Category Archives: Pricing

Cost of Porting Language of SAS to Python?

I recently had a discussion with a self-proclaimed data scientist who made a statement that was so broad, I had to challenge it. The discussion taking place is where a technical recruiter who was having difficulty finding SAS/WPS language developers for their marketing group was expressing some frustration. The young data scientist (still in college) jumped into the conversation with a statement “When you could execute the same applications on a open source tool like python it’s not surprising SAS is fading away.” [SIC]

Well first, I’m not real sure he understood that Python or R could not execute SAS language code. The other aspect, at least to me was the shocking naiveté of the statement simply because this data scientist never addressed the economics of the matter. So let’s do it for him.

Performing some back of the envelope calculations, say a programmer that is knowledgeable in both SAS and Python was given a contract to port 30 Language of SAS programs that average 3,000 lines of code. Let’s assume that on average the programmer can convert, test and document each program in two weeks. I’m going to estimate (probably on the low side) that the programmer is paid $85 an hour to do this conversion.

The programmers cost to convert all the programs would be 60 weeks x 40 hours a week x $85 = $204,000. One can procure a license for an 8 vcpu WPS server for ~$22,000 a year. Comparing the cost of a WPS license to spending $204,000 to convert it to Python, it would take more than nine years before you started to see a pay back on the conversion. Most ROI calculations I see in the tech industry are predicated on three years and not nine.

I just don’t see the ROI of converting existing Language of SAS code to Python unless you want to pay more money and be RAM constrained. However, I do see the ROI in converting your SAS Institute licenses to WPL licenses and execute the same code for much less. The pay back is almost immediate!

About the author: Phil Rack is President of MineQuest Business Analytics, LLC located in beautiful Tucson, Arizona. Phil has been a SAS language developer for more than 25 years. MineQuest provides WPS consulting and contract programming services and is an authorized reseller of WPS in North America.

Why WPS needs to be part of your Corporate BI Stack

Recently, I’ve been talking to a few customers about why they decided to bring WPS into the company. After all, these firms have lots of money and talent. They can pretty much license any software they feel they need as long as it gets the job done. Of course, there are constraints due to pricing and training, but for the most part, these companies have free reign.

Below are the four major topics that everyone has touched on. Remember, these are large firms that are stalwarts in the analytics field offering products and services that are dependent on their IT and business staffs to generate revenue.

Innovation

WPS is rapidly growing and introducing additional procedures to the product. The customers that I have spoken with have all stated that WPS contains all the PROCS that they need to access, analyze and report on the data. Remember, we are talking about Fortune 500 companies here so that says a lot about how fleshed out the product is at this point.

Efficiency in Licensing

If you are a large corporation, it is likely that you have offices overseas. Licensing WPS is a dream compared to our competitors. There’s no multiple sales teams to have to work with and no differentiated licensing.

Also mentioned was that ALL the library modules are included in the price. There is no longer any confusion on what is part of the product.

Cost Reductions

It’s well known that WPS is a high value low cost alternative to the SAS System. Whether considering expanding the footprint with workstations or servers, WPS is an extremely competitive proposition. This is especially true on the server side. Since WPS is priced so competitively, even small workgroups can easily afford a server for their department.

Sole Source provider

One of the most interesting responses I received, and one that caught my attention (especially from a risk mitigation perspective) was that they didn’t want to find themselves beholden to a single source supplier of the language. I asked why they were concerned about that issue specifically. The three major points brought up are:

  1. They lacked flexibility in how they could use the product to deliver data, analytics and reports to their customers.
  2. They could take advantage of new concepts and features as they are introduced across two platforms.
  3. Fear that they would be held hostage in pricing negotiations. With a multiple providers, they felt they had leverage if they chose to not expand their footprint with the sole source provider.

 

About the author: Phil Rack is President of MineQuest Business Analytics, LLC located in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Phil has been a SAS language developer for more than 25 years. MineQuest provides WPS and SAS consulting and contract programming services and is a authorized reseller of WPS in North America.

