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SAS Visual Analytics – Insights for Everyone (literally everyone)

Started ‎09-15-2021 by
Modified ‎04-30-2024 by
Views 6,513

note:  this is an evolving blog that will be continuously updated as interfaces are updated or added

 

Ted Stolarczyk, Technical Advisor – SAS Visual Analytics Adoption team

with input from Anand Chitale & Robby Powell, SAS Visual Analytics Product Management

 

If you are a Report Consumer - someone in the organization who interacts with SAS Visual Analytics (VA) reports, and has authorization/authentication applied (or is a guest access user) - then you are considered a Viewer.

 

Now everyone can easily discover and share powerful insights that inspire action.

 

SAS supports the needs for "Viewers" of all sorts, whereby Viewers = Consumers (of insights).  This write-up explains to SAS VA Community Users how to get to know how smart-flexible-anywhere SAS Visual Analytics is with the seamless viewer interfaces available with SAS 9.4 and Viya.  They each provide seamless access to insights from SAS, in a highly visual and interactive way, across the most familiar channels our users use – be it on the web, mobile apps, Microsoft 365/Office tools or enterprise portals.  SAS Visual Analytics brings the uniqueness of unified experience to discover and share powerful insights that inspire action.

 

These interfaces can be categorized five different ways:

1) Web Viewers

2) Mobile Apps

3) Microsoft 365/Office tools

4) Enterprise needs

5) Share & Collaborate

 

1. Web Viewers

 

This is a typical SAS VA report view with only those deemed Report Authors having the ability to create/alter report/data structure design.This is a typical SAS VA report view with only those deemed Report Authors having the ability to create/alter report/data structure design.

 

 

a. SAS Visual Analytics – in view mode

 

Intended audience:

A regular web browser viewer, in simplest terms, is a report that is designed to be accessible on all devices such that the content gets fit as per the device screen.  SAS Visual Analytics is the only product that enables you to create reports that automatically work on both desktop displays and mobile devices.  Although this notion of write-once-view-anywhere is possible, when designing reports with a diversity of consumers in mind, careful consideration needs to be apportioned amongst Usability, Performance, Viewer Customizations, Device Majority and Accessibility.  You may then find it beneficial to take advantage of other viewer options as well that are outlined throughout below.  Visual data story telling can be achieved using a combination of any/all of these interface options.

 

Viewers can still be granted report change capabilities while they are in view mode.Viewers can still be granted report change capabilities while they are in view mode.

 

b. Progressive Web App (PWA)

 

Intended audience:

Over the past years, browser technologies have significantly progressed and started delivering the rich desktop experience to millions of users. Through PWA technology, SAS now provides a rich and responsive  SAS Visual Analytics experience that further extends access to SAS assets such as data, models, jobs and many others with a unified experience across SAS applications.  Starting in the 2021.1.2 release of Viya 4, you can Install the SAS Visual Analytics as a Progressive Web App through your browser (Chrome, Firefox, MS Edge or Safari) if running through https secure communication.  The benefits of PWA include application persistence, desktop experience, renaming instances to quickly access different environments, and possible performance improvements.

 

In Chrome, the icon to install is in the address bar.  The Install SAS option might be under another menu. For example, within MS Edge it is located under Apps.In Chrome, the icon to install is in the address bar. The Install SAS option might be under another menu. For example, within MS Edge it is located under Apps.

 

2. Mobile Apps

 

Intended audience:

Organizations need insights anytime/anywhere. There are thousands of users who need insights on the go. SAS Visual Analytics fits right into this modern user approach with specific mobile apps and the corresponding daily consumer needs.

 

Device OS specific Apps including Report customizations in View modeDevice OS specific Apps including Report customizations in View mode

 

a. SAS Visual Analytics App for iOS devices

SAS Visual Analytics App for iOS: Help Center

 

b. SAS Visual Analytics App for Android devices

SAS Visual Analytics App for Android: Help Center

 

c. SAS Visual Analytics App for Windows 10 devices (SAS 9.4 and Viya 3.x only)

SAS Visual Analytics App for Windows: Help Center

 

SAS PWA (see 1b. above) will be the replacement for SAS Viya 4 customers on Windows 10 devices.  With SAS web applications now supporting PWA technology, SAS can deliver the expected desktop experience of the Win10 App to our users and further expand the scope of capabilities beyond reports to everything SAS web applications can provide with governance. 

