SAS Institute has updated its products for data mining and forecasting.
The releases represent a greater leap in functionality over other recent revisions, according to Mary Grace Crissey, a product marketing manager for SAS. The earlier versions were "much more GUI-driven", she says.
Enterprise Miner 5.3 features 15 new analytical tools and additional algorithms. An accompanying Text Miner product can analyse unstructured data, such as blogs or customer feedback forms.
Forecast Server 2.1, another updated product, includes improved filtering, more than a dozen additional project management macros, and scalability improvements for working with large data sets.
One satisfied customer is Tim Rey, manager of the data-mining and modelling group at Dow Chemical. He says the firm took "a considerable amount of time to study both Enterprise Miner and Forecast Server before we purchased. ... The products are well-designed, supporting many robust methods that are enabled by easy-to-use interfaces and supported by functional graphics."
Dow has not yet deployed the newest versions, but it has "reviewed what was coming and think they are welcome additions," he says.
It is using Forecast Server to build forecasting models for a variety of scenarios, such as demand and raw materials costs, and is using Enterprise Miner in several areas, including finance, fraud, engineering, research and development, supply chain and human resources.
Rey notes that "in both products, you have to have your data in SAS format prior to using them."
To that end, Enterprise Miner 5.3 includes a new wizard designed to make it easier for users to push their data into SAS' software, Crissey says. Longtime SAS customers tend to keep preformatted data sets at the ready, she says.