAS technology designed to deliver results much faster than previous versions.

“SAS’ innovative analytics will provide enterprises with faster, more accurate insights,” said Wayne Thompson, SAS Chief Data Scientist, in the announcement. “Applying advanced analytics methods to big data will help our customers increase their competitiveness.”

  • Lenovo in the “Cloud”

Meanwhile, Lenovo spelled out how it is using SAS Analytics through Amazon Web Services’ cloud infrastructure in an attempt to analyze customer data as well as information gathered from diverse sources such as social media, product reviews, customer forums, call center logs and online chat.

Lenov believes that using the data will enable it to improve customer satisfaction and its brand identity. 

“Lenovo organizations all over the world are now accessing the SAS software,” said Anthony Volpe, Lenovo’s Executive Director and Chief Corporate Analytics Officer. “Lenovo plans to get more people trained so that it can further democratize analytics.

“We chose to deploy SAS in the AWS environment to reduce the cost, time and risk of pursuing a broad set of analytic projects. With cloud-based deployment, we lower our infrastructure investment and maximize use. We also bring analytics to bear much more quickly without long procurement, installation and deployment periods. The SAS software is there, ready to help optimize decisions to be integrated into business processes. SAS Analytics running in a cloud environment greatly increases our agility.”

  • Analytics Education 

SAS also is stepping up efforts to help produce more students who chose analytics for careers.

SAS Analytics U will provide free SAS software to universities through partnerships. 

“Big data is transforming how we work, which creates new opportunities for how we teach,” Goodnight said in announcing the initiative. “Jobs requiring analytic skills are in high demand, but right now there isn’t enough talent to fill those jobs. SAS Analytics U addresses that gap by making it easier to access free SAS software so anyone can become an analytic expert.”

A new edition of SAS University Edition will be available in May.

SAS laready supports a number of education initiative and works closely with N.C. State, where Goodnight once taught. 

More details about these and other SAS announcements can be found online.

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