SAS Enterprise Miner Review
Enables Statistical Modeling Of Data Using Base SAS Although Limited GUI is a drawback

Valuable Features

It enables statistical modeling of data using Base SAS (another product from the same vendor) as the backbone. One can create visual models to see the steps involved in modelling of data.

Improvements to My Organization

Using Base SAS, one can do statistical analysis of data. However, Base SAS is completely code driven (doesn't have any GUI). This is a big limitation as statisticians, often, are not so good at programming. SAS Enterprise Miner extends GUI capability and visual appeal to Base SAS, to a good extent.

Room for Improvement

The product is still not as intuitive as one would like it to be. For example, a competing product, IBM SPSS Modeler is nearly completely GUI driven, while SAS Enterprise Miner lacks some features. Plus it is prohibitively expensive and is not available with perpetual licensing.

Use of Solution

Over seven years.

Stability Issues

Not many.

Scalability Issues

It gets painfully slow with raw data in excess of 50GB and one has to go for multi-socket server based licensing that gets prohibitively expensive.

Customer Service and Technical Support

Email based support has a turnaround time of about 24 hours which is not good.

Previous Solutions

We use multiple solutions simultaneously.

Initial Setup

Initial setup was OK. Not too complex, not too simple.

Pricing, Setup Cost and Licensing

It has an annual licensing policy with an annual renewal of almost 35%. The initial cost (and therefore renewals) are extremely expensive. One can possibly invest that much in hardware and possibly go in for products like R that are very cheap in terms of total cost of ownership.

For clarity, R is an open source tool but with the limitation that it's an in-memory tool. When dealing with large datasets, RAM becomes an issue. R is much more flexible. So, rather that investing in a SAS license, we prefer to invest in high RAM hardware (256/512GB RAM) and use R.

Another issue with R is that native version is a single core product. Even if you have a multi-core CPU, it uses a single core. However, Microsoft R, a free version from Microsoft, does away with that limitation. There is also a multi-core (paid) version of R available through Microsoft which does away with in-memory limitation and works out to be much cheaper than SAS Enterprise Miner.

Other Solutions Considered

IBM SPSS Modeler, RapidMiner, R.

Other Advice

Be sure of your needs. In most scenarios, the pricing of SAS Enterprise Miner is not justified by the value it adds.

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

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