SAS Increases Prices for Workstation Product

Just noticed that SAS raised their prices for desktops. The 2014 price for a single workstation was $8700 for the first year and has increased to $9,000. This is for the Analytics Pro product and only available on Windows Workstations. Note that SAS does not sell workstation licenses for Apple’s OS X operating system because it doesn’t support OS X natively. SAS also increased the license fees for individual access engines from $3,000 to $3,100 USD.

The $9,000 price also does not include any Access Engines used to interface into databases such as Oracle, MySQL, DB2, etc…

The price increase is 3.44% and when you factor in annual inflation for 2014 (.76%) it seems rather odd that they would have an increase. Actually, by the time you get done adding two access engines (say ODBC and one other) you are looking at first year fees of $15,200. That’s a lot of money!

Our product pricing for 2015 for the WPS Workstation product here in the US has held steady. There are many reasons for this including currency issues and obtaining scales of economy are some of the reasons behind this. Remember, I’m only referring to US pricing.

If you are interested in what WPS has to offer in v3.1 on Windows and Mac Workstations, take a look at the document WPS for Workstations v3.1 to see what a bang for the buck that WPS is for any organization.

About the author: Phil Rack is President of MineQuest Business Analytics, LLC located in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Phil has been a SAS language developer for more than 25 years. MineQuest provides WPS and SAS consulting and contract programming services and is a authorized reseller of WPS in North America.

Who says only big companies can afford to utilize Business Intelligence?

One of the reasons I got into reselling WPS was the fact (and it’s still a fact) that it’s very expensive for a new firm or startup to utilize SAS products. Actually, it’s prohibitively expensive. A commercial startup business is looking at $8700 for a desktop license that provides access to BASE, GRAPH and STAT. That $8700 is for the first year and it doesn’t include access to a database, Open Source R or reading and writing to desktop files like Excel and Access. Add those necessities in the price and you are looking at more than $15,000 for the first year and more than $4200 for renewal.

With WPS our pricing is different. We kind of joke that whatever SAS does pricing wise, we do just the opposite. We don’t have a high barrier in terms of cost to start using our products. Actually, we encourage you to use our products! Currently, we charge $1,311 for a single desktop license. That’s the cost for the first year and it includes all the database engines that you would want.

We don’t have a high barrier to using the language. If you are already familiar with the language of SAS, then you are ready to go with WPS.

We don’t have a high barrier when it comes to accessing your SAS data sets. We can read and write SAS data sets just fine.

But enough about barriers, let’s talk about servers.

The pricing differential is even greater when you start looking at servers. You can license a small WPS server for less than $5,700. That’s a two LCPU server and it includes all the bells and whistles that our desktop licenses include as well. Meaning it includes all the database access engines. The nice thing about our licensing is that we don’t have client license fees. Client license fees are fees that you pay to be able to access the server you just bought! It’s a stupid fee and we try not to do stupid things!

Another way we differ from our competitor is that we don’t have Data Service Provider fees. Let’s face it, many small companies (and large companies too) provide data and reports to their customers and vendors for further analysis and research. As a DSP, you will pay significantly more for your SAS license than what is listed. Expect to pay at least 30% more and often times, a lot more.

If you’re a startup, the message is clear. You probably don’t have a lot of money to toss around and cash flow is an issue. MineQuest has partnered with Balboa Capital to help company’s manage their licensing costs. By working with Balboa Capital, you can manage your license costs by paying a monthly amount of money towards your license. You will have to take out a two year WPS license to qualify for the program, but it’s an easy and efficient way to manage your resources.

About the author: Phil Rack is President of MineQuest Business Analytics, LLC located in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Phil has been a SAS language developer for more than 25 years. MineQuest provides WPS and SAS consulting and contract programming services and is a authorized reseller of WPS in North America.

Building a BI Consulting Company Part II

In the previous post I mentioned that software costs and licensing can be a major impediment to offering a competitive consulting business. I’ve written numerous times demonstrating the cost between a WPS license and our competitor licensed product. You can see those articles here and here.

