Tag Archives: BI

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.

Open Source BI

I ran across an interesting blog post the other day and thought it was worth sharing. The article, Open source BI: New kids on the block is a set of view points from Open source vendors discussing Jim Goodnight’s comment that “We haven’t noticed [open source BI] a lot. Most of our companies need industrial-strength software that has been tested; put through every possible scenario or failure to make sure everything works correctly. That’s what you’re getting from software companies like us – they’re well tested and it scales to very, very large amounts of data.”

I find it an entertaining read and agree with some of what is argued, but I think the bigger point that is missed is not whether Open source BI will continue to gain momentum and replace commercial BI products, but how Open source will become integrated into and begin working in tandem with commercial products.

Technorati Tags: BI,Open Source,SAS,SAS Replacement

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.

The Future of Desktop BI, we’re talking fast!

One of my obsessions in life, as it relates to my career and business is desktop computing. I never stop being amazed at how fast and powerful desktop processing has become. In regards to business intelligence, desktop computing as opposed to typical server class processing is almost always six to nine months ahead when it comes to power and affordability.

With the release of Windows 7, we’re going to see some things happen that I think will revolutionize desktop computing as it pertains to analytics. First, we will see the integration of the Graphics Processing Unit into the OS. You will be able to pull up your Windows Task Manager and the GPU will appear as an additional CPU. Analytical software that uses libraries to utilize the GPU will be able to crunch numbers at astounding speeds. These libraries will support AMD/ATI and Nvidia GPU’s as well as support from Windows 7.

The other area that we are going to see a huge performance increase is in solid state disk drives. High performance SSD’s drives from Intel and OCZ are finally showing up. If Moore’s law holds for SSD’s like it has held for CPU’s and memory, we should see affordable SSD’s in the 500GB range. These SSD’s will allow you to read and write at speeds of 500MB’s a second. Compare that to your standard 7200 RPM SATA drive that reads and writes at 85GB and you can start to get excited about the possibilities. Imagine your WPS or SAS work space using an SSD.

The other hardware component that is becoming ubiquitous are multi-core processors. It’s fairly common now to have a quad-core machine for your desktop. We will see this expanded out over the next 18 months or so to be eight cores with eight HyperThreads. I also expect that high performance desktops will have 24GB to 48GB of RAM. Lenovo has the D20 available that is rather affordable if you don’t purchase the RAM or Hard Drives from them.

Finally, we see where Intel has developed a compiler that can parallelize your software without the developer having to manually getting involved in the process. I’m quite certain that other compiler manufacturers will offer similar features. I can’t imagine any BI software vendor who doesn’t make use of this feature being able to stay competitive in the market for very long. This will also be the basis for R being able to go parallel without having to worry about what hardware is installed and what libraries are on the machine.

I think the next 18 months will be exciting and pivotal for a number of software companies. The ones who can utilize the additional processing power of multi-core processing will attract a lot of attention.


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Free MicroStrategy Software


I just discovered this offer earlier this morning. MicroStrategy is offering their Reporting Software, i.e. “MicroStrategy Reporting Suite” software for free.

Basically, what you get in the downloadable package is:

  1. Up to 100 named user licenses of MicroStrategy Reporting Suite (MicroStrategy Intelligence Server and MicroStrategy Web Reporter) with a 1 CPU limit*
  2. 2 named user licenses of development software, MicroStrategy Desktop and MicroStrategy Architect

If MicroStrategy is something that you wanted to learn about, this is a great offer so that you can become more familiar with their product.

Grab the link with the info at: http://microstrategy.com/freereportingsoftware/learnmore/


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