 

3. Microsoft 365/Office tools

 

Intended audience:

Microsoft 365/Office is THE leading platform to drive productivity at home and in the workplace. Whether it's managing email in Outlook, or building analysis spreadsheets in Excel, Office has made carrying out many computer-based tasks easier for all of us.  As part of the SAS-Microsoft partnership, we will continue to offer native integrations between SAS and Microsoft Office technologies.  These integrations will empower all users – from data scientists and citizen developers to business users – to quickly and easily incorporate analytics into everything they do, from making sense of data and building custom applications to creating reports and dashboards and more. With pervasive, user-friendly analytics at their fingertips, everyone will be able to maximize productivity, focus on what’s most important, and make better, data-driven decisions all the time.  Those running SAS 9.4 or Viya 3.x, and not requiring the full depth and breadth of MS-Office support, can opt to run the SAS Visual Analytics Add-In for Office instead.

 

a. Add-in for MS-Excel (SAS 9.4 and Viya 3.x only)

 

b. Add-in for MS-PowerPoint (SAS 9.4 and Viya 3.x only)

 

c. Add-in for MS-Word (SAS 9.4 and Viya 3.x only)

 

A basic example of inserting a SAS VA Report into MS Word and interacting with itA basic example of inserting a SAS VA Report into MS Word and interacting with it

 

d. Add-in for MS-Outlook (SAS 9.4 and Viya 3.x only)

 

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All of the Web Viewer, Mobile Apps and Microsoft Office Tools outlined throughout above can collaborate/comment on report, a page, or an object together at the same time (including attachments).

Commenting/Attachment capabilities for Microsoft 365 is on the product roadmap.Commenting/Attachment capabilities for Microsoft 365 is on the product roadmap.

 

 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

e. SAS for Microsoft 365 (Viya 4.x only)

SAS customers have historically run SAS tasks and viewed results from inside their Microsoft Office suite. To streamline how people work, SAS and Microsoft have built a SAS for Microsoft 365 add-in for Excel for the Mac, Windows and web, which can be centrally deployed and managed by IT.  By developing integrations such as this one across our respective technologies, we are improving the data interchange between SAS servers and Microsoft 365 products. Users can seamlessly incorporate data enrichment and analytic outputs generated by SAS solutions to increase efficiency in their workflows.  For example, using the Excel add-in, they can query data, view reports and embed rich visualizations.

 

Future plans for supporting other Microsoft 365 tools are coming over the next 12 months on Viya 4 with more enriched capabilities to support both desktop and online office documents (above and beyond just Excel).  For example, new with the 2021.2.5 (March 2022) release you can now access SAS for Microsoft 365 in Outlook.  When composing or replying to a message or creating or updating an appointment, you can insert the HTML of a report object.  You can also include a link to the live report. In addition, you can attach a PDF of a report object or an entire report.

 

SAS for Microsoft 365: Help Center

 

The SAS pane is your workspace for SAS for Microsoft 365.The SAS pane is your workspace for SAS for Microsoft 365.

 For a video demo snippet of this Microsoft 365 Excel integration, click below ... (no audio)

 

4. Enterprise Needs

 

The viewer user for any of the scenarios described below would be the consumer of the respective published application after it’s developed by somebody else (except where noted).

 

a. SAS Visual Analytics SDK – available with SAS Viya

 

(1) Enterprise Portals

 

Intended audience:

The SAS Visual Analytics SDK allows you to embed your SAS Visual Analytics content on the web, as either a full report or its individual parts. The SDK achieves this by connecting to a SAS Viya server to access the report content and data, and then renders interactive report content directly in your HTML page. Accessing a SAS Viya server from the SDK requires some basic server configuration, but after this is completed you can begin embedding your SAS Visual Analytics insights with lines of Javascript code.

