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SAS® Premium Support service offers benefits over the standard support service

The SAS® Premium Support Service is a cost-efficient way to protect and nurture business-critical SAS® infrastructure and solutions, giving fast access to SAS expertise.

If you ask two different SAS® Premium Support customers what they get from the service, you are likely to get two different answers. "Premium Support is designed to complement our customer's in-house skills, resources and processes, filling in any gaps they may have, and providing an effective route to all the expertise and support that SAS has to offer", says Jackie Pope, Head of Support at SAS UK & Ireland and architect of the SAS Premium Support service. "Different requirements, different service."

What all SAS Premium Support customers have in common is a Technical Account Manager (TAM). This can be a very rewarding role and a great careerpath option for technical experts who also have strong organisational and interpersonal skills and the confidence to take a proactive role in leading the client into improved ways of working with SAS®. "It can be an advantage being external to our clients' organisations", says Steve Wallace, a Technical Account Manager for SAS. "It gives a valuable level of objectivity and allows us to be an agent for change."

This case study highlights two customers with very similar business objectives, whose requirements for SAS Premium Support ended up being quite different. Steve Wallace is SAS' TAM for both, and was able to tailor the service to meet the requirements for each organisation.

The first customer runs a leading loyalty programme, which now has many millions of customers since its launch. "My 25-strong team provides analytical services to the scheme's partners, helping them better understand and engage with customers, and grow their business through the programme," says a spokesperson for the scheme.

The second customer is a leading global marketing services provider which uses SAS to automate and optimise campaigns for a leading computer technology company in 13 countries across the EMEA region. "SAS helped us achieve a 20% reduction in campaign effort and a 50% reduction in run-time," says a spokesperson from the marketing services provider. "We've also reduced costs in terms of the headcount required for campaigns, with a single SAS platform linked to the 13 marketing databases for each market."

Both are using SAS for accurate targeting of marketing campaigns for their end clients.

At the Loyalty Scheme, they had been using SAS for a number of years, and so had a strong view of what they expected from the software. Yet, as their team expanded to include offshore resources in India, what they were getting did not entirely meet those expectations.

At the marketing services provider, by contrast, SAS had been introduced more recently as they lacked some expertise in managing and maintaining the environment. Rather than make a case for hiring or cross-training a fulltime systems administrator, SAS worked with the customer, initially to improve the configuration and tuning of the system, and then to design a regimen of maintenance that is carried out by SAS over two days per week. As well as having Steve Wallace as the TAM, they have Lee Farrant, a SAS Premium Support Consultant, as on-site handson support, with detailed knowledge of the specifics of their systems.

At the Loyalty Scheme, the answer lay elsewhere. In this case, Steve brought in colleagues from SAS® Education to help bring new users on board and promote best practices within their user community. This was not about having them learn SAS, but about getting up to speed with the specifics of the Loyalty Scheme's data and SAS environment so that they could be more productive.

Whilst the uses of SAS Premium Support vary in each case, they have one thing in common: the role of the TAM in bringing the diverse resources of SAS® Professional Services to bear in meeting the customer's needs.

Both have some complimentary words to say in response:

From the Loyalty Scheme:
"The team also benefits from SAS Premium Support. That really adds value to our work with SAS, for instance, in developing our in-house training. We have an active curriculum of the topics we want to cover, so we gain knowledge we can cascade across the business. With SAS Premium Support, we can raise specific issues relevant to our data, providing examples to the SAS support team, so we receive a highly personalised response. With the last session we had, the very next day our team was implementing the techniques we'd picked up. We've found that to be a really good way of tailoring specific questions and of taking a whole group of people forward."

From the Marketing Services Provider:
"We quickly realised during roll-out that expert support on-site would not only enable us to resolve any problems faster, but would also mean we could leverage that knowledge to optimise the platform and improve our campaigns further - to run things faster and better for the computer technology company. That's become a key competence behind our success, with the help of SAS Premium Support."

The last word goes to Steve Wallace:
"Being a part of driving a customer's use of SAS to a new level is what makes this job so rewarding. At the Marketing Services provider, we continue to be a part of their team, as the business case for the ongoing maintenance we provide is still strong. We are planning an upgrade and I expect to continue working with them for some time to come. The Loyalty Scheme is different. They are now looking to SAS Education to broaden and deepen their knowledge of SAS."

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SAS® Premium Support

Business Issue:
Various
Solution:
SAS Premium Support
Benefits:

Support from named individuals on the Premium Support team who know the customer's SAS infrastructure as well as they do.

Fixed fees for the additional services means that customers can budget ahead for the management of both routine and critical issues.

By adding on-site support into the package, customers can bring in valuable expert help when it's most useful without having to make a new business case.

Keeps customers informed about existing and outstanding issues, and firmly in control of next steps and future actions.

We quickly realised during roll-out that expert support on-site would not only enable us to resolve any problems faster, but would also mean we could leverage that knowledge to optimise the platform and improve our campaigns further - to run things faster and better for the computer technology company. That’s become a key competence behind our success, with the help of SAS Premium Support.

Marketing Services Provider

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