This past month we had news from SAS Global Forum, Microstrategy, Oracle, AWS, Google, Qlik Qonnections, Tableau and several other smaller vendors. Fallout from the March Facebook scandal continued while GDPR compliance updates flooded email inboxes. GDPR is only a few weeks away. Are you ready? If not, stop reading this article and get working on it.

New SAS Viya Enhancements

SAS Global Forum, the world’s largest analytics conference with more than 30,000 business and IT users of SAS software participating on-site and online, was held in April. During the event numerous enhancements to SAS Viya were unveiled for availability in June 2018.

SAS showcased automated data prep, model building and deployment along with new feature engineering capabilities to improve model accuracy. For natural language processing, SAS is automating sentiment analysis and document classification using recurrent neural networks (RNN).

To provide better model transparency, the latest SAS Viya release offers improved interpretability through use of industry frameworks such as Local Interpretable Model-Agnostic Explanations (LIME) and impact, confidence and ease (ICE).

SAS Viya

 

The latest SAS Viya release improves data governance and data lineage across the entire analytics life cycle. Visualizing the relationships between data – both structured and unstructured – builds an intuitive understanding of how data depends on other data. It also helps find errors and identify redundant copies of data. SAS Viya also offers model performance dashboards.

As SAS continues to improve openness and interoperability with other systems, the next SAS Viya release enables users to embed open source code within their machine learning pipelines. The Platform also includes access to Salesforce and Java Database Connectivity (JDBC), and the ability to include open source JavaScript visualizations in explorations and reports. This release also provides Python model support in decision flows.

Additional announcements from SAS Global Forum are available in the official press release.

 

MicroStrategy 10.11 Released

Our next April update comes from Microstrategy. Last month Microstrategy 10.11 was announced. Although it was a point release, this one was packed with 32 pages of updates. Highlights include new visualizations, mapping enhancements, intelligent recommendations for content, prompts for dossiers, a native MicroStrategy Library app for smartphones, and more.

Microstrategy 10.11 added three new visualization types for scientific and marketing analyses – Waterfall, Histogram and Box Plot.

Microstrategy Plots

Starting with 10.11, MicroStrategy offers two mapping options: Maps with ESRI (which is available out-of-thebox with the Server) and the new Geospatial Services with Mapbox. New Mapbox integration adds more sizzle to out-of-the-box mapping. There are now multiple options for map styles, including basic, white, light, dark, street, topographic, physical, relief, satellite and satellite street styles. In addition, users can leverage zoom appropriate clusters, aggregations and layers. Geospatial functionality with vector-based maps has also doubled. Users can leverage Microstrategy 10.11 to plot polygons on a map with global coverage of all U.S. zip codes and postal codes for more than 150 countries.

Microstrategy Maps

Another welcome addition is direct links to other pages or to separate dossiers, reports, and documents. In MicroStrategy 10.11, analysts can now add direct links within a dossier to any external URL, other pages within the dossier or other dossiers, reports, or documents. This will help authors provide options for guided analyses.

AWS

In April, Amazon shared news that the Aurora database more than doubled the number of active customers in the last year. Active usage is a key cloud metric to measure. Amazon’s growth metrics continue to be amazing.

They also touted SageMaker, a machine learning solution, was attracting everyday app developers that were adding machine learning into apps. Amazon claims AWS has “meaningfully more” customer references for machine learning than any other provider. Although the shared list was impressive, I find that particular claim pretty hard to believe. IBM and SAS have had machine learning solutions for far longer and historically owned the advanced analytics market.

Hmmm…gotta love Amazon AWS marketing madness.

On that note, I saw an intriguing article from Shaun Snapp that explores AWS growth. It is a good read.  If you have not seen his articles before, bookmark his site and return to it when you have time to enjoy a variety of educational expose topics.

Qlik Qonnections

As recently covered, Qlik Qonnections was held in April and it proved to be a fascinating event this year. The must-read article was posted on April 25. To summarize my overall vibe, I did get a much better understanding why Qlik was able to hang on to a Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader spot despite a challenging 2017. I witnessed a healthy sized crowd of avid Qlik fans and partners. The “smart” cognitive features aka “The Beast” and the associative big data index do sound fantastic.

Qlik The Beast

Qlik’s personable new Qlik CEO appears to be listening to his customers and taking actions to “make things right”. However, he will need to get adequate funding from Thoma Bravo for Qlik to thrive. He could also use another truly magical Qlik marketing campaign to improve market visibility.

Qlik’s New CEO is taking actions to “make things right”.

Qlik competes in a space filled with massive sharks. I did not see any “blue ocean” announcements that would alleviate the risks of swimming beside those scary sharks. I also sensed that Qlik now has an extremely lean staffing model. My gut feel is Qlik is doing the best that they can with a limited budget. Kudos to them for rallying the troops and delivering a solid roadmap.

New Tableau Pricing and Tableau Prep

Oh Tableau! On the same day as Qlik’s opening keynote, Tableau announced Project Maestro’s release now called Tableau Prep, pricing changes and a 2018.1 update. Like my Qlik Qonnections coverage, I also wrote up a detailed article on Tableau’s news along with my take. If you are interested in that article, it was also posted on April 25.

Tableau Prep Joins

In addition to Tableau Prep general availability, Tableau also introduced new subscription offerings that combine existing and new Tableau capabilities into new role-based packages. Tableau’s new offerings, available on-premises, in the public cloud or via SaaS, and make it easy to start and to scale big. For more information on the new pricing structure, see www.tableau.com/pricing.

Other Notable News

Last but not least, other notable news in the analytics world includes but is not limited to the following:

If you know of an exciting update that was omitted, please let me know. Although some press/analyst relations and product teams send news to me, other announcements can be more challenging to track in random alerts. As you all know by now, there is never a dull day in the wild world of data.

Never a dull day in the wild world of data