 

The Copy Link window generates the needed element tags and arguments for the SAS VA SDK Javascript developer.The Copy Link window generates the needed element tags and arguments for the SAS VA SDK Javascript developer.

 

(2)  Report Packages

 

Intended audience:

One of the newest “viewer” features in Viya 4, Export Report Package will appear as a menu item on the overall SAS VA context menu.  It is intended to be used in conjunction with the SAS Visual Analytics SDK (see above) to embed insights from SAS Visual Analytics reports into your custom web pages and portals for the purposes of scale of delivery.  This Publish capability allows users to publish a snapshot of their data and query results for a given set of report objects, report pages, and reports. The resulting output is a SAS Report Package (report-package-name.sasreport.zip).  Although this is not intended to be a true off-line report viewer solution, the report package includes all of the data needed to display the selected report objects, as well as the query results for every combination of filter selections that can be performed in view mode.

 

VA Publish is also available through the SAS Viya CLI through the reports plug-in, build-package command. You can script the SAS Viya CLI calls to generate report packages based on any schedule or alert that you choose.VA Publish is also available through the SAS Viya CLI through the reports plug-in, build-package command. You can script the SAS Viya CLI calls to generate report packages based on any schedule or alert that you choose.

 

 

An example of a site utilizing the SAS Visual Analytics SDK can be found -> here

To understand and track COVID-19’s effect on industries and economies, The Economist Intelligence Unit, with support from SAS, launched the Global Business Barometer (GBB). These barometer readings contemplate a recovery as sentiment in different regions and depicts differing impacts across business sectors.

 

 

b. SAS Visual Analytics Mobile SDK (iOS and Android) – available with SAS Viya

 

Intended audience:

Create mobile apps that include SAS Visual Analytics content. The SAS Mobile SDK enables you to personalize, preconfigure and customize these apps. You can include a corporate theme and logo, as well as preload specific reports and embed SAS Visual Analytics content.  You can also manage and secure your mobile deployments by integrating your apps with your mobile device management service. Your mobile apps can connect to your SAS servers and can be managed by your organization's SAS administrators.  The SAS Mobile SDK is free and is available for iOS and Android devices from developer.sas.com.  One example of many use cases for this viewer option is to convey your brand identity.

 

An example of a custom mobile app built with the SAS SDK is GatherIQ, a free app that is part of the SAS Data for Good program.An example of a custom mobile app built with the SAS SDK is GatherIQ, a free app that is part of the SAS Data for Good program.

 

c. SAS Conversational Designer (Viya 4.x only)

 

Intended audience:

Create and configure conversational bots to help users with their tasks. Each bot is an autonomous program that can interact with users and respond to questions or provide information for a given topic area. SAS Conversation Designer in SAS Viya uses natural language processing along with a collection of intents, utterances, entities and dialogues to process data and provide information to a user. A bot user does not have to present their questions in a special format, but can simply ask questions naturally the way they would pose them to a human.  In the context of SAS Visual Analytics integration, you can display information from a report to embed within your bot.  The viewer user for this scenario would be either the bot developer or the bot consumer after the bot is published.

 

Examples of SAS VA integration with Conversational Designer include Loading a Report,  Loading Data for a Visualization within a Report, Display a Report object visualization as an Image, Filter Data and Apply a Rank and Set a Prompt Value within a Report.Examples of SAS VA integration with Conversational Designer include Loading a Report, Loading Data for a Visualization within a Report, Display a Report object visualization as an Image, Filter Data and Apply a Rank and Set a Prompt Value within a Report.

 

5. Share & Collaborate

 

The viewer user for any of the scenarios described in this section would be the recipient of the applicable Share, Distribution, or Export.

 

a. Share to SAS Drive (available with SAS Viya)

 

Intended audience:

You can share a report directly with a recipient, who can open it from SAS Drive.  SAS Drive (the viewer user in this scenario) is a hub for SAS Viya applications (not just SAS Visual Analytics) that enables you to easily view, organize, and share your content from one place.  The availability of the features in SAS Drive depends on the applications that have been installed, and the features and permissions that have been specified by your administrator.  One example of many use cases for this option is report development/testing prior to rolling it out to production.

