Tuesday, 16 June 2020 00:55

SAS and Microsoft partner to accelerate the power of AI Featured

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Global software companies, Microsoft and SAS, today announced an extensive technology and go-to-market partnership, bringing the “empowered cloud” in the form of SAS integrations inside Microsoft’s entire cloud portfolio, and Azure becoming the preferred platform for SAS Cloud.

The announcement was made today during the Virtual SAS Global Forum 2020. Like other technology vendors during the COVID-19 era, SAS has taken its annual conference from face-to-face to online.

Jay Upchurch, SAS Executive VP and CIO, states "Microsoft and SAS have enjoyed a collaborative relationship for many years, but this partnership shapes the future of analytics.”

“It is the 'empowered cloud' - together we're accelerating the power of AI for everyone,” he said. “Analytics and AI in the cloud can shape a new operating system for digital transformation.”

Along with Microsoft Azure becoming the preferred cloud provider for SAS Viya, Microsoft and SAS will build integrations across Microsoft Azure, Microsoft Dynamics 365, Microsoft 365, and Microsoft Power Platform. SAS solutions will also appear in the Azure marketplace.

“Through this partnership, Microsoft and SAS will help our customers accelerate growth and find new ways to drive innovation with a broad set of SAS Analytics offerings on Microsoft Azure,” said Scott Guthrie, Microsoft Executive Vice President of Cloud and AI. “SAS, with its recognised expertise in analytics, data science and machine learning, is a strategic partner for Microsoft, and together we will help customers across dozens of industries and horizontals address their most critical and complex analytical challenges.”

While Microsoft already offers Microsoft Azure Machine Learning Studio, and similar capabilities, “Microsoft recognises the strength of the models SAS has built over the years, the line of business solutions such as predictive risk and predictive churn, and at a tool-level being able to provide our data enrichment capabilities like natural language processing and outliers within Power BI,” Upchurch said.

For example, Microsoft and SAS are already empowering customers with solutions that help them capitalise at scale on the vast amount of data being generated by the Internet of Things by combining Microsoft’s Azure IoT platform with SAS’ edge-to-cloud IoT analytics and AI capabilities. Currently, the Town of Cary, NC, is using a joint IoT offering from Microsoft and SAS to power a critical flood prediction solution.

"Localised flooding is something all communities experience, and ours is no exception," said Nicole Raimundo, Cary's Chief Information Officer. "Using sensors, weather data, SAS IoT analytics and the Azure IoT platform, we expect to increase situational awareness of rising stream levels, predict where flooding might occur, and improve our emergency response through automation. Cary is also proud to be able to share this data with our neighbouring communities to help them better serve their citizens."

Other use-cases might see SAS Viya, Azure Synapse and Power BI all used seamlessly to load and enrich data, create models, deploy them, and provide reporting and visualisations.

“SAS and Microsoft have a shared vision of helping customers accelerate their digital transformation initiatives. We both understand that it is about the enrichment of data and improving lives through better decisions,” said Oliver Schabenberger, SAS Chief Technology Officer and Chief Operating Officer. “Partnering with Microsoft gives customers a more seamless path to the cloud that provides faster, more powerful and easier access to SAS solutions and enables trusted decisions with analytics that everyone – regardless of skill level – can understand.”

Supported with joint co-selling and go-to-market activities, additional SAS products and solutions will begin rolling out later this year. This will enable SAS and Microsoft customers to address some of their most critical and complex analytical challenges while fostering continuous innovation. SAS is also committed to using Microsoft 365 and Dynamics 365 to power its internal operations.

More details on how to get started are available on the SAS announcement micro-site.


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David M Williams

David has been computing since 1984 where he instantly gravitated to the family Commodore 64. He completed a Bachelor of Computer Science degree from 1990 to 1992, commencing full-time employment as a systems analyst at the end of that year. David subsequently worked as a UNIX Systems Manager, Asia-Pacific technical specialist for an international software company, Business Analyst, IT Manager, and other roles. David has been the Chief Information Officer for national public companies since 2007, delivering IT knowledge and business acumen, seeking to transform the industries within which he works. David is also involved in the user group community, the Australian Computer Society technical advisory boards, and education.

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