If you’re a small business and/or just starting an analytics business then cash flow is a major issue. You expect that there will be some significant startup costs but wisely choosing your products can have a major impact on whether you will be successful or not.

The same goes for what you can do with the license. For example, some software companies put the screws to you when you want to use their licensed software in a B2B fashion. This can be innocuous as creating reports and data sets for your customer. The vendor, if they realize it will then dramatically increase your license fees.

How about licensing issues between your company and the software vendor where they have a vested interest in a software solution and you want to offer a competing product? Or perhaps (and more likely) what if they develop a competing product to your solution and decide that they no longer want to provide your organization with a software license? This is a very possible scenario where software companies want to create or move into vertical market applications at the expense of their license holders.

So those are a few things to consider in regards to software costs and licensing. Do your research and ask questions of the vendor. It never hurts to be informed.

About the author: Phil Rack is President of MineQuest Business Analytics, LLC located in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Phil has been a SAS language developer for more than 25 years. MineQuest provides WPS and SAS consulting and contract programming services and is a authorized reseller of WPS in North America.

Complexity and Cost

This past weekend, my wife and I went to a lovely wedding. This was a Catholic wedding that was amazingly short but the priest had a very interesting sermon on complexity and cost. He talked about complexity in our lives and the cost both direct and indirect that we each experience. One example that he gave was smart phones and how expensive they are in terms of outright cost of service as well as the indirect cost, that being how much time we take playing and looking at the gadgets at the expense of others and relationships around us.

Hi sermon got me thinking. This is true for software and business intelligence in particular. The cost of non-open source software can be pretty high. And the reason for that? Support cost, sales cost, maintenance cost, legal costs, etc…

I often see how companies have purposely fragmented their products so that they can charge more for additional libraries modules. This has increased cost tremendously for the consumer. Our competitor is a prime example of this. They send out a local or regional sales person to chat up the prospect. Often, they can’t answer the questions the customer has because of the complexity of the product. So they send out a Sales Engineer or two who visits the prospect to answer these questions and chat them up a second time. Now we have three people in the mix who are making a 100 grand a year (at least) involved in the sale. The price of the software product has to increase to the customer because of all the people involved in the sale.

Here’s another example of added complexity. Different pricing for the same product depending on how you use it. Take companies that are B2B in nature. Firms such as actuarial firms, claims processing, advertising etc… are often labeled as data service providers because they want to use the software in a B2B capacity. Sometimes this is as innocuous as being a Contract Research Organization providing statistical analysis. The cost here comes from a different license (think lawyers), people to audit the customer and employees to enforce the license. It all adds up!

That above examples illustrate everything that is wrong with traditional ways of thinking in terms of software. At MineQuest Business Analytics, we’re proud that we are able to help keep cost down for the customer. We don’t have such draconian licensing for companies that are DSP’s. We don’t have an organization that is setup to milk and churn the customer for every last cent. What we do have is a company that is dedicated to providing the best service and software at an affordable price.

About the author: Phil Rack is President of MineQuest Business Analytics, LLC located in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Phil has been a SAS language developer for more than 25 years. MineQuest provides WPS and SAS consulting and contract programming services and is a authorized reseller of WPS in North America.

Being Small Business Friendly

We recently put together a WPS vs. SAS Server Cost Comparison. Interestingly, this is one of the most downloaded documents from the MineQuest website. For the first time, smaller companies can afford to run the language of SAS on a server at reasonable prices.

Many companies however don’t have the resources, either financial or technologically to implement a server solution for their organization. And that’s OK too. Using WPS on a desktop is a great way to utilize a WPS license at a reasonable cost. So today, I want to talk about WPS on a desktop and how a smaller organization or department can implement WPS in a cost effective manner.

Being Small Business Friendly

I like to think that we are very Small Business Friendly in terms of our pricing structures. We don’t have high upfront charges to start using the product. We feel this is nothing more than a lock-in strategy and punishes start-ups and small businesses and would result in organizations shying away from using WPS.

Being small Business Friendly goes beyond just pricing. If you run an analytics consulting company and primarily find yourself involved in the B2B sector (and who isn’t?) you may be a Data Service Provider as defined by our competitor. The whole concept of being a DSP is just a ruse to extract more money out your organization.

