Business Intelligence software company SAS Institute Inc thinks users are underestimating the role of properly managing a data warehouse, so the company has duly launched Warehouse Administrator, an integrated tool set for building and administrating data warehouses. The Cary, North Carolina-based company is touting the new product as the only true end-to-end solution in its field, covering all areas from extracting data to decision support, pooling its strengths in front end tools with back end products. SAS claims its new product can be implemented as a complete solution or can be integrated for use with existing products, and supports all major data sources on all major platforms. Data warehousing has become mission- critical but its success still depends on the approach, maintains UK Enterprise Product Manager, Alastair Sim. He adds It has to be driven by the business: to simply implement technology for the sake of it is a recipe for disaster; it has to be according to business requirements. The new product is designed to provide a single point of control for warehouse functions through a point and click graphical interface. The key feature is its metadata driven architecture: the product automatically generates and maintains a metadata repository, crucial to processes like code generation for data extraction, transformation, quality and loading. The company claims this approach to metadata enables business subject definition, scheduling of processes for warehouse maintenance and integration with decision support tools – important for better understanding and application of data. So what does the company see as the key markets for this new product? Says Sim: Everyone wants to find out about their customers…but many people do not realize data warehousing management is an issue. Currently the financial services industry is leading the way because it’s a business driven by understanding customers. Sim sees important applications in telecommunications, retail and utilities.
When it comes to developing new products Sim maintains there are important advantages in SAS remaining privately-owned: it enables us to focus all our attentions in terms of revenue on products – the company currently re-invests 32% of its annual revenue in R&D compared to an industry average of around 15%. However Sim concedes that the company has not always marketed itself as well as it might: It wouldn’t be unkind to say that before the last two years we’ve had a ‘stealth’ approach to marketing – I think we’re making big noises now. SAS/Warehouse Administrator is available now, with a standalone price of 34,000 pounds for the standard first year license. It runs on Widows 95, OS/2, Windows NT and various flavors of Unix including Sun, AIX, Digital and HP.