Two of the most significant players
in the global technology market, US-based Accenture and SAS
Institute have joined forces to develop what they term the
“next-generation” of predictive analytics solutions.

Development will be undertaken by
the newly created
Accenture SAS Analytics Group
that will initially focus on
solutions for the financial services industry, including insurance
and banking, health care and the public sector.

SAS chief executive Jim Goodnight
noted that the decision to launch the initiative is driven by a
growing demand for analytics solutions.

“In our long experience providing
analytic insights to our customers, we have never seen leaders so
readily adopting analytic approaches across their organisations,”
Goodnight said.

Concurring with Goodnight, Henry
Morris, senior vice-president for technology research firm IDC’s
Worldwide Software and Services practice said the joint initiative
meets a “pressing need” in the market.

“What is in very short supply are
experts who are familiar with analytic techniques and know how to
apply them to industry-specific decisions,” said Morris.

He continued that the alliance
brings together the “market leader in advanced analytics software,”
SAS, and the “applied analytics expertise of a global services
firm”, Accenture.

“This alliance would address the
expertise gap by making more industry-specific analytic solutions
available with project-based or managed service delivery,” Morris

“The combination of Accenture and
SAS should accelerate adoption of predictive analytics across a
broad group of organisations in major centres around the


Commenting on the initiative,
Accenture chairman & CEO William Green, said: “Companies that
use predictive analytics to derive actionable insights from data
and then use those insights to shape decisions, can improve
business outcomes and substantially outperform competitors over the
long term.”

The growing importance of
predictive analytics is supported by new research covering 500
major organisations in the US and UK by Accenture published in
February 2010.

The study revealed that 71 percent
of senior managers at these companies say their top long-term
objective is to develop the ability to model and predict behaviour,
actions and decisions to the point where individual decisions and
offers can be made in real time based on the analysis at hand.

Russ Cobb, vice-president of
alliances and marketing at SAS, stressed that Accenture’s findings
reinforce a key challenge, and opportunity: that businesses and
government organisations are dealing with a flood of information
that “overwhelms the human ability to process”.

He continued that because of the
huge amount of information decision-makers revert to best guesses
rather than making empirical decisions.

“But with predictive analytics, we
can derive the critical insights from the data that will lead to
optimal business outcomes,” said Cobb.

As part of their joint initiative,
SAS and Accenture plan to establish what they term “analytics
showcases” where they intend to demonstrate their new predictive
analytics capabilities to clients.

The first of these demonstration facilities will be in Chicago,
London, Milan and Shanghai.