Sweating a River over SAS Pricing

On my way out of a local technology meet up last night, I noticed a guy sitting in the car next to mine and he was looking highly distressed. Actually, he looked like a guy who was just served some divorce papers and was desperate for some booze.

Now normally, I mind my own business but his car window was down and the guy looked like he was getting ready to cry.

“Hey friend, how are you doing? Are you alright?”

He spun his head around, not realizing that I was standing next to his car and was caught off guard by my presence. He seemed out of sorts and his eyes were bloodshot, as if he had been crying.

“Have you seen the latest SAS license fees…” he was muttering, “the latest SAS license fees…”

Until then, I hadn’t noticed the jacket he was wearing had the logo of a large company that provides processing services and reporting to other business customers.

“You’re talking about being labeled as a Data Service Provider by SAS Institute, aren’t you?” I couldn’t get my words out before he interrupted.

“They want to quadruple my annual license fees… QUADRUPLE! Don’t they know there’s a recession going on?”

I took a few steps back, “Well yeah, they are known for doing this…”

“They want me to provide them with a list of all my customers so they can try to sell SAS products and services directly to them…”

I tried to tell him that there are alternatives to using SAS, like WPS which is pretty much a drop-in replacement for what he was doing, but before I could get the entire sentence out, he interjected…

“The SAS people also told me that if any of their existing customers drop SAS software because of the business services we provide, then our company will have to cover their license shortfall.”

He started whimpering.

“They’re saying that my business is also in competition to a market they want to really expand services to in the future…”

He slumped forward and started whimpering again. I looked around to see if anyone else was watching and would offer some comfort. I reached through the car window and put my hand on his shoulder, a little fearful that he might try to grab my arm and bite me. I did my best to console him.

“WPS, man… your best solution to regain control from the beast is WPS. No crazy DSP fees or flakey pricing.”

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

3 thoughts on “Sweating a River over SAS Pricing”

  1. Barry &Phil, I hear you! SAS people are something else (family rated terminology). We’re are in the process of leaving SAS or at least keeping them for only one more year for Base and maybe STAT only. We paid for products that we were unable to leverage after they convinced my predecessor we needed BI server and an unnecessary ODBC connection and made us pay for four CPUs even though we only used two.

    Leaving SAS makes our finance director and CEO happy and hopefully our users and IT can make it work without slowing down our business. But I’m confident WPS will have an overall positive effect based on Phil’s experience with his clients.

  2. This is so true! The only place you may have dropped the ball is that you underestimated the cost increase being only 4x. In our case, we wanted to go to a two core server from a single core server. SAS provided us a quote that was that was $115K more first year than we were currently paying. As if that wasn’t bad enough…

    The proposition was that we pay an additional fee of 30% for each customer that we provide services to for our line of business. So, our actual first year fee for just five customers would have been $115K + (5 * 34.5K) for a grand total of $287,500.

    But wait, there’s more. When we told them we wouldn’t pay anything close to what they were asking, the SAS Sales Rep then suggested that we may actually be out of compliance with their license terms for the last few years and that we could be accountable for back fees.

    The moral of the story is to be careful who you climb into bed with.

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