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SAS® Premium Support enables The Duke of Edinburgh's Award to go further, faster – and improve business performance

Additional services and domain expertise via SAS® Premium Support are helping this leading youth charity gain new insights, enabling managers to better target resources, work to improve performance and deliver more for its partners and participants.

With 650 licensed partners across the UK, the Duke of Edinburgh's Award (DofE) helps young people develop valuable skills for life and work "to fulfil their potential and have a brighter future". Each year, 275,000 work towards achieving 90,000 Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards. Since 2009, SAS has been helping the DofE manage its operations more efficiently and cost-effectively with an analytics and reporting suite using SAS® Enterprise BI Server, and including SAS® Web Report Studio, SAS® Information Map Studio, OLAP, SAS® BI Dashboard and SAS® Enterprise Guide®.

"We launched an online version of our record-keeping system for young people in 2009 – it had all been paper records since the 1950s," says Richard White, DofE Programme Manager. "As a result, we can work with many more young people, extend our reach and have access to up-to-date information for reporting and management purposes." He describes this change, enabled using SAS®, as "a genuinely big win: we went from being an information poor charity to information rich. Everyone has been on a huge learning curve: we had no expertise in business intelligence and no expertise in creating the reports we needed covering our operations, partners and young people's activity – but we wanted to build our capability. SAS has supported us throughout, first with 'standard' support – which was exceptional – and then SAS Premium Support. We couldn't have got here, in terms of BI and reporting, without SAS Premium Support."

Bridging the gap

DofE was aware it had been using standard SAS support a great deal, particularly as it moved to a server-based solution. It was also planning to double user numbers to 1,000. "We discussed how SAS Premium Support would be more appropriate in terms of the focus and expertise the DofE needed," says Neil Doyle, Technical Account Manager, SAS. Extra benefits provided by SAS® Premium Support include an agreed number of days for technical account management, and for on-site and critical period support, plus regular status reports, priority handling of escalations and a dedicated Customer Support specialist as a single contact. Richard White says, "The 'standard' support was fantastic but did have limitations. We wanted to make sure we got something meaningful from the solution, to design the reports we wanted and overcome hurdles. It's definitely a two-way relationship now, with SAS being proactive and making recommendations. It's not just problem-solving."

"I've been working with DofE since day one," says Graham Lester, Customer Support Team Leader, SAS. "Given what it wanted to achieve, I could see it would benefit from more dedicated resources. The purpose of SAS Premium Support is to bridge the gap if a skills shortfall exists." With the DofE not requiring full-blown consulting, SAS Premium Support ensured it had flexible access to a highly experienced consultant who knew its set-up and requirements intimately, and could offer proactive suggestions along with technical assistance. "That one-to-one support is invaluable in helping us create the reports we need, which can be quite intricate, working against our data sources, including charts and graphs, presenting complicated extrapolated results, including KPIs, traffic lighting, and so on," says Jimmy Chung, Reporting Officer, DofE. "The reports also have to be simple to use: our users are from a youth worker background, not IT. Before SAS Premium Support, it was easy to get stuck. And once I have the knowledge, I can replicate the approach in other reports. In particular, the KPIs we've been able to include have opened people's eyes to what's possible; our work is helping to drive a massive cultural change."

A low cost, high value service

"SAS Premium Support provides a low cost but extremely effective advisory service," Neil Doyle says. "The DofE also has continuity in service, support and knowledge: people know their call will be answered by someone who can help them. This is about providing a customer like DofE with a winning combination of SAS technology plus domain expertise." The contract includes 5–6 days' training a year from SAS® Education.

"We're relatively small and don't have the resources to employ an in-house team with the SAS expertise we need," Richard White adds. "We started from a very low base, and SAS has really helped from the word go: in particular to identify our information needs and how best to address them. SAS is working in partnership with us, and we definitely get value for money. This is about DofE becoming so much more efficient, so we can achieve more – and SAS Premium Support helps us do that. We can now analyse what works and what doesn't, visualise results, identify performance issues, and have opportunities to make specific changes that improve our organisation's efficiency and effectiveness, including targeting resources where they can have the biggest impact. I think we get a great return on investment from SAS Premium Support. I can't fault SAS and the support it provides." Jimmy Chung adds, "Personally, I wouldn't be able to deliver against my targets in reporting without SAS Premium Support. SAS support has been brilliant for me, and so helpful to DofE. I can only see our relationship continuing." The final word goes to Richard White: "SAS Premium Support is so very important to us in terms of the consistent value it delivers that we couldn't risk the contract lapsing – so we approached SAS to discuss renewal well before the initial agreement ended."

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The Duke of Edinburgh's Award

Business Issue:
Gain up-to-date business insight and performance data; develop effective reporting on a limited budget.
SAS® analytics/reporting supported by SAS Consulting, SAS Education and ongoing SAS Premium Support.
Hands-on support, knowledge sharing and skills transfer. Ongoing support and easy access to SAS® domain expertise enable faster development of valuable reports to improve performance and target resources - delivering a significant ROI in terms of organisational improvements.

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