After committing US$1 billion to AI development in 2019, this week at its Innovate conference in Orlando, analytics giant SAS announced an additional US$1 billion over the next three years, directed at the development of industry-specific AI powered offerings based on SAS Viya, the company’s cloud-native, massively parallel AI and analytics platform.
The investment will support direct research and development as well as industry-specific line of business teams, SAS data scientists, statisticians and software developers, working with consultants, systems engineers, and marketers with specific industry experience.
“We’ve got the platform really just humming extremely fast, about 30 times faster than any other open source stuff out there, running massively parallel,” said chief executive officer (CEO) Jim Goodnight, in an interview. “So now we’re going to put a little bit more focus on our solutions. The things like risk and fraud, customer intelligence, and anti money laundering.”
SAS chief technology officer (CTO) Bryan Harris noted during a media briefing that the company’s 2019 investment was to build the platform that became the foundation for all of its industry-specific offerings.
“That investment in AI was so important to us,” he said. “We knew it would be the foundation for where we are at this moment today, but now, it’s about faster time to value.
“We don’t want our customers to have to figure out how to put that domain IP together and figure out how to take a platform and turn it into a solution. Today is about us doubling down on that billion dollar investment now on those solutions in the market, and building AI powered industry solutions for our customers so they can take the inefficiency out of their business.”
It is, he explained, about democratizing analytics and allowing people to create solutions in the way they want to, with what he called “low-code, no-code, and yes-code”.
“Yes, code – some people like to code. It’s fun,” he said. “But we want to make sure we also support the personas who are business analysts, the data scientists – and if you need to code, get in there, roll your sleeves up, and you can leverage SAS Viya to be incredibly productive with that as well.”