 

SAS Drive can also collaborate/comment/make attachments with fellow Web Viewer, Mobile Apps and MS Office Tools users.SAS Drive can also collaborate/comment/make attachments with fellow Web Viewer, Mobile Apps and MS Office Tools users.

 

 

b. Report Distribution to E-mail

 

Intended audience:

For those not requiring (or in addition to) the full SAS Add-in for Microsoft Outlook (see 3 a-e above) for viewer users, you can distribute reports using SAS Visual Analytics.  Distributing reports automates the process of delivering updated content to report users. You can distribute reports once or at recurring intervals, such as daily, multiple times daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly.  The Distribute Report window enables you to schedule, un-schedule, run now, and delete the distributions that you are authorized to view.  The recipient’s e-mail inbox would simply serve as the viewer user in this scenario.  The email for a report distribution contains a link to the report (additional viewing option).  You can specify whether you want to include a PDF (yet another viewing option), a summary, or both.  As a side note, the report developer also has the option of creating alert notifications that can email a viewer user triggered by a set of data conditions in a report. For example, an alert can be configured to notify somebody when the value of a measure is negative.  You can use the Display Rules pane to add alerts when you create an expression-based display rule.  You can specify how frequently the system checks to see whether the alert condition has been met. You can also specify how often users are notified.

 

note: Report Summary feature not depicted here.note: Report Summary feature not depicted here.

 c. Export

 

            (1) PDF

 

            Intended audience:

PDF is the de facto standard for electronic documents, portability and viewing.  PDF files allow authors to layout and style content as they see fit, confident that the document will invariably appear and print the same way, regardless of computer, operating system, PDF reader, software version or network connection status.  In the context of SAS Visual Analytics, you can export a PDF for a report, a page in a report, or an object. You can then print the PDF.  By default, an appendix is included in the PDF if the report, page, or object has descriptions, filters, warnings, errors, or display rule legends.

 

There are some considerations for printing these PDFs.  Please consult the documentation link provided for details.There are some considerations for printing these PDFs. Please consult the documentation link provided for details.

 

 

(2) to Excel

 

Intended audience:

For those not requiring the full SAS Add-in for Microsoft Excel (see 3 a-e above) for viewer users, you can export data or an Excel workbook from a report object using SAS Visual Analytics.  Users can export data from objects to Microsoft Excel format for future viewing or printing. This exported output can be saved locally on disk, and then opened in Excel.  Or, you can choose to create a data file. The data file can be a tab-separated values (TSV) file or a comma-separated values (CSV) file.  Starting in the 2020.1.1 release of Viya 4, SAS Visual Analytics can preserve the crosstab or the list table structure when you export data to an Excel workbook.

 

When you export analytics objects, Excel workbook is the only available file type. When you open the exported file in Excel, each part of the object has a separate worksheet tab.When you export analytics objects, Excel workbook is the only available file type. When you open the exported file in Excel, each part of the object has a separate worksheet tab.

 

(3)  as Image

 

Intended audience:

For those not requiring the full SAS Add-in for Microsoft PowerPoint (see 3 a-e above) for viewer users, you can Export an Image of an Object.  You can export an image for any list table, crosstab, graph, or gauge in a report.  This is useful if you want to include the image of a report object in a presentation, such as in Microsoft PowerPoint.  Images are saved as PNG files.

 

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CONCLUSION

 

Correlating a software capability or feature to a use case has always enabled our customers to see how we can solve a particular business problem.  In the same fashion, this write-up related how users can view/interact with reports built from SAS Visual Analytics to its Viewer application scenarios (over 20 of them!) with an explanation of each.  This should be of great value as you can correlate your daily workstreams and understand how SAS Visual Analytics supports the needs for "consumers" of all sorts.

 

 

 

 

 

Comments

This is an OUTSTANDING communities article and brilliantly presented...GREAT Job!

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Last update:
‎04-30-2024 02:32 PM
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