Westat was founded in 1963 as a small statistical services company and has grown to an organization with 2,000 employees with both domestic and global offices. Westat is an employee-owned company, headquartered in Rockville, MD, and provides a wide range of professional services, including survey research, statistical analysis, and evidence-based communications across a broad collection of subject areas, such as education, health studies, clinical trials, transportation research, and social policy analysis. Westat is considered a leader in these fields serving clients from federal agencies, state governments, not-for-profit organizations, and private corporations.
Westat uses technology extensively to provide services to its clients. “Westat employs a broad spectrum of advanced technologies, including virtualization platforms, cloud-based services, mobile devices and applications, database systems, and various COTS and open source platforms,” Ray Snowden explains. “We also have the technical expertise to develop custom applications and integrate disparate components to develop complex and reliable IT solutions that meet our clients’ needs cost effectively”.
Because SAS is so widely used at Westat to analyze data and produce complex statistical analyses—such as sampling, weighting, and imputation—the company provides a robust and full-featured infrastructure for SAS users.
Raithel continues, “To support its SAS users, Westat provides in-house technical support, SAS training, a SAS users group, and corporate customized SAS macros. Westat staff members regularly participate in SAS conferences where they have published over 170 SAS technical papers and served as conference leaders. One staff member has published five books on SAS programming.”
Raithel says plans for 2015 include “migrating to the latest version of SAS and continuing to provide our clients with the best analytical products our talented staff can produce using SAS software.”
“In addition to our extensive capabilities with SAS and other traditional platforms and technologies, Westat is very active in adopting new technologies to transform and improve the services we provide to our clients”, says Snowden. Recent examples include:
• Westat has established a FISMA-moderate, cloud-based, disaster recovery data center using FedRAMP-certified IaaS services that are less costly than brick-and-mortar alternatives and satisfy the requirement for geographic separation with the primary data center.
• Westat has developed, managed, and supported a large field data collection survey in remote sections of Africa utilizing over 1,000 Android tablets and open source data collection software.
• Westat uses various social media platforms to develop new techniques to recruit and communicate with research study participants.
• Westat has developed tools for the analysis and visualization of GIS data to improve the tracking, management, and oversight of field data collection activities.
Snowden concludes, “Westat’s ultimate goal is to provide creative and cost-effective solutions that meet our clients’ needs while continually discovering, developing, and deploying innovative and emerging technologies.”