The benefits of SAS Viya’s machine learning and AI capabilities


Since its announcement last April at the 2017 SAS Global Forum, SAS Viya has been heralded as the analytics platform’s stepping-stone into the future. As a cloud-enabled platform, with a powerful in-memory analytics engine that enables quick, accurate, and consistent results at all times, Viya is scalable and has the processing power required to address some of today’s most complex analytical challenges. By combining all its existing functionality with machine-learning and artificial intelligence technology, SAS software is not only becoming more efficient, but smart in the process. This scalability and dexterity are precisely what makes users of SAS software optimistic about the platform’s value in the future.

So, how exactly does SAS utilise machine-learning and AI capabilities? What noticeable benefits has this technology fostered? We explore all that and more in the following sections.

Which SAS Viya product has the strongest machine learning and artificial intelligence capabilities?

While SAS Viya comprises of at least 12 varying products – from SAS Data Preparation to SAS Visual Text Analytics – SAS Visual Data Mining and Machine Learning is by far one of the platform’s most intelligent and insightful. Given that the solution runs on SAS Viya, it is bolstered by the platform’s ability to manage any analytics challenge. Its relative user-friendliness means that anyone from data scientists to business analysts to developers, and executives can collaborate with another to realize insights and results faster.

SAS Visual Data Mining and Machine Learning comes equipped with an incredibly broad set of modern machine learning, deep learning, and text analytics algorithms that are all accessible within a single environment. This makes the solution ideal for all kinds of business users, given the solution’s diverse analytics capabilities that include clustering, different modes of regression, random forests, gradient boosting models, support vector machines, natural language processing, and topic detection – to name a few. SAS users not only gain access to a platform that is highly functional, but one that is equipped with powerful predictive and decision-making capabilities that were previously limited.

Now, let’s look at how this benefits end-users – we begin with how the platform helps solve complex analytical problems much faster.

  • Complex analytical problems solved much faster

Since the software runs on the latest edition of the SAS Platform – SAS Viya – it has the ability to deliver predictive modeling and machine-learning capabilities at unprecedented speeds via powerful in-memory processing. Given the processing prowess and persistence associated with this in-memory data, the need to load data multiple times during various iterations of analysis is no longer required. This means that multi-user collaboration has been simplified where users across all segments of the business and/or organisation can explore the exact same raw data and build their respective models simultaneously. Through the SAS Viya platform, analytical modeling can be done in a matter of minutes, which enables organisations to find answers to their questions and challenges much quicker and efficiently.

  • Greater simplicity and improved usability

A few years ago, the idea of building complex analytics models to drive data-based decision-making within an organisation was heralded as an extremely difficult task that required significant technical expertise. However, through the evolution of the SAS Platform and the development of SAS Viya, users now have access to a platform that comprises of interactive visual and programming interfaces that significantly reduce the amount of time it takes to set up data, build complex and insightful machine learning models, and, finally, make decisions based on these insights.

Even users who lack coding expertise and knowledge can leverage the platform by generating advanced machine learning algorithms via the platform’s built-in visual drag-and-drop interface without ever having to know or drop a line of code into the system. This is something we like to call complete organisational empowerment.

For users who are more technically-versed, data sources and code snippets can be shared among themselves and across departments to better improve organisational collaboration. Additionally, business users of the platform would not have to exclusively know how to code in SAS – other languages, such as Python, R, Java, and Lua can be used to code as well. The SAS code is automatically generated behind the scenes!

  • Leverage machine learning to make the right decision after exploring multiple options

With machine learning capabilities built in, business users have the benefit of leveraging the platform to evaluate and compare all available options/approaches, prior to making or recommending a decision. Scenario-based decision-making is facilitated via the system’s “automated model tuning”, which lets users identify the best-performing model.

The machine learning programs can integrate both structured and unstructured data, enabling users to derive more insights from new data types by adjusting their models accordingly.

SAS Viya has many benefits, with its machine learning and artificial intelligence capabilities being among its best features. If you would like to know more about Viya and its features, in addition to how you can install, administer, and host your organisation’s own SAS environment, feel free to reach out to us, or stay tuned to this feed.


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