Your customers and partners are yours. We don’t jump in and demand names of companies that you are doing business with and up-charge you for the use of the software to deliver reports and data sets created with our software. We don’t force you to sign a license agreement that demands if an existing customer drops a license that you are responsible for making up the difference. And, we don’t force you to make quarterly reports of who your customers are so that we can them market to them.

So in the spirit of good competition, I’ve put together a short pricing comparison of WPS on a desktop vs. SAS on a desktop. I used the Analytics Pro pricing from SAS because that seems to be the biggest bang for the buck in terms of pricing. I also added in two access engines to the mix. Most users would want to be able to read and write to Excel and Access as well as say SPSS. Of course, these are included in WPS but are an additional cost from our competitor.

I also included pricing from the GSA schedule. The GSA (Government Services Administration) is an organization that exists to get best pricing. According to the GSA, best pricing is at least 16% below the commercial pricing. So I thought it would be interesting to include those figures too. I know a lot of state and federal agencies read this blog so it’s informative for them to see how much money they can save if they decide to swap out SAS for WPS.

Table 1. Single License – First Year License Fee Comparison of WPS vs. SAS on a Desktop.

Desktop Product WPS SAS SAS Govt (GSA)
Analytics Pro $1,266 $8,700 $6,870
PC File Formats Included $3,000 $2,176
ODBC/OLE DB Included $3,000 $2,176
Total

$1,266

$14,700

$10,739

 

Table 2. Five User License: First Year License Fee Comparison of WPS vs. SAS on a Desktop.

Desktop Product WPS SAS SAS Govt (GSA)
Analytics Pro $6,330 $34,800 $24,468
PC File Formats Included $6,600 $4,463
ODBC/OleDB Included $6,600 $4,463
Total $6,330 $48,000 $33,394

By the way, all the prices above are readily available on the Internet. The prices shown were prices listed on March 4, 2013.

About the author: Phil Rack is President of MineQuest Business Analytics, LLC located in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Phil has been a SAS language developer for more than 25 years. MineQuest provides WPS and SAS consulting and contract programming services and is a authorized reseller of WPS in North America.

2013 WPS and SAS Server Pricing Comparison

It’s that time of the year again. We’ve updated our ever popular WPS vs. SAS Pricing Comparison document for 2013. As in previous years, we pulled data for SAS pricing from the GSA schedule. As most of you who have read previous years pricing comparisons, WPS continues to stay significantly less expensive than our competitor.

The pricing differential for even our most entry level server product in contrast with our competitor is stunning. For example, with the money you can save in the very first year in licensing WPS over SAS on just a two core server, you could:

  • Buy 5 Kia Souls.
  • Pay for food for a family of four for 7.5 years.
  • Will buy four years of in-state tuition and room and board at Ohio State University.
  • Buys 27 years worth of gasoline for the average U.S family.
  • You could add an employee to your company.
  • Buys 24 months of a high end vacation rental home that has a Jacuzzi and lap pool.

OK, you get the point! Click the following link for the updated “Pricing Comparison Document” in PDF format.

Note: We no longer provide the pricing comparison document due to the time and complexity of pulling our competitors pricing data.

About the author: Phil Rack is President of MineQuest Business Analytics, LLC located in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Phil has been a SAS language developer for more than 25 years. MineQuest provides WPS and SAS consulting and contract programming services and is a authorized reseller of WPS in North America.

An Interesting Fact on Pricing

When you license WPS from MineQuest Business Analytics, you don’t pay a sales tax on your purchase unless your business has a nexus in the state of Michigan. Now there are a lot of businesses that don’t have nexus in this state. Our competitor however does have offices in many states (including Michigan) and thus must charge you sales tax for your home state.

If you look at the pricing comparison for a two core WPS server vs. a two core SAS server, the amount of sales tax you pay on that SAS license is often as much if not more than the cost of the WPS Server! So, at 6.4% sales tax, a two core SAS server at $85,423 for the first year license fee, you pay ~$5,467 in sales tax. That’s more than what a two core WPS Server on x86 hardware cost.

