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SAS Inside Intelligence 2011 – Executive Viewpoioint


I am attending the SAS analyst day this week – SAS Inside Intelligence.

Jim Goodnight kicked off the SAS analyst event. Numbers look good for a tough economy – 5.2% worldwide growth in US Dollars or 6.7% without currency fluctuation. Latin America, Canada and Asia Pacific were all very strong but regions were good across the board really with EMEA bring up the rear at a respectable 5%. Analytics was up 26% this year while Customer Intelligence grew 65% and Risk/Fraud grew 84%. SAS is hiring again with nearly 3% growth in staffing in 2010 (after being more flat in 2009). Revenue per employee rose a little too, despite the number of ancillary staff on the books (no outsourcing at SAS). On top of that they are still building new facilities, still winning best places to work, and 35 years of revenue growth. Very cool.

SAS, he says, is all about analytics.

Jim Davis followed by identifying last year as a very successful year, thanks in large part to their focus on industry solutions. Add in the added awareness generated by some prominent acquisitions and SAS’ status as a stable supplier and you get a profitable year. And while the company grew 5% last year overall, new sales were up over 20% – a great predictor of future revenue given SAS’ annuity pricing. 60% of big deals involve partners though SAS continues to focus on direct sales and local offices with a growing focus on regional offices to allow specialists to be reasonably close to local offices. Revenue continues to come from lots of industries, though SAS revenue is strongest in Financial Services (42%). 50,000 customers now with good customer satisfaction and loyalty numbers, in part due to the stability SAS offers in an era of big acquisitions.

In the last 12 months SAS has made 4 acquisitions:

  • Memex – Founded in 1979, 110 people based in Scotland focused on terrorism and crime analytics across multiple organizations.
  • VSTI – 60 people (mostly with high security clearances) based in Maryland and focused on analytics for US government.
  • Assetlink – Marketing Resource Management software like content management and workflow for content. Partners for 4 years with an increasing degree of technology integration building up to the acquisition.
  • Baseline Consulting – being added to the DataFlux organization, Baseline has a strong reputation for consulting in data integration and data quality.

High priority areas for 2011:

  • Analytics
  • Customer Intelligence
  • Data Management
  • Risk
  • Fraud

Not sure what that leaves out though…

Lots of new releases in 2010 like Rapid Predictive Modeler, Social Media Analytics and more.

Jim moved on to Mobile and said they see two purposes – generalized reporting (pushing general BI UI to mobile devices) and “fit for task” UIs focused on specific activities like viewing top influencers in social media or planograms in retail.

Competitive landscape is, Jim says, about the battle for the “stack”. SAS’ position as a company supports everyone’s hardware or database is a big advantage v those like HP, IBM and Oracle focused on delivering a whole stack. Meanwhile SAP, Teradata and Microsoft are still trying to decide if they are going to deliver stacks and what will be in them. SAS still works with all these folks as coopetition rules – not an either/or.