SAS teams with EDS, Compaq, on ASP for e-tailers

SAS Institute Inc. Thursday announced a major partnership with Compaq Computer Corp. and Electronic Data Systems Corp. to deliver an application service provider (ASP) service designed to enable online retailers to analyze their customer data effectively.

The new service, IntelliVisor for Retail, is available worldwide from Friday and costs US$30,000 for the first month and $20,000 for each subsequent month, Richard Roach, director for ASP market development, told a meeting of SAS users at the Fortezza da Basso conference center in Florence.

The new service is designed for retailers who want advanced customer intelligence but lack the technology to analyze data internally, the company said.

IntelliVisor is designed to provide analysis of e-business transactions to help retailers build more profitable relationships with customers, SAS officials said. The service tracks how customers interact with online services, the products' customers, and the effectiveness of marketing campaigns.

Through IntelliVisor, SAS receives daily reports of e-business data over a secure, password-protected link, the company said. Overnight it applies its proprietary analytics to the data and returns a variety of reports showing how strategic objectives compare to forecast expectations.

EDS Managed Hosting Services will ensure the quality and security of the service, while Compaq will be SAS' computing partner for IntelliVisor, Roach told the meeting. The service will use Compaq's AlphaServers running Tru 64 Unix to process the data quickly and reliably, he said.

"It's a great approach to get a risk-proven solution for the e-commerce space," Roach said. SAS began building the service in January and has beta-tested it with selected retailers, he said. The ASP model delivers results more quickly and the data analysis will help retailers find a successful marketing strategy, he added.

IntelliVisor requires no software installation or prerequisite hardware and has already delivered a payback to users of up to 300 percent within three months, SAS said.

SAS has paid particular attention to security and privacy aspects, ensuring that customers' data is kept physically separate from that of other customers and protected from unauthorized access, Roach said. "We're under nondisclosure from day one and we never own the data, the customer owns the data," he said.

SAS Friday also announced three new enterprise marketing automation (EMA) software solutions for the credit card, telecommunication and insurance industries. The industry-specific services will be available from the autumn, Shaun Doyle, vice-president for intelligent marketing solutions, told reporters attending the conference. "We can deliver the solution within two to three months. It will have industry-specific analytics already embedded," Doyle said.

The EMA services will significantly reduce campaign deployment times, improve campaign return on investment and increase customer profitability, SAS said.

Scalability will be a key factor in the success of the new services, given the enormous quantity of raw data generated by Web sites, Doyle said. "We intend to expand the services to cover the banking and retail sectors at a later stage," he said.

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