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First Look – SAS Customer Intelligence


I got a quick update from the customer intelligence folks at SAS recently. Customer Intelligence is SAS’ largest solution line (with dedicated sales, marketing and engineering) and they are projecting to have a record year in 2010. SAS describes their SAS  Customer Intelligence Suite as providing three core benefits for organizations, each based on a set of enabling technologies SAS customers have used to get increasingly sophisticated over time:

  • Deepening customer insight
    Capabilities include those that deal with integrating quality data around customers, and better harnessing that customer data through exploration, profiling, segmentation and predictive analytics. SAS products in this space include SAS Marketing Automation, SAS Web Analytics, SAS Marketing Optimization, SAS Social Media Analytics, SAS Profitability Management, SAS Customer Link Analytics and SAS Marketing Analytics.
  • Choreographing customer interaction
    Capabilities include optimizing strategies to engage customers in a multichannel marketing environment, as well as dealing with competing contact policy, channel and budget constraints through their optimization solution. SAS products in this space include SAS Marketing Automation, SAS Digital Marketing, SAS Interaction Management, SAS Real-time Decision Manager and SAS Marketing Operations Management.
  • Continuously improving marketing performance
    Capabilities include measurement, reporting and optimizing the overall marketing mix . SAS products here are SAS Marketing Automation, SAS for Marketing Performance Management and SAS Marketing Mix Advisor

Despite the apparent focus on marketing inherent in the third area, many of their recent customer wins have been more focused on operations, support, service etc. This reflects a growing trend I see to talk about customer intelligence more holistically and to focus on next best ACTION not next best offer. We drilled into a couple of the products a little:

SAS Marketing Automation is in many ways the baseline product – designed to produce better marketing ROI. It lets marketers create, modify and manage simple or sophisticated multichannel marketing campaigns with target segments, selection rules, meaningful tests, scheduling, channel selection etc.

SAS Marketing Optimization is focused on maximizing economic outcomes by making the most of each customer communication – optimizing across complex contact policies and focusing on the most profitable actions to increase channel effectiveness. Marketing users can define constraints, contact policies, define alternative scenarios for different costs etc.

SAS Customer Experience Analytics evolved from the web analytics tool that SAS had used for many years. SAS found that for marketers and customer insight groups, pure web analytics were not a pain point. What they needed was something to tie customers’ behavior on the website to everything else about them. Customer Experience Analytics is based on Speed Trap which has a tagless scripting methodology to gather really detailed information on what people are doing on a website. SAS takes this data and drives into an analytic structure allowing customers to develop SAS analytics on customer data that is linked to web data. This allows you to find patterns of anonymous visitor behavior, tie this behavior to customer behavior (even retroactively) and then treat even anonymous customers better as a result. I liked this focus as it felt aligned with my recent discussion of focusing on decisions not web analytic reports and my recent webinar on the need for more than BI and web analytics (recording).

Customer decisioning is a big focus for me – the need to make customer-centric decisions across channels is what drives a lot of my clients to adopt Decision Management in the first place – so it was good to see SAS’ investment in this area.