SAS to Tighten Ties to IBM's DB2 Database

FRAMINGHAM (01/28/2000) - SAS Institute Inc. and IBM announced a three-year deal to jointly develop business intelligence software more tightly integrated with IBM's DB2 database and hardware.

More than 1,900 firms use business intelligence and data-analysis tools from Cary, N.C.-based SAS on IBM's DB2 database at more than 2,700 sites worldwide.

"Anytime there's a partnership like this, and I'm using both products, it makes my life easier," said Tracy Cermack, manager of systems development at Torrance, Calif.-based American Honda Motor Co.'s service engineering information department in Los Angeles. Cermack's group reviews warranty claims to improve engineering.

Randy Erdahl, director of business intelligence at Fingerhut Cos. in Minnetonka, Minn., just completed a project using SAS to find and eliminate redundant catalog mailings.

The company lowered its mailing and advertising costs without affecting revenue significantly when its SAS analysis showed that it was sending catalogs too frequently and with products too similar in nature, said Erdahl.

Fingerhut first started using SAS with its DB2 database when it was on an IBM mainframe. The company continued using the SAS/DB2 combination when it moved to the IBM RS/6000 AIX Unix platform, said Erdahl.

The relationship between IBM and SAS aims to provide consulting services and product enhancements for companies using their tools for managing customer and supplier relationships and enterprise resource planning.

But Cermack said those business-process improvements aren't nearly as important as practical issues. "We don't get as fast a response when we're querying through SAS to a DB2 database as we do if we're querying a SAS data set," she said.

If the IBM/SAS relationship includes interface enhancements, then her team would be able to directly query the DB2 database, instead of converting data from DB2 to a SAS data set, said Cermack. "We can save a lot of CPU time, first of all, by avoiding creating SAS data sets to begin with, and second, by faster access to the DB2 database," she said.

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