SAS shows strong growth

19 Feb 2004

Business intelligence giant SAS has reported revenue of US$1.34bn for 2003, a 13.5pc increase in revenue growth over 2002 and the 27th straight year of profitable growth for the privately held software firm.

The company said that the economic downturn and market instability during the first half of 2003 had led to a sharpened focus on accurately predicting future revenue streams and cutting costs.

According to Patrick Durkin, managing director of SAS Ireland, the Irish arm enjoyed a particularly strong year, recording revenue growth of 22pc and signing up several new customers including the Revenue Commissioners, the Environmental Protection Agency and Intercontinental Investment Bank.

In the banking area, sales were driven by new international accountings standards and the Basle II compliance regulations, he said. Compliance and risk management issues also helped drive growth in the other strong SAS areas of manufacturing and pharmaceuticals.

The company is gearing itself up for its biggest ever product launch, the global introduction of its new business intelligence platform, SAS 9, at the end of March. Said Durkin: “SAS 9 is about doing business intelligence better and faster. It’s about putting analytical tools in the hands of decision makers throughout the organisation and not just the techies in the corner.”

In international terms, SAS saw 46pc of its revenue come from North America, 43pc from EMEA and 9pc from the Asia Pacific region during 2003. Latin America, which made up 2pc of overall revenues, experienced the greatest percentage increase in revenue, up 43pc over 2002.

From an industry perspective, financial services continues to be the leading source of revenue by industry, accounting for 34pc of industry-specific revenue for the company. SAS has also seen continued strength in the public sector and in manufacturing, at 13 and 12pc of industry revenue, respectively. Emerging industry sources of revenue include life sciences, retail and telecommunications, each at 5 to 7pc of revenue.

The US-based company, run by software billionaire Dr Jim Goodnight, is among the ten largest software firms in the world, having built its business around a suite of business intelligence and data management tools. The company prides itself on spending some 25pc of its annual revenue on R&D.

“At a time when other large software vendors have experienced reduced revenue and slashed both headcount and R&D spending, SAS has continued to grow in both market presence and revenue,” said Goodnight. “Our ability to tailor our software to industry-specific needs and help companies create data-driven approaches to managing cost pressures, regulatory requirements and the profitability of their customer relationships were key factors behind another successful year.”

Goodnight predicted that SAS would maintain its “overwhelming leadership” in the business intelligence market in 2004.

By Brian Skelly