When addressing the changing role of the CIO and the midmarket, Keith Collins, executive vice president and chief information officer for SAS, talks about the major impact that big data and disruptive technologies are having today and will continue to have going forward.

“Transformation is happening and CIOs must utilize advanced technology to obtain useful insights from their data if they want to deliver more strategic business value,” said Collins in a keynote presentation to CIOs and IT leaders at the Midsize Enterprise Summit Fall Conference held in Austin in mid-September. You can read more about the keynote addresses and discussions that took place at MES by reading the blogs posted on this link: https://www.thechannelco.com/articles/midmarket_it

The key is knowing how to operationalize data and what platform will best allow a CIO to move from understanding to implementation of strategic insights from the data.

“Simply having large volumes of data means nothing without the use of an advanced analytics platform that can to help make sense of the data to help drive intelligent business decisions,” he said. “It’s what you do with your data that has meaning today and can add significant value and competitive advantage to an organization.”

Collins discussed the shift in IT spend from capex to opex, as today’s innovative analytics technologies enable more self-service business analysis and data visualization than has been possible in the past.

SAS has seen a shift in recent years, with its customers making investments in open source and in Hadoop data environments. In response. SAS created technology to allow organizations to take their work to the data in Hadoop, to access data from Hadoop, and to run SAS code inside Hadoop to leverage the compute services offered by Hadoop, not just the data stored in it.

Collins remarked that changing market needs and technologies (including cloud computing, multi-tenancy, elastic pricing and the ability to execute analytics in real time at the point of transaction or interaction) have been driving re-architecture at SAS in recent years. 

“While visionary, disruptive technologies such as cloud, unified and open source have been driving recent change, we are constantly looking ahead to the art of the possible with emerging technology such as machine learning, for example,” said Collins.  Machine learning can detect anomalies, recommend products or predict churn, and Collins told the audience that if your company isn’t using it yet you will likely start doing it soon.

During his presentation, Collins presented four case studies of well-known that are successfully using SAS technology to gather key data that is allowing important insights that are driving transformation and new understanding of their consumers buying behaviors. The four case studies included:

  • Oberweis Dairy, which worked with SAS to gain a better understanding of how its customers shop across different channels and thus were better able to cross-sell and up-sell products without cannibalizing from existing sales channels.
  • Elliot Health System in New Hampshire worked with SAS to better understand the clinical and non-clinical factors that affect hospital readmissions in order to prevent avoidable readmissions in the most appropriate and cost effective ways.
  • The Orlando Magic was able to use SAS analytics and data mining tools to help drive its customer retention and marketing efforts designed to customize the fan experience, which helped the team to keep seats filled at its home games and achieve an impressive 90 percent season ticket renewal rate.
  • Followmont Transport needed to turn large volumes of data into useful information to help its managers more effectively manage its fleet of 600 vehicles and more quickly gather data to allow them to better optimize runs and staffing. 

In all of these case studies, Collins pointed out how IT had become a more valued business partner to the executive management.

To learn more, visit the company’s website at www.sas.com.

Janice Cain, MBA, is an award-winning marketing consultant and PR advisor who has been working extensively in the IT industry for more than 10 years with some of the world’s best known software and hardware companies. Follow her @1010_Marketing