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SAS fights fraud, builds customer relationships via social network, social media analysis


Innovative software uncovers hidden relationships and insights in networks, text

SINGAPORE - To prevent 2009 from becoming the “Year of the Phish” in Asia Pacific (as opposed to the Year of the Ox), SAS, the leader in business analytics, has launched innovative new software to fight fraud, but also to better understand customer sentiment. SAS® Social Network Analysis and SAS’ social media analysis solution help organizations uncover hidden relationships between individuals and data; detect patterns and trends; and mine text and other unstructured data.

From phishing and skimming to claims fraud and money laundering, increasingly sophisticated fraud techniques are causing huge losses and harming customer relationships. So too are negative online comments that quickly spread through Web sites, blogs, Twitter and other channels, resulting in lost business and damaged brands.

The rapid adoption of social media has given the public a platform for expression and generated huge amounts of data on customer likes and dislikes. Financial transactions also generate vast quantities of data, with potential fraud buried deep. In this era of relationships, the same business analytics that sift through data volumes to detect hidden fraud patterns can also strengthen brands by revealing insights in customer interactions.

“Today’s interconnected world generates mind-boggling data volumes,” said David Hughes, SAS’ Vice President of Asia Pacific. “In 2008, data from Web sites, emails, RFID chips, networks, YouTube videos, industrial processors, and other sources soared to 487 exabytes [1] -- nearly 500 billion gigabytes. With data growth predicted to accelerate, organizations need an intelligence strategy to uncover its value. This data is a treasure trove of information about how customers interact and influence one another, and about operations, finances, compliance, product quality and more. Organizations that use it intelligently will survive and thrive. Those that do not will fail.”
Mining social networks

SAS Social Network Analysis applies link analysis to fraud detection and prevention, marketing, customer segmentation and more. Released recently in the USA, it is now available in Asia Pacific. Using it within the SAS® Fraud Framework, insurers and government agencies can pinpoint suspicious individuals and transactions and stop additional fraud. Telecommunications and bank marketers can measure and predict the influence of different customer segments on acquisition, retention and up-sells. With this intelligence, companies can boost new offerings by initially targeting the highest-influence segments.

“Social network analysis software can help companies delve deeper into their customer and transactional data to discover patterns, linkages and connections,” said Avivah Litan, Vice President and Distinguished Analyst at Gartner. “Effective social network analysis is based on very strong analytics such as data mining, and sophisticated visualization technology. In making the invisible visible, social network analysis is an effective and emerging tool for fighting fraud but also for better understanding customers.”

To fight fraud, SAS Social Network Analysis helps investigators go beyond transaction and customer views to analyze all related activities and relationships within a network: shared addresses, phone numbers, employment information, account ownership and other transactional data. The software’s visualization capabilities speed access to full customer details and all related parties and networks, resulting in quicker case assessments and better dossiers. Analyzing networks graphically makes it easier to identify key opinion leaders and associated communities of interest, and uncover previously unknown relationships.

SAS Social Network Analysis includes patent-pending technology, Net-CHAID, which helps fraud investigators and brand and marketing managers examine and manipulate very large clusters for easier analysis. SAS CEO Jim Goodnight helped write code for this technology.

“Once they identify a suspicious individual, investigators need a quick and accurate way to discover that person’s networks. SAS Social Network Analysis provides this important ability,” said John Brocklebank, Vice President of SAS Solutions OnDemand and head of the SAS Advanced Analytics Laboratory. “Are they linked to other risky individuals? Is the institution exposed monetarily as a result? It’s critical to know if it’s an isolated individual or part of a criminal conspiracy.”
Analyzing social media

SAS’ social media analysis solution -- coming in the fourth quarter -- is powered by Sentiment Analysis Manager from SAS’ Teragram division. Through natural language processing and text mining, the software captures consumer product reviews and brand comments from mainstream sites such as Amazon and Overstock, message boards, and social media outlets like blogs and Twitter.

Sentiment Analysis Manager automatically locates and analyzes digital content in real time to determine the writer’s emotion, spot changing trends, and uncover potential product defects at an early stage. The software searches and evaluates positive, mixed and negative phrases in text, including tricky phrasing like, “this is not the best camera available.”

“Leaving online comments and posting reviews on computers, books, and many other products is becoming more and more common. So too is the use of Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites. This trend has caught the eye of marketers who are wrestling with how to include social media as part of their overall marketing outreach,” said IDC analyst Sue Feldman. “Using text mining, natural language processing and other emerging technologies like those found in Sentiment Analysis Manager from SAS’ Teragram division, marketers can glean intelligence from these sites, gain a more complete view of their brands’ reputation, and better understand the sentiments of their customers.”

R&D Innovation

Development of SAS Social Network Analysis was led by the SAS Advanced Analytics Lab, a premier analytical consulting group formed in 2007. “Working closely with customers and SAS R&D, the Advanced Analytics Lab is one of SAS’ many centers of innovation. It leverages SAS’ core analytical expertise to apply the latest statistical and mathematical techniques to solve important customer problems,” said Brocklebank.

Today’s announcement was made at The Premier Business Leadership Series event in Singapore. Presented by SAS, The Series event brings together more than 650 public and private sector attendees from across the Asia-Pacific region and around the world to share ideas and knowledge on critical business management issues. (See event press kit at

[1] Source: “As the Economy Contracts, the Digital Universe Expands,” by John Gantz and David Reinsel, IDC, Multimedia White Paper, May 2009

About SAS
SAS is the leader in business analytics software and services, and the largest independent vendor in the business intelligence market. Through innovative solutions delivered within an integrated framework, SAS helps customers at more than 45,000 sites improve performance and deliver value by making better decisions faster. Since 1976 SAS has been giving customers around the world The Power to Know®


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