SAS unveils innovations and partnerships during Explore 2023

In a series of announcements and presentations at SAS Explore last week, SAS unveiled innovations and partnerships that aim to reshape industries ranging from data analytics to fraud detection to climate monitoring.

The event kicked off with SAS executives revealing the company’s foray into the realm of generative AI. Udo Sglavo, SAS vice president of analytics R&D, explained that generative AI allows for the creation of synthetic data sets, which can be employed to construct sophisticated simulations for optimizing outcomes and addressing critical “what if” scenarios.

Sglavo highlighted the significance of this technology for industries like manufacturing and logistics, where disruption is a constant challenge.

SAS chief technology officer (CTO), Bryan Harris, emphasized the need for concrete results in the field of generative AI, saying, “We are at the peak of the hype cycle, and it is critical that companies achieve tangible outcomes with generative AI.”

SAS also highlighted that SAS Viya, its analytics platform, is now available on Snowpark container services. This allows customers to create lightweight environments for quicker builds of AI models and applications. The platform will also support multiple programming environments — Jupyter Notebook, Visual Studio Code and SAS Enterprise Guide. It is expected to be released to the general public early 2024.

Fraud detection and consumer perceptions

A portion of the event was dedicated to addressing the growing concerns surrounding fraud detection and prevention. Greg Henderson, senior director of fraud and security intelligence at SAS, presented findings from a global consumer survey.

Henderson revealed that 70 per cent of respondents admitted to being victims of fraud at least once, with 40 per cent experiencing multiple occurrences. He noted that these figures reflect the persistence of fraud as an issue, with nearly half of those surveyed believing that it’s worsening.

Interestingly, the survey found that consumers are increasingly willing to accept more transaction friction, share additional personal data, and adopt biometrics to enhance fraud protection. These shifts in consumer attitudes represent both a challenge and an opportunity for businesses in the fraud detection space.

“Nine in 10 believed that their organization should be doing more to protect them from fraud,” said Henderson, highlighting the concern among consumers.

Customer engagement

Mark Choves, director of digital marketing at SAS, emphasized the company’s commitment to responsible marketing through generative AI. SAS’s Customer Intelligence 360 enables customers to choose generative AI models from various providers, prioritizing data privacy and human oversight. Choves highlighted the role of generative AI in supporting the entire customer engagement lifecycle, from marketing plans to audience targeting and content creation.

Healthcare and energy forecasting

John Boyd, vice president of solutions management at SAS, unveiled SAS Health, a comprehensive analytics and data automation solution designed to streamline data management and accelerate patient insights for healthcare providers and payers, to improve patient care and hospital operations.

Jason Mann, vice president of IoT at SAS, introduced the Energy Forecasting solution, which aids electrical utilities in optimizing power delivery. Mann explained that this solution uses applied analytics and AI to tackle the complex task of efficiently balancing infrastructure with load demands and weather-generated issues.

Global distribution

Gavin Day, executive vice president at SAS, announced two global distribution agreements. The first, with TD SYNNEX, makes TD a primary global distributor. This move is expected to expand SAS’s reach and scale significantly.

More specifically, TD SYNNEX will provide resellers of SAS solutions with benefits like additional expertise, committed local offices and “expanded reach in new markets.” The distribution strategy will empower resellers to concentrate on expanding their enterprises with SAS.

Additionally, a distribution agreement with Carahsoft will focus on the U.S. public sector market, further diversifying SAS’s market presence.

“Embracing distribution and elevating our partnerships through indirect channels is an important part of our growth strategy,” said John Carey, vice president of global channels at SAS. “Our new agreement with TD SYNNEX will help us improve scalability, reach untapped markets and deliver results for our customers alongside our valued SAS partners.”

“These agreements will provide SAS Solution Providers with greater access to new markets and vertical expertise,” said Day.

Update: in an earlier version of this article, Udo Sglavo’s title was incorrect.

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Breanna Schnurr
Breanna Schnurr
Breanna Schnurr is a recent journalism graduate of Toronto Metropolitan University. She loves writing about all things data, travel, tech, lifestyle and subculture. You can reach out to Breanna via [email protected].

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