A decade ago, when software-as-a-service was emerging, business analytics leader SAS recognised that some customers might prefer off-premise software alternatives.

Rising and unpredictable infrastructure costs were a concern. Deploying critical applications was time-consuming, and maintenance burdened traditional on-premise implementations. But software running on remote computers, accessed through a network and maintained by the provider – generally known as cloud computing – answered the call. SAS started rolling out its SAS Solutions OnDemand in 2000.
A decade and two economic downturns later at SAS’ advanced computing centre, SAS Solutions OnDemand serves more than 100 corporate clients, including multinational firms in the United States, Belgium, the UK, Germany, Italy, Australia and Japan.
Clients include Chico’s, Restoration Hardware, Los Angeles County, NeuroSearch, Ferring Pharmaceuticals, Norfolk Line, the state of North Carolina, Shire and others.
“Enterprises have long sought ways to control infrastructure costs. At the same time they need to be able to quickly deploy new capabilities. While these two requirements might seem at odds, in fact they come together in the cloud computing delivery model,” said Ovum Senior Analyst Vuk Trifkovic. “SAS has been able to meet these needs for numerous customers who have in some cases later moved to an on-premise deployment as requirements changed.”
The 18-member SAS OnDemand product family continues to expand. The most recent addition, SAS Social Media Analytics, joins offerings such as SAS OnDemand: Suspect Claims Detection, SAS OnDemand: Anti-Money Laundering and SAS OnDemand: Drug Development.
McKesson, ranked No. 14 on FORTUNE magazine’s list of the largest companies, uses SAS OnDemand for marketing analysis, clinical analysis and industry analytics involving all types of reporting functions. The health care services and information technology company has experienced an information evolution with SAS Solutions OnDemand where analysts can now explore, create, refine and test new concepts.
“With SAS OnDemand, we are doing more with fewer assets,” says Stephen Buck, vice-president of analytic services at McKesson. “Instead of managing infrastructure, our organisation spends more time providing real business benefit, including analysis of customer loyalty drivers and interventional treatment programs. And the SAS OnDemand solution was up and providing value in less than two months.”
While the hosted application market is still developing, SAS OnDemand long ago addressed customers’ major concern.
“Our SAS OnDemand customers know that SAS is up to the challenge of data security,” says Goran Dragosavac, Practice Lead Analytics. “Many of our customers, representing all major industries across 74 countries, maintain more than 30 terabytes of data in our secure, hosted environment.
“SAS Solutions OnDemand customers are also assured of a smooth upgrade path as their businesses evolve,” says Dragosavac. “As a company grows, it can easily add users, data sources or capacity without confronting a major upgrade. And customers can always choose to migrate to an on-premise model if their needs change.”
One SAS Solutions OnDemand offering, SAS EVAAS K-12, used to evaluate schooling effectiveness and student growth, reached its 1-millionth login in 2009. SAS OnDemand for Academics has had more than 4
000 college and university users in statistics, economics, and finance programs.
To meet customer needs for SAS Solutions OnDemand, SAS announced last year it was investing $70 million in a new cloud computing facility expected to open during 2010.