SAS not ruling out channel-sales for joint SAP in-memory solutions

ORLANDO – A new strategic partnership between SAS Institute and SAP AG will see the vendors bringing their respective in-memory technologies together to help businesses to faster decision-making.

SAS is known for its analytics offerings, while SAP with its Hana offering has a popular relational database offering. The common thread is in-memory. SAS has been developing in-memory-based analytics offerings, while Hana uses in-memory for faster access to critical business data. The two vendors will develop a joint technology and product roadmap designed to leverage both SAS Hana and SAS analytics capabilities. The companies say that by enabling SAS analytics to run on SAP Hana, decision-makers will have access to real time analysis.

Speaking with media at the SAS-sponsored Premier Business Leadership conference, Russ Cobb, vice-president of alliances and product marketing for SAS, said while Hana may have seemed competitive to SAS when it first came out, after closer examination it was clear SAS and SAP each had very complementary technology architectures.

“Hana is an in-memory database platform, and our in-memory analytics platform is geared towards running advanced analytics in-memory,” said Cobb. “We lead the market in in-memory analytics, and Hana is a leading in-memory database, so we thought it was logical to explore a partnership.

Currently they’re looking at roadmaps. Over the next 90 to 120 days they’ll be working with key joint customers to identify which analytics would most benefit from running SAS in Hana, as well as the right ways for customers to purchase and consume joint solutions. Currently, Cobb said joint selling appears to be the way to go.

Cobb added engaging the channel in the sales motion is a possibility.

“At this point we wouldn’t rule anything out,” said Cobb. “Both organizations have broad and deep direct sales organizations, and opportunities in our mutual customer base where we could make progress. Once we start looking outside that, at how we can extend in-memory and market it outside our customer base, we’ll explore any and all options.”

Getting special attention as offerings are developed will be markets such as financial services, telecommunications, retail, consumer products and manufacturing, said SAP.

“Combining the power of SAP Hana platform with SAS advanced analytics applications is the first wave of innovation we plan to deliver to our joint customers,” said Bill McDermott, SAP’s co-CEO, in a statement. “With the powerful capabilities that the two companies plan to deliver jointly, the opportunities are endless.”

How the product integration will occur is still being explored, but SAS president and CEO Jim Goodnight said in an interview that several models are being explored, such as pulling data directly out of Hana in parallel to feed into SAS’ analytics process, taking models built somewhere else and moving then into Hana for scoring, and running SAS analytics right beside Hana, on the same machine.

“All the things we’ve done with other vendors, such as Teradata, we anticipate doing similarly with SAP,” said Goodnight.

SAS Canada president Carl Farrell said he hasn’t looked at the joint SAS/SAS customer base in Canada yet in any detail, but he expects the overlap to be near 99 per cent.

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Jeff Jedras
Jeff Jedras
A veteran technology and business journalist, Jeff Jedras began his career in technology journalism in the late 1990s, covering the booming (and later busting) Ottawa technology sector for Silicon Valley North and the Ottawa Business Journal, as well as everything from municipal politics to real estate. He later covered the technology scene in Vancouver before joining IT World Canada in Toronto in 2005, covering enterprise IT for ComputerWorld Canada. He would go on to cover the channel as an assistant editor with CDN. His writing has appeared in the Vancouver Sun, the Ottawa Citizen and a wide range of industry trade publications.

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