- Industry standard analytics
- Ability to handle large data samples
- Outdated UI
- Complicated external integrations
- Not user-friendly and not intended for beginners to BI tools
SAS is a business intelligence (BI) and analytics platform backed by an ecosystem of similar reporting software. SAS is a highly complex platform with major user interface concerns.
The platform’s industry standing
SAS software can handle large data samples with ease. Though there is nothing proprietary to the concept of industry-standard BI, SAS has billions of dollars in sales. Major Fortune 500 firms and small to medium-sized enterprises use SAS, as well as numerous international NGOs.
The reality of the platform
Any organization deploying SAS as a business intelligence and analytics solution will receive exactly what they pay for. Users can access data ranging from audience identification statistics to SEM-related metrics, conversion, and overall digital reach. Compared to other platforms, SAS is the standard BI tool. But there are significant concerns to keep in mind. SAS is not built for beginners to BI and shouldn’t be considered as a metrics tool for DIY political campaigners, early startup phase nonprofits, or organizations seeking analytics and insights on a budget.
One of the high marks for SAS is the browser-based utility. Accessing software and other software-as-a-service (SaaS) platforms inside a web browser has become the norm. The company offers the platform and constituent software ecosystem in a useful manner. That utility is diminished by a highly complex, crowded, and unattractive user interface.
User interface (UI), one of the rating fields for Telegraph reviews, is a critical aspect of an effective software as a service (SaaS) tool. SAS, unfortunately, boasts only an unfavorable UI and user experience. For example, accessing basic data files emulates a root directory built into an operating system’s file management system. A root menu format, in this case, poses an accessibility challenge for users that expect their data to populate in a centralized data framework.
Countering ease of use issues
On the other hand, SAS has a phenomenal support regime which helps boost the UI rating. Due to the technical complexities to SAS, users who don’t have the experience nor the talent to adequately use a business intelligence tool can learn to do so through the company’s customer support site housing technical support and documentation, technical communities, knowledge base, and insights blog, sales support, and user-focused internet fora. SAS prominently identifies their educational content and support systems on the company’s front page. There are also collapsible support panels and direct support ticketing available inside the platform. These functions are available in a sidebar and bottom-page toolbar format. As a result, users who have extensive experience with BI SaaS platforms all report high satisfaction with SAS and the company’s ecosystem.
Integrating SAS with external software is quite challenging. There’s no “app marketplace” or software connection community that’s actively simplifying external integrations. Instead, third-party integration requires documentation and the blood, sweat, and tears of a stack developer. For example, users can access the documentation to integrate SAS with databases like Amazon Redshift, Greenplum, and Hadoop, among others. However, there is no automated solution to connect the platforms. Instead, users need be able to migrate data via database connectors (i.e., Microsoft’s Open Database Connectivity (ODBC) framework) or any other necessary programming documentation.
All contracts are determined client-to-client. According to some of our digging, the average price point for a subscription on any of the company’s proprietary platforms begins at $8,000.
What we think
SAS is a tool that shouldn’t be used by small campaigns. It’s entirely too complex and requires an individual or staff with BI software experience to use the platform and its accompanying ecosystem effectively.
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