Last session of the day is a freeform executive Q&A so I will just list bullet points as they come up:
- Open Source R is obviously a hot topic in analytics and SAS’ focus on more open APIs that are broadly accessible and their renewed focus on academic partnerships are designed to “leave R in the dust”
- The SAS team recognize a need to get their brand in front of new audiences – Small/Medium Enterprises, developers etc – and this is a key marketing challenge this year and one of the reasons for an increasing focus on partners.
- The move to a more API-centric view is going to create opportunities for new and different pricing models especially with OEMs and other analytic service providers.
- Open Source is something SAS is happy to work on – so Hadoop is widely used and integrated, most of their installations are running on Linux etc.
- Clearly an expectation that future sales will be more consumption based given the way the platform are evolving at SAS and the growth of cloud.
- In particular the evolution of industry clouds and industry-specific functionality built on SAS available through those clouds will be key.
- SAS clearly sees opportunities for lowering entry barriers, especially price, so that new customers can explore the ROI of capabilities.
- Competitive pressures have changed in the last few years with very large competitors increasingly offering broad analytic portfolios while also having to compete with niche startups. SAS is focusing on its core analytic strength and history while also recognizing that it must keep changing in response to changing competitors.
- SAS sees simplicity in analytics, power in visualization and machine learning all as part of how analytics continues to expand in organizations.
- Unlike many vendors in the analytic and data infrastructure space, SAS overwhelmingly sells to the Line of Business with a business value proposition and does not see this changing. At the same time they need to make sure IT is behind their technology choices and understands the architecture.
- The expansion to smaller enterprises involves driving their solutions through inside sales and partners – new pricing and positioning, new sales enablement but not really new products. Plus more OEM and Managed Analytic Service Providers.
And that’s a wrap – lots of open and direct responses from the executive team as always.