The statistical analytics market is heating up. Evidence-based management, competing on analytics and the science of business are among the main drivers of a surge in demand for predictive models. There are at least two dozen credible products in the space currently, each with different emphases and strengths. Some products revolve on languages, while others have strong GUI's and APIs. Traditional proprietary offerings compete with new open source entrants. Several platforms focus on mainstream statistics while others obsess on newer data mining and machine learning techniques. A few offer the powerful combination of data management, programming, reporting, statistical and graphics capabilities.

Even with a noisy market, though, I think it's safe to say that SAS, SPSS and R are currently in statistical package leadership positions. SAS is the big gorilla, the largest of the three by far. Generations of statisticians have built careers on SAS solutions for statistical, data management and reporting needs. SAS is the Howard Cosell of the statistical world: everybody has a strong opinion – perhaps as many negative as positive.

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