SAS Tops for Big-Data Predictive Analytics


Big-data means diddly squat without advanced analytics tools that enable predictive insight. You ought to know this by now. But are you there yet?

"Given the increasing challenge of storing, processing, and accessing the volume, velocity, and variety of big data," predictive analytics is difficult to do without the right tools and technologies, Forrester Research said in a new report, The Forrester Wave Big Data Predictive Analytics Solutions, Q1 2013.

Finding tools capable of big-data analytics won't be your problem. It'll be just the opposite. The big-data analytics potential has created a flurry of market activity that won't settle down anytime soon. "We expect the market for big data predictive analytics solutions to be vibrant, highly competitive, and flush with new entrants over the next three years," the report said.

To help sort through what's out there, Forrester evaluated 10 big-data predictive analytics tools on 51 criteria. It examined solutions from Angoss Software, IBM, KXEN, Oracle, Revolution Analytics, Salford Systems, SAP, SAS, StatSoft, and Tibco Software. Big-data predictive analytics tools were defined as those enabling businesses to "discover, evaluate, optimize, and deploy predictive models by analyzing big data sources to improve business performance or mitigate risk."

Forrester said all the tools it selected for evaluation allow companies to support a continuous predictive analytics process -- a cycle that involves setting business goals; understanding data sources; preparing the data; creating, evaluating, and deploying the model; and monitoring the model's effectiveness -- over and over again.

SAS, this site's sponsor, is one of three leaders Forrester identified based on its evaluations. In general, leaders are those companies providing a "rich set of algorithms to analyze data, architectures that can handle big data, and tools for data analysts that span the full predictive analytics life cycle." In particular, "SAS, with its 36-year history of providing analytics software, is a Leader in this evaluation because it scored well in all categories."

On a zero-to-five scale, for example, SAS received a 5.00 for its architecture; deployment; and standards, integration, solutions, and extensibility, as well as for its product roadmap and partners. Overall, it rated a 4.59 for its current offering, a 4.18 for its strategy, and a 4.46 on market presences -- the highest ratings in each of the three categories. Forrester elaborated on the pluses and minuses of SAS as an analytics powerhouse:

With an unwavering focus on data analytics since 1976, SAS offers a broad set of tools for predictive analytics, an architecture that supports multiple platforms, in-database analytics, in-memory analytics, and significant market presence. SAS has more than 19,500 unique customers in 135 countries. Forrester estimates that well over 3,000 are using predictive analytics. For SAS to stay a Leader, it must continue to support the largest data sets in the world; provide more sophisticated solutions for real-time analytics, such as stream processing; offer predictive modeling tools that business analysts find more usable; and address the many upstarts entering this market now that big data and predictive analytics are hot.

Tibco, Oracle, StatSoft, and KXEN are strong performers, according to the report. Angoss Software, Revolution Analytics, and Salford Systems are contenders. Which predictive analytics tools are you using on your big-data, and do you agree with Forrester's breakdowns?

Beth Schultz, Editor in Chief

Beth Schultz has more than two decades of experience as an IT writer and editor.  Most recently, she brought her expertise to bear writing thought-provoking editorial and marketing materials on a variety of technology topics for leading IT publications and industry players.  Previously, she oversaw multimedia content development, writing and editing for special feature packages at Network World. In particular, she focused on advanced IT technology and its impact on business users and in so doing became a thought leader on the revolutionary changes remaking the corporate datacenter and enterprise IT architecture. Beth has a keen ability to identify business and technology trends, developing expertise through in-depth analysis and early adopter case studies. Over the years, she has earned more than a dozen national and regional editorial excellence awards for special issues from American Business Media, American Society of Business Press Editors, Folio.net, and others.

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