Two teams from SAS had the opportunity to prove how well their products compare to the competition at a recent The Data Warehousing Institute (TDWI) conference in San Diego, California.

During the conference, industry thought leaders Cindi Howson and Mark Madsen hosted a pair of classes intended to educate attendees on how to evaluate business intelligence (BI) and data integration vendors. Each of the classes included market and product overviews followed by a competition in which top vendors participated in an extensive head-to-head demonstration. Class attendees were individuals currently involved in BI or data integration initiatives.
In the BI bake off:
* Competition: Business Objects/SAP, Cognos/IBM;
* SAS team: Justin Choy from the Global Technology Practice, Tammi Kay George from Product Marketing;
* Challenge: Show competitive advantage in several areas, including overall company positioning, primary BI product positioning, query capabilities,
OLAP, dashboards and administration. The SAS team also highlighted JMP and SAS integration;
* Evaluation: The SAS BI team beat the overall vendor average of 3.98 by receiving a 4.21 average rating (on a five-point scale) for its ability to demonstrate the software and answer questions. 19 respondents said their impression of SAS' BI solution improved; three said it stayed the same; none said that it worsened.
In the data integration bake off:
* Competition: Business Objects/SAP, Oracle;
* SAS team: Ken Hausman from Product Marketing, Eric Hunley from Product Management;
* Challenge: In a proof-of-concept format, demonstrate data extraction and integration capabilities in a variety of complex scenarios;
* Evaluation: Competitors were not rated, but Hausman and Hunley received more questions than did the other vendors. The SAS team was the only data integration team to run an error-free job during the class. They successfully demonstrated job management capabilities that Madsen said only a few vendors could offer.