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Use the CData ODBC Driver for Act CRM in SAS for Real-Time Reporting and Analytics

Connect to real-time Act CRM data in SAS for reporting, analytics, and visualizations using the CData ODBC Driver for Act CRM.

SAS is a software suite developed for advanced analytics, multivariate analysis, business intelligence, data management, and predictive analytics. When you pair SAS with the CData ODBC Driver for Act CRM, you gain database-like access to live Act CRM data from SAS, expanding your reporting and analytics capabilities. This articles walks through creating a library for Act CRM in SAS and creating a simple report based on real-time Act CRM data.

The CData ODBC Driver offers unmatched performance for interacting with live Act CRM data in SAS due to optimized data processing built into the driver. When you issue complex SQL queries from SAS to Act CRM, the driver pushes supported SQL operations, like filters and aggregations, directly to Act CRM and utilizes the embedded SQL engine to process unsupported operations (often SQL functions and JOIN operations) client-side. With built-in dynamic metadata querying, you can easily visualize and analyze Act CRM data in SAS.

Connect to Act CRM as an ODBC Data Source

Information for connecting to Act CRM follows, along with different instructions for configuring a DSN in Windows and Linux environments (the ODBC Driver for Act CRM must be installed on the machine hosting the SAS System).

The User and Password properties, under the Authentication section, must be set to valid Act! user credentials. In addition to the authentication values, see the following:

  • Connecting to Act! Premium

    In addition to the authentication values, the URL to Act! is also required; for example https://eup1-iis-04.eu.hosted.act.com/.

    Additionally, you must specify the ActDatabase you will connect to. This is found by going to the About Act! Premium menu of your account, at the top right of the page, in the ? menu. Use the Database Name in the window that appears.

  • Connecting to Act! Premium Cloud

    To connect to your Act! Premium Cloud account, you also need to specify the ActCloudName property. This property is found in the URL address of the Cloud account; for example https://eup1-iis-04.eu.hosted.act.com/ActCloudName/.

Note that retrieving ActCRM metadata can be expensive. It is advised that you set the CacheMetadata property to store the metadata locally.

When you configure the DSN, you may also want to set the Max Rows connection property. This will limit the number of rows returned, which is especially helpful for improving performance when designing reports and visualizations.

Windows

If you have not already, first specify connection properties in an ODBC DSN (data source name). This is the last step of the driver installation. You can use the Microsoft ODBC Data Source Administrator to create and configure ODBC DSNs.

Linux

If you are installing the CData ODBC Driver for Act CRM in a Linux environment, the driver installation predefines a system DSN. You can modify the DSN by editing the system data sources file (/etc/odbc.ini) and defining the required connection properties.

/etc/odbc.ini

[CData ActCRM Sys] Driver = CData ODBC Driver for Act CRM Description = My Description URL = https://myActCRMserver.com User = myUser Password = myPassword ActDatabase = MyDB

For specific information on using these configuration files, please refer to the help documentation (installed and found online).

Create a Act CRM Library in SAS

Connect to Act CRM in SAS by adding a library based on the CData ODBC Driver for Act CRM.

  1. Open SAS and expand Libraries in the Explorer pane.
  2. In the Active Libraries window, right-click and select New.
  3. Name your library (odbclib), select ODBC as the Engine, and click to Enable at startup (if you want the library to persist between sessions).
  4. Set Data Source to the DSN you previously configured and click OK.

Create a View from a Act CRM Query

SAS natively supports querying data either using a low-code, point-and-click Query tool or programmatically with PROC SQL and a custom SQL query. When you create a View in SAS, the defining query is executed each time the view is queried. This means that you always query live Act CRM data for reports, charts, and analytics.

Using the Query Tool

  1. In SAS, click Tools -> Query
  2. Select the table sources and the table(s) you wish to pull data from. Then, click OK.
  3. Select columns and right-click to add filtering, ordering, grouping, etc.
  4. Create a local view to contain the query results by right-clicking the SQL Query Tool window, selecting Show Query, and clicking Create View. Name the View and click OK.

Using PROC SQL

  1. In SAS, navigate to the Editor window.
  2. Use PROC SQL to query the data and create a local view.
    NOTE: This procedure creates a view in the Work library. You can optionally specify a library in the create view statement.
    proc sql;
      create view activities_view as
      select 
        activitydisplayname, 
        subject 
      from 
        odbclib.activities 
      where 
        Subject = 'Sample subject';
    quit;
    
  3. Click Run -> Submit to execute the query and create a local view.

Report On or Visualize Act CRM Data in SAS

With a local view created, you can report, visualize, or otherwise analyze Act CRM data using the powerful SAS features. Print a simple report using PROC PRINT and create a basic graph based on the data using PROC GCHART.

Print an HTML Report

  1. In SAS, navigate to the Editor window.
  2. Use PROC PRINT to print an HTML report for the Act CRM Activities data.
    proc print data=activities;
      title "Act CRM Activities Data";
    run;
    

Print a Chart

  1. In SAS, navigate to the Editor window.
  2. Use PROC GCHART to create a chart for the Activities data.
    proc gchart data=activities;
      pie activitydisplayname / sumvar=subject
          value=arrow
          percent=arrow
          noheading
          percent=inside plabel=(height=12pt)
          slice=inside value=none
          name='ActivitiesChart';
    run;