April 12, 2010 – SAS launched Social Media Analytics today, with hopes that it will steal some of the spotlight from similar products in the market.

With the ability to archive and analyze more than two years of social media conversations from Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, discussion forums and blogs, the new on-demand software integrates both structured and unstructured data with customer relationship management and marketing systems in a dashboard environment. The release includes predictive analytics, sentiment analysis and support for 13 languages.

In this product, SAS is offering a tool that allows users to address each phase CRM, with particular emphasis on listening to customer voice through social media to conduct all manor of analysis, says Jim Kobielus, senior analyst for Forrester Research.

“SAS is definitely not the only vendor to do this. In some ways, SAS is playing catch-up,” says Kobielus.

Other vendors already dipping their toes into the social media analytics pond include Radian6, Alterian’s Techrigy, Motive Quest and Chordiant, acquired by Pegasystems last month. “They all provide fundamentally the same service, which is social media analytics in a dashboard environment.”

SAS may be playing catch-up, but they are competitive, according to Kobielus. In fact, with more customers in data mining and more functionality than anyone else in the market, they bring a lot to the table. “Now that they are in this market they are clearly one of the vendors that everyone is going to focus on. All of the existing vendors will consistently compare themselves in feature function, cost, etc.”

Currently, industry vendors like IBM, KXEN, Portrait Software and Oracle have not broached social media analytics in a marketing or call-center context. It is likely, however, that many of them will make announcements or releases in this same general area throughout the year, Kobielus says.

For now, SAS’ vertical industry expertise, range of language support and model of delivery will make it a strong competitor.

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