SAS Enterprise Guide Review

Exporting a data set in Unix to an Excel spreadsheet on a PC is a simple task. Not enough real estate to display the flow chart and dependencies without a lot of scrolling.


What is our primary use case?

Mostly accessing medical claims data from mainframe warehouses, plus occasional spreadsheets, etc. Aggregating and scoring according to specified algorithms and identifying medical practitioners who are statistical outliers with respect to certain procedures.

Loading results of these analyses into Microsoft SQL Server and writing queries for access by users without SAS licenses.

Running SAS EG on a networked Windows PC, connected to a SAS Grid on a Unix network, accessing data warehouses in Teradata.

How has it helped my organization?

In general, for large complex programs, I found myself wishing I had access to the base SAS environment.

People did not use the EG specific features, just writing long programs in Base SAS, using EG to launch them. 

Also, I could never get the ability to run code in parallel on the SAS Grid. For instance, long running data pulls from multiple databases, when working, were slow when running the entire program sequentially in Base SAS.

What is most valuable?

Areas where SAS EG does a better job than regular SAS are in the realm of importing and exporting data. For instance, exporting a SAS data set in Unix to an Excel spreadsheet on a PC is a simple task compared to doing the same task with Base SAS.

The usual virtues of drag and drop style interfaces with a flow chart-like depiction of the project and the ability to separate the project into individual flows, i.e., one for the slow data pulls from the databases, a second for data crunching, and a third for the outputting to the PC. The ability to copy the underlying SAS code from a node and modify it and/or reuse it elsewhere, and also the built-in versioning of program code stored in the project, is very useful for something that is run periodically and frequently updated.

The ability to include it as part of the project code housed on either the PC or the UNIX box is handy, although EG doesn't provide the ability to version the code.

What needs improvement?

I had difficulty with the diagrammatic flow chart style representation of projects. When projects got too large and complex (which was basically every project, except the most trivial). There just wasn't enough real estate to display the flow chart and dependencies without a lot of scrolling, even when a flow was down to minimum tasks. My recourse was making the flow less "atomic". E.g., rather than use the various subset, etc., tasks as program nodes to display the details, I would write chunks of code that did a few things and use them as SAS program nodes.

For how long have I used the solution?

Three years.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Management liked it a lot because the license per seat was cheaper than a traditional SAS environment.

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