It’s hard to argue that a SAS Server license is not over priced.

 About the author: Phil Rack is President of MineQuest Business Analytics, LLC located in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Phil has been a SAS language developer for more than 25 years. MineQuest provides WPS and SAS consulting and contract programming services and is a authorized reseller of WPS in North America.

Maximizing your BI Budget and Advantages of Licensing WPS

It’s coming up to the end of the year and everyone is worried about the Fiscal Cliff and how Obama Care is going to impact their business and personal lives. Many companies have plans they are setting in place for 2013 in regards to their analytics capabilities and trying to preserve their budgets worried about the unexpected. Which leads into…

As a WPS Reseller, I’m often asked how we price software and what is the logic behind it. First and foremost, we try to price our software to be a “high value and low cost” alternative to the SAS System. That comes across in a couple of ways. One thing you will notice if you get price quotes for WPS and SAS is that SAS has a very high upfront first year fee. Let me tell you, it causes a lot of sticker shock from the phone calls I get. Contrast that with the WPS System and you will see that WPS has a fairly constant price from year-to-year. There is no high upfront cost that is a barrier to bring WPS in house.

The biggest bang for the buck is when you put WPS on a server. There are numerous technical advantages for doing this which are beyond the scope of this particular post, but pricing for a WPS server is very aggressive. The cost for our four and eight core WPS Server licenses cannot be beat. Whether you look at Linux or Windows on a server, you will not be faced with having to pony up for client access fees to access the server. You can have as many users running and submitting code as the server is capable of handling. Not having Client Access fees can save you a lot of money.

Growing your Business

This is important when you are considering expanding your organizations SAS Language processing capabilities.  WPS and MineQuest make it easy and much more affordable to continue the expansion of your BI stack. Many companies need to add servers and desktops as they grow. This is especially true for smaller and mid-sized businesses. Keeping the first year price sensible goes a long way towards managing your cash flow and IT budgets.

As your company grows, WPS can grow with you. Earlier, I touched on expansion. But did you know that if you decided to move your processing from say a two core to a four core server (must be on the same OS platform) that you can get credit for those two cores that you already paid for? You don’t start over with a new license agreement, you just pay the difference in cost for the additional two logical CPU’s.

Virtual Machines

It’s pretty common today to run your analytics on a server that is actually a virtual machine. There are pro’s and cons to this but it is the reality of the day. WPS can run in a virtual machine like most other software, but interestingly there is no up-charge to this like our competitor. It really doesn’t make any difference to us from a technical perspective whether you run your WPS license in a VM or on the bare metal. This is important because you can save some significant money by running WPS in a VM on a large machine. Say the server has 32 logical CPU’s and you only need eight for your analytics, you can create an 8 LCPU VM and buy an 8 LCPU WPS license.  You can get a much better ROI on your server when you runs WPS this way.

DSP’s

I’ve mentioned this numerous times before in this blog, but companies who are DSP’s (Data Service Providers) often pay double and triple the amount of license fees to our competitor for using their software to provide reports, data sets, and analytics to their customers. This is truly a shame and in my opinion, just out right greedy. WPS does not have DSP fees and we encourage companies who are in the B2B sector providing analytics, reporting and data to use WPS for their processing. It’s a win-win situation for both parties.

Finally, it’s the era of Big Data. And what that means is that there are opportunities for many companies like Ad agencies, marketing analytics firms, loyalty processing organizations, healthcare processing companies and many others to capitalize on the current interest in utilizing data to its maximum effectiveness. Whether you are an individual consultant and only need a desktop license for less than $1300 or you are a large organization that makes a living with your data and requires server size processing capabilities, you can do yourself and company a favor and take a look at WPS.

 About the author: Phil Rack is President of MineQuest Business Analytics, LLC located in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Phil has been a SAS language developer for more than 25 years. MineQuest provides WPS and SAS consulting and contract programming services and is a authorized reseller of WPS in North America.

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