SAS reports 2.2pc jump in revenue to US$2.3 billion

21 Jan 2010

Business analytics software player SAS achieved global revenue of US$2.31 billion in 2009, up 2.2pc over 2008 results.

Despite poor economic conditions, SAS maintained its unbroken chain of growth and profitability for 34 years since the company was founded.

“Our continued growth in 2009 is further proof that investing in long-term relationships with customers and employees and maintaining a deep commitment to R&D pays,” said CEO Jim Goodnight. “We not only weathered the downturn, we came out ahead.”

Revenue from software sales alone jumped 3.3pc at a time when software revenue of major vendors has been declining. SAS reinvested 23pc of 2009 revenue in R&D and, as Goodnight promised a year ago, ended the year with no layoffs due to economic pressures, underscoring the company’s commitment to innovation and employees.

“In January, I told employees there would be no layoffs,” Goodnight said. “I wanted them to stay focused on customer needs and not be distracted by issues related to corporate viability. The result is that we continued to grow in the downturn and we are ready to launch exciting new products in 2010. The momentum is greater than it’s ever been for this company.”

Tough times drive sales

Results for 2009 mirrored 2008 in that customers sought SAS solutions to grow revenue via maximising effective customer relations and better managing operations and costs through risk management. Analytics, customer intelligence, data integration and risk-management solutions grew the most.

Among industry-based solutions, growth rates were highest in banking, government, health care, insurance and retail. Of note are increased sales to financial services, which account for 42pc of total revenue. These companies turned to SAS to help them navigate changes in customer needs, business models, and government and central bank oversight.

“To show growth in this sector is a real achievement,” Goodnight said, “and shows the confidence financial services companies have in our ability to partner with them to solve complex business issues.”

Sales to retail saw a 12pc spike despite a very challenging environment for that sector. “Double-digit growth in retail is particularly noteworthy,” Goodnight said.

“We’re helping retailers price products and stock stores, taking into account regional, local and even store-level buying preferences of their customers. Retailers have very tight margins and we continue to help them find ways to improve them.”

SAS gained 1,389 new customers from around the world in 2009. Customers new to SAS include: Anglopharma, Bombay Stock Exchange, the Clorox Company of Canada Ltd., Efficiency Unit, Fiat Automóveis, Lego Systems Inc., Loyalty New Zealand, Niagara Health System, RH Donnelly Inc., Telefonica, TV 2 AS (Norway), WestJet, Wet Seal Inc., Wistron Corp. and Vattenfall.

SAS customers on list of Top 100

Deploying powerful business analytics has been commonly associated with large corporations; of the Top 100 companies on the 2009 FORTUNE Global 500 list, 93 are current SAS customers.

With economic recovery in many parts of the world off to a slow start, organisations will continue to focus on improving customer-centricity, enhancing top-line revenue growth, and optimising their businesses in 2010.

“We live in a global economy,” said SAS senior vice-president Jim Davis. “Not everyone is turning the corner at the same time. In 2010, we need to realise where the opportunities lie and how to approach those opportunities based on whether that particular region is seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.”

By John Kennedy

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years