Tuesday, 16 November 2010

NOTE: BI Clients V4.3 Available; SAS in Microsoft Outlook (SAS Central)

Version 4.3 of the SAS BI clients was released in the last couple of days. Read more in the What's Different (Planning for Maintenance) page on the SAS web site.

Not only did I miss SAS Global Forum this year, but I also missed the announcement of the addition of Outlook integration into the SAS Add-in for Microsoft Office 4.3. The Outlook add-in integrates with a very familiar interface using the same types of behaviors expected in the application. Reports, stored processes, and dashboards are accessible from folders, similar to e-mail, organized under a special folder called SAS Central.

At each SGF, the SAS Global Forum Technology Connection is used to unveil a year’s worth of SAS R&D’s exciting new stuff. In the 2010 session, I-Kong Fu, Business Intelligence Product Manager, presented SAS Central, a new collaborative feature of SAS BI Dashboard 4.3 that provides the ability to send dashboard reports to the Outlook inbox.

A user can now check reports including KPIs, model configuration reports and sales reports from this section. One of the key benefits is that these messages are stored on the SAS server, so they don’t take up space in your inbox. SAS Central takes advantage of Outlook’s options: When you see something that needs an action, just right click and set a meeting, send an e-mail or take advantage of many other Outlook options.

You'll find lots more detail in I-Kong Fu's paper entitled "Better Decision Making with SAS Enterprise Business Intelligence and Microsoft Outlook".

I was particularly impressed by the Gadget Pane. The Gadget Pane is a separate (optional) sub-window in Outlook that can be used to display KPIs or other high-value dashboard elements. Using the Gadget Pane allows users to monitor their key metrics whilst doing other things in Outlook.