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Comparing SAS and SPSS is an age old question between analytics professionals as both of these are one of the longest running statistical softwares in the world.

While SAS is on version 9 + and has greatly improved it’s visual appeal to counter SPSS’s click and get results interface, SPSS has moved beyond version 15.0 + and started adding modules like SAS has done.

Here I will be comparing specific SAS and SPSS components like SAS ETS with SPSS Trends, and SAS Base /Stat with SPSS Base.

SAS is almost 1.75 times as expensive in upfront cost for a single installation than SPSS.

SAS ETS is better than SPSS Trends for time series analysis for bad data, but SPSS Trends can easily make huge numbers of time series analysis than SAS ETS.

SAS is more tougher to learn than the point and click interface of SPSS.

SPSS Documentation is much better and give better clarity on algorithms used for statistical procedures.

Base SAS is much more powerful for crunching huge numbers of data (like sorting or splicing data),

for data that is smaller than say 100 mb, the difference is not much between SAS and SPSS.

SPSS is a perpetual license, while SAS has year on year license. This eventually makes it 2-3 times more expensive.

Modeling is easier done in SPSS but SAS can provide more control thanks to command line interface/advanced editor coding.The SAS Enterprise is not as good a visual interface as the SPSS.

For a startup analytics body, the best installation for both SAS and SPSS is network licenses preferably over a Linux network. You should ideally have a mix of both SAS and SPSS to optimize both costs and analytical flexibility.

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Replies to This Discussion

In fact it depends on your level of familiarity with SPSS, you can automate things with SPSS as well.
Although I am a heavy SAS Enterprise Miner user, I feel that Clementine is lot more intuitive and easier to use, especially in the areas of data visualization and pre-processing.
I like the control I have over analysis using SAS. I could learn SPSS programming, but since I already know SAS it doesn't make sense to me to learn it! If you are going to point and click, I suppose SPSS is just as good.
Hi Lynn, Yes, over this process most of Analytical Software comes with proprietary scripting needs a sizeable learing time. You may give a try to STATISTICA 30 Days free Trial comes with Statistica Visual Basic Scripting & true integration with R with script editor.

Best Wishes.
+ 91 98913 93138
I agree.

if you miss 'node' in SAS you can create your own. that's harder in spss.
data step is IMHO the best function of SAS. data-compress, fast transformation, do anything with your data, save dataset after each step, that's all awesome!

i just have to try SPSS Python extension ... do you have an experience? python is great, can make spss much more robust.
SAS devotees are hard core. And rightfully so. It's an awesome product. On the other hand, SPSS is woefully underrated and can be an incredibly capable and cost-effective product in comparison.

Scott Terry, President
Rapid Progress Marketing and Modeling, LLC
Say, I have a question on SPSS.

I used to use it at university for my stat courses. It's not been that long so I remember the need for going into SPSS syntax to add in contrasts for ANOVA. So I know there is syntax for doing that part.

I would like to know however whether you can write an entire routine as SPSS syntax.
I.e.: Can I have one file that I can run with all the code to do:
- data acquisition (reading in from whatever: text, Oracle, ...),
- data-handling,
- analysis, and
- finaly presentation (which might even go to creating html, word, rtf, pdf files) ?
Hi Dirk, You may try STATISTICA 30 Days Free Trial. will adress most of your queries/concern.

Best Wishes.
+ 91 98913 93138
I use SAS 9.13 as well as SPSS 16, I have checked all the questions in your query and I can confirm that SPSS 16 can do all of them. I have used it to do work spanning Clinical trials, reliability studies, quality control and market research and the Software has never come short.
I think when people are comfortable with one software they can hardly be bothered to learn others.
Kwaku Damoah
Quanturum Consultancy Limited.
once i had to do a kind of 'bootstrapping model validation'.
1. make N=10 000 random data samples - 70% train, 30% test
2. learn model on train, validate on test
3. calculate train & test GINI, KS
5. plot graph x-trains KS, y-test KS, color=#of occurences
few lines of code in SAS Base, head pain in PASW Modeler ...
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Give it a try and let us help you to get started!

Best regards,
Ralf Klinkenberg


Anyone who makes a living on operational research analysis,  statistical databases, data management (including but not limited to text files) will take SAS. I have used both programs and I still don't understand how some people even dare to compare them. SPSS is cheaper and requires no additional programming skills (if your are using click and play option). It is the perfect statistical software for people without calculus or econometrics. That's about it.


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