SAS Data Management Review
Very powerful options in terms of Data Profiling, Data De-duplication, and programming complex data cleansing rules.


Improvements to My Organization

I’ve used this product in multiple ways. Initially, I integrated it with QAS address software to validate and standardize customer website registration data in real time, loading the cleansed customer data into Siebel CRM. I’ve used the data profiling reports to identify errors in ETL jobs and enterprise data warehouses. I’ve built business rule metrics that score ETL jobs in terms of data completeness and data accuracy between the business application data store and the enterprise data warehouse. All efforts have proved invaluable to the business user.

Use of Solution

SAS Data Management Studio V 2.4

Deployment Issues

While the deployment is more complex now that it was 7 years ago, if you follow the detailed instructions from SAS regarding the software depot deployment, it is not difficult, and can be completed in 1-2 hours easily.

Stability Issues

The server side component runs rock solid on Linux. The Windows client component is less stable, and may require a restart a few times a day, especially if installed on a PC with limited RAM and you are dealing with very large data stores. Since I’m one major release behind in this software, it’s possible these client stability issues have been corrected in the most recent release.

Scalability Issues

Very large data stores require a powerful server to run the data profiling reports for all of the rows in the database. My estimate for “very large” is a database >= 200 million records.

Customer Service and Technical Support

Customer Service:

When DataFlux was a standalone company, the customer service deserved an A+ rating. Now that it is a wholly owned subsidiary of SAS, and just one piece of a giant software conglomerate, I would give them a C+.

Technical Support:

Technical support is strong at resolving install and configuration issues of the client side tool. You will need to speak with a SAS DataFlux consultant to debug complex technical issues related to the data quality jobs you code, or server side problems.

Implementation Team

I’m an independent DataFlux consultant, so I am “the vendor”. I’ve partnered with SAS consultants on implementations, as well as performed solo installations. SAS DataFlux consultants are top notch in their expertise of the tool and data. But they are not required to install successfully, just add a level of confidence.

ROI

The ROI can be very high in terms of improving the reliability and accuracy of data used in forecasting and marketing models (ex: customer data, sales data). You can also reduce storage costs; slow the need for hardware upgrades by using DataFlux to eliminate duplicate data. Even better, use DataFlux to audit your ETL and data warehouse efforts, insuring accurate reporting. CEOs and CIOs will drop $10M for a new ERP system installed by a big-4 consulting firm, and then balk at 5% of this cost to insure that the data stored in this complex and costly ERP system is not corrupt or full of duplicate data.

Other Solutions Considered

Yes, including Business Objects, IBM’s Infosphere, and Trillium.

Other Advice

Take the time to send a minimum of 3 of your most technical data architects to onsite training at SAS in Cary, North Carolina. Their facilities and teachers are excellent, and this training is of great benefit for your organization over the long term.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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