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SAS Broadens Free Access to Academic Analytics Tools

Business software maker SAS, whose initial product was conceived in a university, is seeking to expand its footprint in the education market. During its user conference in Seattle this week the company said it would open up access to its SAS OnDemand for Academics service to students worldwide in fall 2010. The hosted program is already used by faculty at 200 institutions. Also, SAS said it would make three applications available in a hosted form first to the education segment before launching them into other markets.

SAS OnDemand for Academics provides an online delivery model for teaching and learning data management and analytics. By connecting to a SAS-hosted server over the Web, users access SAS software through a point-and-click interface. Users register and access SAS software via the Web and perform activities by connecting to a hosted server at SAS. The new program grants access to SAS Enterprise Guide (which includes access to Base SAS) and SAS Enterprise Miner (which includes SAS Text Miner). The company said it expected to add other SAS software applications over time.

"When interviewers see SAS and data mining, it's a very big plus on the résumé," said Alan Olinsky, professor of applied math at Bryant University. "There is so much data out there; we just don't have enough people to analyze it. Statistics is becoming very popular, and SAS is an integral part of that." Olinsky began working with SAS software about six years ago. Now the software is used in classes for business students, and the Smithfield, RI university has introduced a certificate in SAS data mining.

The company has structured the program to enable student access to the applications only as specified by their faculty members, "to ensure that SAS is integrated into coursework in a thoughtful and effective manner, providing students the most engaging experience," explained Ron Statt, product development manager for the SAS Education Practice.

Starting in fall 2010 the company will also introduce three of its business management applications in a hosted form to the education market, though not for free. SAS Financial Management provides tools for enterprise planning, budgeting, consolidation, and reporting. SAS Strategy Management is a Web-based application for designing, building, and managing scorecards, dashboards, and diagrams to communicate organizational goals and strategies, monitor performance against targets, identify opportunities for improvement, and show connections between strategy and execution. SAS Human Capital Management focuses on analytics that directly affect people performance.

"The SAS hosted portal will transform education in a way that's never been done before, providing relevant and timely data to educators, students and parents--the people who know what to do with it," said Randie Allen, assistant superintendent for the Coronado Unified School District in California.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.

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