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SAS Business Intelligence Tools Overview

Submitted by on 2011-09-07 – 6:00 AM

SAS Enterprise Business Intelligence (BI)  is a suite of applications that allows you to prepare and display data.  Here is a quick overview to help you learn the SAS BI product names and purposes. 

sas bi overview


Prepare Data

Your data may be in a relational database (Oracle, Teradata, MySQL, etc).  The data is then placed in OLAP cubes, information maps, or in some cases a SAS dataset so it can be viewed in the BI toolset.  Some users create their extract transform load (ETL) process in SAS Data Integration (DI) Studio, which is another SAS product. 

  • SAS OLAP Cube Studio
    • Build OLAP cubes, which are based on MDX code.  OLAP cubes allow summarization of huge datasets so users can quickly view and drill-down to desired information. This post contains an overview of building a cube in SAS OLAP Studio. [More tips here: OLAP Cubes, MDX Code]
  • SAS Information Map Studio
    • Build information maps from DBMS(Oracle, Teradata, DB2), SAS datasets and OLAP cubes. Information maps allow you to join data, rename variables, and set the data into business friendly view. [More tips here: Information Maps]

Display and Use Data

Once your data is prepared it can be accessed in various ways.

  • SAS Web Report Studio
    • Create reports from OLAP Cubes, Info Maps, or SAS datasets.  Simple, easy to use interface that allows end-users to quickly review reports and drill-down to other reports. [More tips here: Web Report Studio Tricks]
  • SAS Add-In for Microsoft Office
    • In MS Excel – Create reports from OLAP Cubes, information maps, or SAS datasets.  Mix SAS data with the data from Excel spreadsheets.
    • In MS Office/PowerPoint – create reports from cubes, information maps, or datasets.  Not as much flexibility as with MS Excel, but you can easily create report that you can share with other applications.
    • Possible to create data in MS Excel that you can save to the server and then use in other BI Tools.  This would be an option for smaller datasets that are updated infrequently and not centrally stored, for instance, an department organization structure. [More tips here: Add-In from MS Office]
  • SAS BI Dashboard
    • Use the summarized data to create dials, maps, and even moving indicators. [Overview and demos here: Dashboards]
  • SAS Information Delivery Portal
    • Combine all your Web Report Studio reporting, stored processes, and publication channels, and even external web sites in one location.  The portal allows a jumping off point for the  [Tips: SAS Portal]


  • SAS Enterprise Guide
    • Connect to SAS datasets, RDBMS, and even Excel spreadsheets. Create stored processes to use and display data.
    • Create reports and more from OLAP Cubes, Info Maps, or SAS datasets.
    • Also create reports that can be shared as a stored process for the other SAS tools.
    • Lots of tips here: SAS Enterprise Guide
  • SAS Prompt Framework
    • Used with stored processes and with SAS Enterprise Guide.  Prompts allow you to prompt or ask questions of the users and return data based on the choices.  [More here: prompts]
  • SAS Stored Processes


Getting Started with SAS BI?

If you are learning SAS EBI check out the Building Business Intelligence with SAS: Content Development Examples.  This book covers all the tools with step-by-step instructions on how to get the most use out of each!  Take a peek inside here! Available from Amazon and SAS Press




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Tricia Aanderud

Director of Data Visualization at Zencos Consulting
Tricia Aanderud is a SAS Business Intelligence and Visual Analytics consultant based in Raleigh, NC who works for Zencos Consulting. She has written several books about SAS, presented papers at many SAS conferences, and has been using SAS since 2001. Contact her for assistance with your next project.
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