Date: Sun, 22 Nov 2009 15:40:55 -0500
Reply-To: Arthur Tabachneck <art297@NETSCAPE.NET>
Sender: "SAS(r) Discussion" <SAS-L@LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
From: Arthur Tabachneck <art297@NETSCAPE.NET>
Subject: Re: New York Times Article About SAS Institute and Changing
Marketplace for Its Products
I have received a similar off-line comment and, as I mentioned in that
response, the SAS technical support folk are definitely responsive and may
in fact be the best of all similar firms.
However, my rant was intended to be a rant on where SAS can/has to improve
in order to stay competitive and I still feel that is one of the areas.
Yes they are responsive. Yes they often pass the concern off to a more
qualified person. But when "marketing" determines what should be fixed and
when, the "right" folk have to wait for customers to submit helpdesk tickets
and for those tickets to have to fit into "marketing's" plans, etc., I think
the "right" person ought to decide if they haven't gotten too IT oriented.
On Sun, 22 Nov 2009 14:59:16 -0500, Nathaniel Wooding
>I will quibble with you on one point in your rant. While I don't have SAS
Tech Support on speed dial, I do call them every so often and recognize a
voice before they finish identifying themselves. The fact that anyone with a
valid site id can call them, be immediately answered by a triage person --
not a English speaking computer -- and then be sent to another human without
having to listen to a couple hours of music says a whole lot. I will readily
grant that the first person who fields my call may not be the one to answer
my questions but sometimes the source of the problem is not always apparent
and sometimes I don't couch my complaint as well as I should.
>Overall, I have never found fault with the staff there. That does not mean
that they will always get a really obscure question right but some
situations take a while to figure out.
>From: SAS(r) Discussion [mailto:SAS-L@LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf Of Arthur
>Sent: Sunday, November 22, 2009 10:05 AM
>Subject: Re: New York Times Article About SAS Institute and Changing
Marketplace for Its Products
>I'm not at all insulted that SAS treats its employees so well. In
>fact, it is probably among the many reasons why it has been so
>successful over the years and able to provide us with what we want.
>However, I totally agree that SAS has had its weak points over the
>years, and documentation has always been one of them. For many years,
>I'd refer to the original SPSS documentation in order to determine
>what I'd like to do in SAS. Unfortunately, they too, changed scope
>and my preference for documentation has switched to the web. And, my
>limited experience with the SAS technical support staff leads me to
>think that JG hasn't put as much into support (including
>documentation) as he has in product development and marketing.
>Is SAS too expensive? Absolutely! But I think the root of the
>question of how it has become so overpriced is where the real answer
>lies. Many of us went with SPSS and SAS because it gave us a way to
>do what we needed. At the time, we didn't realize that we were also
>avoiding the extremely stuctured and limiting aspects of all of the IT
>departments that were also evolving at the same time.
>But, just as those departments were beginning to be able to exercise
>significant control over processing, SPSS and SAS came out with
>Window's versions, which enabled us to maintain our processing
>What I have witnessed over the last 5 to 10 years or so, though, is
>that SAS has been going in a direction that makes those of us who use
>SAS to be more dependent on our IT departments. Unfortunately, they
>typically don't understand the product, thus many of the benefits end
>up getting lost in the translation.
>And, even worse, since those departments are used to lavishing in much
>larger budgets than those of us who use SAS, the products that SAS has
>available end up being targeted to those markets and at the price tags
>those markets expect.
>I sincerely think that SAS Institute would greatly benefit from a
>rethinking of its basic strategy. Yes, they've been doing that a
>little more in recent years (the interest in R being an example) but,
>even there, only scratching the surface.
>---End of Rant--
>On Nov 22, 12:33 am, "Kenneth M. Lin" <kenneth_m_...@sbcglobal.net>
>> "Sierra Information Services" <sfbay0...@aol.com> wrote in
>> > Very interesting article about SAS...includes quotes from Rick
>> > Langston, whom many of us know from his many presentations at events
>> > for SAS users over the years.
>> > The article's title is "At a Software Paradise, the Good Life is Under
>> > Siege" and was published on 21 Nov 2009.
>> > Andrew Karp
>> > Sierra Information Services
>> > httpL//www.sierrainformation.com
>> Considering how expensive SAS software licenses are, I am pretty insulted
>> that SAS treats its own employees so well. Their manuals are borderline
>> unreadable and most sections haven't been updated in decades!
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