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September 27, 2022

SAS Touts One-Click Access to Viya on Azure Cloud

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The strategic relationship between SAS and Microsoft got a little more strategic today when SAS announced that its flagship Viya suite of analytics and machine learning tools is available with click-of-a-button ease on the Microsoft Azure cloud platform.

Viya is SAS’s next-generation platform for data analytics, machine learning, and AI. The suite includes four core products–including SAS Visual Analytics, SAS Visual Statistics, SAS Visual Data Mining and Machine Learning, and SAS Model Manager–and features the SAS language alongside more popular and modern languages like R and Python. The analytics giant has been working to transition thousands of users of its legacy products to Viya, to varying degrees of success.

By expanding its strategic partnership with Microsoft to include a simple onboarding mechanism for users to get started with Viya in the cloud, the Cary, North Carolina company hopes to eliminate any barriers that may be preventing users from adopting the next-generation product suite, which SAS unveiled six years ago this month.

While SAS has been offering Viya on Azure since 2020, today’s announcement should make it even simpler to get started with SAS on Azure, according to Jim Goodnight, SAS co-founder and CEO.

“We’ve spent decades building the most comprehensive suite of analytics on the market, with next-generation AI that addresses the complete analytics life cycle,” Goodnight says in a press release. “We design and test our software to be trustworthy. And now we’re making it all available with a few clicks in the Microsoft Azure Marketplace.”

Viya is available on Azure as a “Get It Now” offering. Providing easier access to analytics is a smart move on SAS’s part, says Dan Vesset, group vice president of analytics and information management at IDC.

“SAS Viya is one of the most comprehensive analytics platforms on the market today,” Vesset says in a press release. “Presenting users with the complete analytics life cycle–from data to a deployed and managed model–available for immediate use and deployment via the Microsoft Azure Marketplace, is key. And offering it with built-in support and training is expected to bring significant productivity benefits to analytics, IT and business groups around the world.”

SAS views its partnership with Microsoft as a key enabler in its drive towards an initial public offering (IPO) of stock. The closely held firm announced last year that it plans an IPO, with 2024 penciled in as the target date.

SAS says the Microsoft partnership is key to helping it shift its revenues to the cloud, which will help it prepare for an IPO. SAS grew its global cloud revenue by 19% in 2021, and increased its cloud customer count by 26%.

In May, the company unveiled a Total Economic Impact study conducted by Forrester Consulting that concluded joint SAS on Azure customers see an average return on investment of more than 200% over three years.

SAS made today’s announcement at SAS Explore, the company’s global SAS users event.

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