Guest blog by Fabrice Deprez, director at LACO
SAS Forum, the annual event hosted by a business partner since 25 years, is an appointment we look forward to every single year. There are several good reasons for this, but let’s start with the most obvious one.
SAS has been a market leader in end-to-end BI and analytics solutions, from data collection and cleansing up to attractive visualizations of analytics applications, more so than any other vendor around. LACO, on the other hand, has been a leading services provider in Belgium in the BI and analytics area for many years now. We have about 120 BI consultants, 35 of whom are dedicated to SAS technology and solutions. This makes us one of the most focused and dedicated SAS service partners in Belgium. This is a definite asset for customers looking for an analytics partner with enough power to drive large projects and enough local focus to get passionate about Belgian-sized customers and their use of analytics to drive their business.
BI and analytics: more relevant than ever
Next to the close partnership there are other reasons to get excited about attending this year’s edition of the SAS Forum event. Many reasons boil down to the same basic conclusion: there has never been a better time to invest in BI and analytics than today. On the one hand, analytics has become extremely affordable. Thanks to the advent of cloud solutions, even smaller organizations can afford solutions that used to absorb too much computing power to keep it cost-efficient. On the other hand, each organization is facing an increasing number of challenges coming from different directions: a growing number of competitors, a tighter legal framework, forcing organizations to rethink their business models and processes. Analytics and other technologies making use of the available information can come to the rescue, provided that the IT departments are flexible and innovative enough to recognize and allow all possibilities.
From descriptive to prescriptive
The evolution of BI and analytics technology also provides extra reasons to attend this event, where all latest trends are being discussed at large. We have evolved from a focus on the past and on descriptive analytics - explaining what has happened - over a future-oriented, predictive version, to prescriptive analytics, advising you what to do given the current state of affairs and the most likely evolutions, both within and outside of the organization.
This is not rocket science for years ahead, but technology being used by Belgian organizations as we speak. Take, for instance, our customer P & V, a leading insurance organization. One of their main challenges lies in predicting how much damage the next storm will generate. If they can accurately predict the impact of a storm, they can make a reasonable assessment of the number of damage claims to be expected, the number of call center agents needed to deal with these claims efficiently and swiftly, and the number of repair services they need to book. Armed with this information, they can not only become more cost-efficient but also significantly increase their customer satisfaction rate.
Last but not least...
Next to all of the above, there is one more reason that continues to motivate us to attend each SAS Forum. Each year, we get to meet some of the most exciting customers, partners, visionaries and other interesting people active in the BI and analytics area. Exchanging ideas, sharing interesting stories, and getting enthusiastic about all new possible applications together: this is the cherry on the SAS forum cake. I hope to see you there!