SAS teams up with software giant SAP

Posted by David Ranii on October 22, 2013 

  • SAS trails Google now

    SAS slipped to No. 2 – behind Google – in a prestigious list of great places to work.

    SAS, which last year ranked tops in the annual ranking compiled by the Great Place to Work Institute, was one of two Triangle-based companies that made the list of 25 multinational companies. Durham-based Quintiles, the world’s largest pharmaceutical services company, was ranked No. 18, up from No. 23 last year.

    “We have a work environment that allows people to do their best without unnecessary distractions so that they can be more creative and productive,” SAS CEO Jim Goodnight said in a statement. “It’s one way we ensure we are delivering innovative software solutions to our customers.”

    Two other companies with a major Triangle presence also made this year’s list. Storage giant NetApp ranked No. 3, and computer networking company Cisco ranked No. 10.

Software company SAS is teaming up with business software behemoth SAP in an effort to boost the ability of their customers to analyze big data.

Cary-based SAS and Germany’s SAP, the world’s No. 1 producer of business-management software, announced Tuesday that they have formed a strategic partnership with a goal of reducing costs and upgrading performance for their customers. Corporations, government agencies and others use SAS business intelligence and analytics software to analyze their operations and predict trends.

The companies, viewed by some as competitors, plan to create technology that will incorporate SAP’s HANA software and SAS’ analytics capabilities. Enabling SAS analytic applications to run on the SAP HANA platform will simplify things for users and harness their combined horsepower, creating “new big data solutions that could not previously be delivered,” the companies said.

“It’s primarily about co-innovation,” said Russ Cobb, vice president of product marketing and global alliance channels.

Analyst Michael Schiff of MAS Strategies called it a smart move for both companies. For SAS, “it opens up all sort of new sales opportunities,” he said.

Cobb said the partnership was driven by customer demand.

“We have a very large customer base,” he said. “Increasingly, we have been getting questions: ‘How can you guys work together?’”

SAP generated more than $22 billion in worldwide sales in 2012. SAS, one of the Triangle’s largest privately held companies, posted $2.87 billion in revenue last year. SAS has more than 5,500 employees in Cary and more than 13,700 worldwide.

“We are providing value for both customer groups,” said Ingo Brenckmann, senior development manager at SAP.

Their partnership is still in the exploratory stage. The first step, Cobb said, is to enlist joint customers that the companies can work with “to figure out how we really make this work on the ground” by identifying four or five applications that the companies will move forward with.

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