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 offices in more than 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 such offerings as financial management software and marketing automation and analysis applications. The company also works with partners such as Accenture, IBM, and Teradata to integrate its software with their products, extending the reach of its brand.
SAS has been able to grow at its own steady pace and claims to have never experienced a down year since its founding in 1976. The company budgets about one quarter of its revenue for research and development -- well above the 10% - 15% average. The company cites its status as a private entity as contributing to its steady growth, because it doesn't have the same compliance regulations or risk as a publicly traded company.
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 continued to build its social media product line the next year, adding functionality for retailers, insurance companies, and others.
SAS made a couple of acquisitions in 2010 to expand its market reach. The company's purchase of Maryland-based government intelligence software maker Vision Systems & Technology (VSTI) improved its selection of security applications. The deal followed its purchase of Memex Technology Limited, a Scotland-based provider of intelligence software for law enforcement, public safety, and other security organizations. With the acquisition, SAS targeted the emerging market for fusion centers, which combine intelligence data from multiple law enforcement agencies.
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.
The company has also invested in the expansion of its workforce. In 2010 SAS added more than 7% to its global headcount, including staff to support its growing selection of OnDemand products with are offered on a software-as-a-services basis, as well as sales, research and development, and other personnel within its business intelligence and health-related analytics operations.