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Stats SA reaps SAS BI rewards, expands


Statistics SA, the official statistical body of South Africa, is expanding its SAS 9 Enterprise Intelligence Platform (EIP) initiatives across the entire organisation following the successful implementation and migration to SAS 9 from SAS 8 last year.

Ronelle Brandt, manager: application development & processing techniques at Stats SA, says that the company took a decision two years ago to standardise and centralise its processing systems. Stats SA then implemented the SAS 9 EIP solution on a 64-bit Itanium platform, with SAS Enterprise Guide and the SAS Add-In for Microsoft Office as the client tools.
"For the implementation we focused on optimising day-to-day operational processes within Stats SA. The SAS Add-In for Microsoft Office has revolutionised our business intelligence efforts as it provides easy access to SAS's broad and deep set of analytic, reporting and data access functionality.  In addition the Add-in tool provides us the ability to open SAS data sources directly into Microsoft Excel or Word," says Brandt.
"Security was another critical factor for choosing the SAS solution. We work with very sensitive information and required a solution that can control security up to a column level.  The security model of the SAS Metadata Server restricts access to individual users based on the authorisations defined in the metadata," she adds.
Before using SAS, knowledge workers did their summaries, analysis and graphs with different tools and reports were manually collated. This created an opportunity for potential errors.
With the seamless integration of the platform last year, Brandt says knowledge workers have adapted quickly to the new environment. Usage of the EIP architecture has increased dramatically and Statistics SA is looking to expand its infrastructure to accommodate more users on the system.
"I believe our journey with SAS will be ongoing. Their phased approach to BI gave us quick wins and users immediately saw the benefits of using the solution in their day-to-day tasks. It brought standardisation to our organisation and our knowledge workers are now able to get the statistics out much faster and easier with the quality intact," says Brandt.