SAS Institute offers hundreds of SAS products, and sometimes it's difficult to decide which tool you should use for your work. Here is a partial list of SAS products you might encounter and who uses them for what purpose. As a SAS customer, you might use just one of these products or a few of them; if you're really lucky, you might use them all.

SAS, or the SAS System

The SAS System is the original SAS product that customers have used in one form or another for more than 30 years, on systems ranging from big mainframes to laptops. It's also known as Display Manager (the name of the windowing interface), or Base SAS, or just plain old SAS. The SAS System is primarily a tool for people comfortable with writing SAS programs. It contains the data processing and analytics engine that is at the core of most SAS products.

SAS Enterprise Guide

SAS Enterprise Guide provides a modern, easy-to-use interface to much of the power of SAS. SAS Enterprise Guide is used by SAS programmers, business analysts (who might or might not have programming skills), and statisticians. It’s a Microsoft Windows application that can connect to SAS; you can use it to drive the SAS analytics engine running on a mainframe, UNIX, or other remote machines as a server application. SAS Enterprise Guide is like a general store for SAS, where you can get a little bit of everything that SAS has to offer.

SAS Data Integration Studio

SAS Data Integration Studio is used to create and maintain data warehouses and data marts, which are specialized stores of data that have been prepared for effective reporting and analytics. Data experts, such as database administrators and IT specialists — people who support other folks who have to create reports — use SAS Data Integration Studio. Like SAS Enterprise Guide, this is a client application that runs on your desktop and provides an intuitive user interface, but it can connect to SAS and databases that run on machines all over your organization.

SAS Enterprise Miner

SAS Enterprise Miner is used for data mining, or investigating patterns in large amounts of data. Statisticians and professional modelers use SAS Enterprise Miner to segment data and create descriptive or predictive models. For example, a bank might use such a model to predict how likely you are to respond to a certain credit card offering. If your data profile is similar enough to others who have responded to similar offers, SAS Enterprise Miner would produce a model that indicates you're worth sending the offer to. Hello, Platinum card!

SAS Add-In for Microsoft Office

Some people spend most of their working days working with a Microsoft Office application such as Excel or PowerPoint. SAS Add-In for Microsoft Office lets you open SAS data sources and run SAS analyses without ever having to leave the comfy world of your spreadsheet or slideshow. SAS Add-In for Microsoft Office is used by business analysts who don't really need to know anything about SAS programming but need the answers that SAS can provide.

SAS Web Report Studio

All business intelligence software vendors must have a Web-based reporting product, and SAS Web Report Studio fits that bill. SAS Web Report Studio allows you to create and distribute reports to anyone who needs them, all without leaving your Web browser.

SAS Forecast Studio

SAS Forecast Studio analyzes time-based data and forecasting future trends and events. It's like a crystal ball, only better! SAS Forecast Studio is used by professional modelers or statisticians who understand concepts such as seasonality and intermittent demand models. However, no SAS programming is required!


JMP is a standalone, highly visual analytics product. It runs on Microsoft Windows, Apple Macintosh, or Linux-based computers. JMP is sometimes packaged with SAS and can work with other SAS products, but most often it's used by researchers, engineers, and quality-control experts who want advanced analytics without a big software footprint.

About This Article

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Stephen McDaniel is Principal and cofounder of Freakalytics™ LLC, which provides training and consulting for data presentation, visual data exploration, and dashboard development. Chris Hemedinger works in SAS R&D on the team that builds SAS Enterprise Guide, a popular user interface for SAS customers.

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