January 03, 2001, 11:04 AM — LOOKING TO PROVIDE enterprises with an alternative to deploying BI (business intelligence) systems in-house, SAS Institute is moving toward an ASP (application service provider) model for its wares, including data-warehouse and data-mining tools.
Joining other vendors in a growing trend, the company currently is beta testing hosted versions of its offerings, as well as a portal that provides BI capabilities to customers, according to Richard Roach, the senior director of ASP efforts at Cary, N.C.-based SAS.
Initially, SAS's portal will offer reports and analytics on the type of traffic a Web site is attracting and what the site operator could be doing more effectively based on how users traverse the site.
"A lot of folks put up a Web site without any idea of how to make the most of the data they collect. They can read a few reports, but that is usually about it," Roach said.
Roach said SAS is working to have a number of customers using the portal by the second half of next year.
An ASP model can overcome current obstacles associated with BI tools. The preeminent goal of data-mining and data-warehousing technologies is for all users in an organization to be able to mine data from a variety of sources without even knowing that they are doing so. But companies that want to adopt BI are faced with technology that is difficult to handle and expensive to implement.
Use of data-mining and warehousing tools typically is relegated to back-office IT personnel who create reports when asked. As the ASP model has started to come into its own, however, customers are finding that subscribing to hosted data warehousing and data mining enables companies lacking expertise to access BI.
SAS is not the only company embracing the ASP model. In the past few months a number of relatively small ASPs have emerged that focus on mining Web-site traffic for customer trends.