In this blog series, Humans of SAS Services, we're highlighting some of the people who make our customers successful – our experts in the field at SAS Services. Our goal is to give you a feel for the human side of SAS, apart from the features and functions of our software. After all, it’s the people who make our company click.
For this post, I interviewed Mario Weitenbacher, a consulting director responsible for service sales in the DACH region of Europe. He leads a team of engagement managers and enabling sales teams.
Tell me a little about your team. What are some of the experiences the people on your team have?
We're known as the customer engagement team and our major focus is on the banking and insurance industries, as well as public health in the DACH region. Our purpose is to discover and assess customer issues and goals, then pair customers with appropriate SAS experts in consulting services who can lead them to a successful outcome. The biggest strength of our team is that we have decades of combined SAS experience that has proven vital in helping customers. Because we encounter many similar goals and issues from different customers, we typically can rely on our past experiences to get customers the help they need – and pair them with the best experts to address their concerns.
One big topic is the continuous movement of data and analytics functions into the cloud. What are you hearing from customers about moving to the cloud?
Many of our larger global customers no longer view cloud providers as just vendors, but more as strategic partners. It’s important to these customers that SAS is cloud-centric, working closely with AWS, Google Cloud and Microsoft (our strategic partner). We know that the cloud is affecting, in every way, how organizations plan and run their businesses. We recognize that data and analytics programs must be part of our customers’ cloud environment to be successful.
Smaller organizations also need the resources SAS provides. Many of them aren’t facing technical issues, such as moving data into the cloud and having access to the data. For them, it’s more about dealing with regulations. For example, the banking regulations in Europe are very strict. Organizations need guidance on how to be compliant with these laws if major systems are outsourced. My teams in customer engagement pair these customers with the very best SAS resources. What this means is that we provide them with a set of governance practices that go beyond technical needs. These are best practices we’ve established with existing customers, so we know they can be reused as a set of trusted guidelines.
What about your AI engagements? Are most SAS customers looking to evolve their current analytics program to AI? Or are many still trying to learn how AI and advanced analytics could help them?
Across industries, we see customers searching for the artificial intelligence use case that can best enhance what they’re currently doing with traditional analytics. One great example of how our insurance customers are evolving to AI is automatic damage assessment with image recognition. For other established analytics customers – who are doing things like next-best-offer or predictive maintenance – their goal is to find AI use cases that build on what is already successful. This is where the value of consulting services from SAS are a great benefit. In a non-production, no-risk environment, SAS provides customers with serviced AI sandboxes where they can test their use cases quickly to discover how AI could enhance their operations and business.
Finally, what do you think makes SAS consulting services unique?
Beyond our broad expertise – which encompasses everything from industry knowledge to technical skills – I’d say it’s the time we devote to our customers. Our software solutions are the core of our business, and we rely on annual renewal licensing. Every year, our customers grade SAS on the value we’re providing by deciding whether to renew their licenses. Consultants and services from SAS are vital to making sure our customers see that value. From early guidance engagements to establish an analytics roadmap for success to deep expertise on emerging technologies, SAS stays with the customer.Learn more about SAS Services