If there is a constant complain about the SAS language , it is that it makes you think and pause before you buy software running it from the primary vendor SAS Institute. This is because the licensing is annually renewed and the prices of the leading analytical software are one of the highest capital expenditure items in any medium sized enterprise analytics team which is not dealing with millions of dollars worth of analytical cost benefit tradeoffs. The complaints about the rigidity in pricing and annual licensing has not surprisingly led to a boom of much cheaper alternatives in the field of statistical software.
While one hand we have the open source version R- which is supported by all other companies including IBM, Oracle and even SAS Institute products, there is a little known alternative to SAS language at a cheaper price and that is WPS.
What is WPS?
It is basically a SAS clone- you type in words in the language of SAS (like a Proc Means or a Proc Freq) , and it interprets and it gives you back the results in the manner you expect as a user of the SAS language. It does this using C++ (see details below)
What are the big disadvantages of using WPS?
Low visibility because they lack sales , distribution channels and marketing of the size of the multi- Billion competitor. Not everybody is aware that you can use the SAS language in exactly the same way at one third the price ( see table below) or even more if you have a large number of licenses.
WPS also doesnot have too many consultants. if you need a solution you may better off buy or consult the SAS Institute. If you just need the software to run, well WPS has a 1 month trial for you at http://www.teamwpc.co.uk/tryorbuy
Is WPS legal?
Yes, the SAS Institute fought and lost a case in UK against it. It lost a appeal. It lost a case in US against it. The details are here at- WPS is 100% legal and compliant and IBM is a strategic partner in it.
http://www.bailii.org/cgi-bin/markup.cgi?doc=/ew/cases/EWHC/Ch/2010/3012.html is the judgement and http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Ch/2010/1829.html is the earlier judgement.
Who made WPS anyway?
These guys did-and this is court judgement written by a learned judge that is the proof and not a website public release.
- “WPL was founded by Dr Peter Quarendon, Tom Quarendon, Martin Jupp and two other colleagues in August 2002. Dr Quarendon had worked for IBM for 29 years before leaving in 1995. He had encountered the SAS System during his time at IBM and had written application programs for various data analysis projects using it. After leaving IBM he had acquired a set of manuals for SAS version 6. As I understand it, Dr Quarendon was the only one of the founders with previous experience of the SAS System.
- WPL started developing what became WPS soon afterwards, initially in parallel with other work. As Dr Quarendon explained to me, he believed as a result of his experience in the industry, and in particular his time at IBM, that there would be nothing unlawful in creating such software provided that WPL did not copy the source code of the SAS System. In about January 2003 WPL decided to concentrate its efforts on the development of WPS.
- To begin with, WPL wrote WPS in the Java language. Subsequently Dr Quarendon and his colleagues decided that this was unsatisfactory, and in 2005 they translated the software into C++.
- Over the years WPL has progressively increased the number of functions of the SAS Components that are supported by successive versions of WPS.
What are the hassles in transitioning from SAS to WPS ?
None. WPS can read SAS scripts and SAS datasets directly.
So what exactly does WPS do in the SAS language?
From http://www.teamwpc.co.uk/press/wps2_5_1_released we see that the latest version of WPS is 2.5.1 and can do a lot of stuff and even some additional stuff that Base SAS and SAS/Stat can not do.
Detailed List of All Supported Language Elements
Reviews of all the elements and options from the language of SAS that are supported by the current version of WPS can be found in the documents listed at http://www.teamwpc.co.uk/products/wps/language
Why do more people not use WPS?
Lack of awareness and SAS institute is also discounting aggressively to compete .
So what shall a current SAS user do?
- Go and try out the offer for free at http://www.teamwpc.co.uk/tryorbuy
- When the SAS Institute representative comes to you for renewing licences mention WPS and enjoy a bog discount.
- Use WPS , SAS and other software to complement each other (like use SAS /ETS and R and even WPS side by side)- There is no absolute perfect software, but you can use multiple software that can greatly reduce your cost.
How cheap is WPS?
WPS can shave off almost 33 % of your cap ex on SAS licensing (potentially). Think of it as being able to hire 1 more analyst for every three analysts that you have. or think of having a annual bonus hike of 33%.
The cost analysis of WPS is here- it is based from the WPS reseller’s website at http://www.minequest.com/downloads/Pricing_Comparisons_Between_WPS_and_SAS.pdf