Don't talk back to this company about business intelligence. SAS (pronounced "sass") specializes in software used for business analytics, data warehousing, and data mining activities employed by corporations to gather, manage, and analyze enormous amounts of data. Clients, mainly financial services firms, government agencies, and telecom carriers, use its applications to find patterns in customer data, manage resources, and target new business. SAS also offers software and support packages for other segments such as leisure, manufacturing, and retail. It has more than 400 offices in over 50 countries. Founder and CEO James Goodnight owns about two-thirds of the company; co-founder and EVP John Sall owns the rest.
SAS has expanded its core business intelligence product line with applications for financial management, marketing automation, data management, reporting, and risk management, among many others. The company works with partners such as Accenture, IBM, and Teradata to integrate its software with their products, extending the reach of its brand.
SAS claims to have never experienced a down year since its founding in 1976. The company boasted 12% sales growth and its 36th consecutive profitable year in 2011. It pointed to strong sales of fraud detection products, as well as analytics, information management, customer intelligence, retail, risk and supply chain applications as key drivers of growth. The company reported robust demand from its core government segment, as well as from health care and life sciences clients.
Looking ahead SAS has said that its strategy for 2012 includes expanding its analytics product line to include more tools for text and predictive analysis, forecasting, and operations research to enable clients to better parse large volumes of structured and unstructured data. It will also update its anti-fraud software for banks, governments, health care providers, and insurers. The company budgets about one quarter of its revenue for research and development -- well above the 10% - 15% average.
In 2011 SAS bought marketing resource management software developer Assetlink to add more marketing tools to its core analytics technology. The deal was intended to increase the appeal of its products to corporate marketing organizations looking to leverage automated customer data collection from call centers, mobile users, social media, and traditional Web pages. Also that year the company acquired Baseline Consulting, a specialist in data management.
To keep pace with market trends, SAS in 2010 introduced social media analytics software for marketing professionals to analyze consumer insight from user-generated media. The company has continued to build its social media product line, adding functionality for retailers, insurance companies, and others to integrate marketing tools and other functions.
The company's clients have included GE Healthcare, Astrazeneca, Nestlé, and Dow Chemical. – less