It's a steal as new data mining center opens

Government funded body joint with SAS to deliver data mining services via a new center. The deal may well be an acquisition of SAS software licenses at bargain basement price.
Written by Thomas Chen, Contributor on

SINGAPORE - IHPC signed an agreement last week with SAS in what may have been a deal to acquire SAS software license at bargain basement price.

Under the agreement, IHPC and SAS will jointly form the Enterprise Mining Center, which will deliver data mining services and solutions to local enterprises using SAS' Enterprise Miner software.

While company officials have not revealed the price of licensing to IHPC, SAS regional director of Asia, Bruce Brown made it clear to reporters after the signing that SAS treat this as a "very special case."

When asked to estimate SAS' input to the new center, Brown puts the figure at around a quarter of a million in terms of software and solutions provided.

The company sees the agreement in positive light, however, believing that SAS will eventually earn the investment back through the growth and maturation of the data mining market.

"We will earn it back by the awareness of the usage of data mining, the awareness of Enterprise Miner as a leading data mining solutions," said Tan Ser Yean, regional marketing manager of SAS. "This is more like a marketing kind of investment that we are putting in."

IHPC will be putting the software to good use.

Initial plan is to use the software to fulfill data mining projects conducted for local enterprises.

Funded by Singapore's National Science & Technology Board, IHPC has an explicit mandate to "enhance Singapore's global competitiveness through the innovative application of leading-edge computational technology."

With the expertise and pricing provided by the new center, IHPC hopes to encourage local enterprises in adopting data mining solutions.

As a business solution, data mining is a technology that allows an organization to analyze its data in such a way as to identify trends, patterns and correlation. Through these analyses, strategies identifying specific market segments and consumer behavior can be formulated, among other things.

"As local firms, they are a bit conservative, a bit reserved," said Fong, "they want to test the water first, to see what data mining can do for them, … and the Enterprise Mining Center will provide that."

Brown believes this process of gradual commitment is a major appeal of the new center for local enterprises.

Offering to deliver data mining on a project basis, the center affords local enterprises an opportunity to test out what the solution can do without incurring any cost of set up or acquisition.

A project with the center ranges from S$30 000 to $100 000 a pop depending on the demands and duration of the project.

The center, however, is not planning to remain an initiatory gateway for enterprises deliberating on the merits of data mining.

Already, companies are encouraged to take on bigger projects with the center and if the initiative proves to be profitable, IHPC will consider rolling the center out as a full-fledge consulting agency.

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