More cost-effective computing

A federal government agency accustomed to handling big data wanted to modernize its IT infrastructure and extend self-service analytics to its business users, so it turned to BNL Consulting and SAS®.

The agency processes several large surveys each year with annual, quarterly or monthly timetables and data sets that contain millions of records.

"A couple of performance issues had started to creep in, and the user interface was outdated,'' notes Robert Lill, President of BNL Consulting, a provider of business intelligence solutions primarily to large government and nonprofit agencies. "The organization needed a service-oriented architecture that would allow for growth and flexibility.''

BNL's work with this customer evolved from the agency's need for an enterprise architecture that no longer relied on green screens and lots of IT staff to maintain the code. The agency wanted to extend self-service with point-and-click data access as well as to improve interactive and batch survey processing.

SAS provides integration options that make it a hub in the hub-and-spoke architecture that a lot of government agencies are starting to build.

Robert Lill
President

The sensible approach

While the agency could have considered other options, it chose to maintain the core SAS functionality already in place and migrate to a more recent version of the software. Staff already knew how to use SAS and had built powerful backend processes for statistical computations that worked well.

BNL helped the agency migrate to more modern IT technology without losing any functionality and while maintaining the current processes, timelines and integrity of the survey processing itself.

"SAS has positioned itself well to integrate with a large enterprise. It can analyze large lines of data and has a very intuitive graphical mode,'' Lill says. "SAS provides integration options that make it a hub in the hub-and-spoke architecture that a lot of government agencies are starting to build.''

In choosing BNL, the agency sought a consulting partner that would help it work with the power of SAS independently.

"They didn't want to outsource it completely,'' Lill explains. "They wanted a partner that would assist in building it and training the staff so they could maintain the system themselves and wouldn't depend on outside vendors going forward.''

Fewer clicks, fewer boxes

In the past, analysts relied on developers to produce reports. This took a week or longer.

"Today, they can use the Web-based tool and with one click get information,'' Lill says. "This frees up developers to create more self-service options for business users."

Meanwhile, SAS Grid Computing helps the agency get the most from its hardware and speed up performance, ultimately saving money. It lets the agency create a managed, shared environment for processing large volumes of data and analytic programs quickly using dynamic, resource-based load balancing. SAS jobs can be split up and run in parallel across multiple symmetric multiprocessing (SMP) machines using shared physical storage. This allows IT to build and manage a lower-cost, flexible infrastructure that can scale to meet rapidly changing requirements.

An end to silos

While infrastructure modernization and analyst self-service were critical features, the agency was also taking a long-term view of the data.

"They wanted a flexible, extensible system where they can add more surveys to the system and integrate data from across the enterprise. They did not have that flexibility before,'' Lill says. "And providing an improved interface to analysts has other perks: They are more likely to detect errors and provide corrections for better data quality."

Challenge

Modernize a legacy IT system, provide self-serve reporting and gain cost-effective computing for large analytic projects.

Solution

Benefits

Greater productivity, better use of IT resources, faster reporting; increased processing power and scalability.

本文中所展示的成果取决于文中所述的特定场景、业务模式、数据输入和计算环境。每位SAS客户的体验都因其业务和技术特性而不同,请勿将本文观点视为通用观点。实际的成本节约、成果和效果最终取决于每位客户的实际配置和条件。SAS不保证每位客户都能取得本文类似的成果。SAS仅对SAS的产品和服务提供保证,请参阅SAS的产品服务质保条款,本文中提及的内容不能视为质保条款。客户可以按照合约商定的条款分享SAS软件实施项目的成功案例,相应的品牌和产品名称归属相应的公司所有。

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