Business software giant SAS passed the $3 billion milestone for the first time last year, thanks to a slightly more than 5 percent hike in revenue, and a top executive is bullish about the companys prospects for double-digit growth in 2014.
The Cary-based company plans to announce Thursday that its revenue rose 5.2 percent to $3.02 billion in 2013, just a hair behind the 5.4 percent growth the company enjoyed in 2012. The companys revenue has grown annually throughout its 38-year history.
The privately held company doesnt disclose profit numbers, but SAS Senior Vice President Jim Davis said the company was profitable in 2013.
It was a good year, Davis said.
Although worldwide information technology spending by businesses was flat last year, according to market research firm Gartner, SAS is in the right markets at the right time, Davis said.
I think our sector is one of the hotter sectors, he said. When you think about Big Data and analytics, it seems to be all the rage. We feel very fortunate to be in that sector.
Corporations, government agencies and others use SAS business intelligence and analytics software to analyze their operations and predict trends. According to marketing firm IDC, SAS grew its market share in advanced analytics from 35.3 percent to 36.2 percent in 2012.
SAS charges customers an annual subscription fee, which makes it harder to boost revenue compared to competitors that tend to charge a large upfront fee plus smaller maintenance fees in subsequent years.
Davis said that the companys cloud-based offerings jumped 20 percent last year.
That will accelerate even faster in 2014, he said. The companys cloud offerings range from customers accessing SAS software via the cloud to customers providing access to their data so that SAS experts can perform the analysis for them.
Market categories that generated sales growth well into double digits last year included fraud detection and financial services, business intelligence, energy, health care and capital markets.
Davis also said that more than 1,400 customers signed up in 2013 for SASs new Visual analytics software, which provides a way to visualize large amounts of data rather than looking at columns of numbers, so you can begin to pick out patterns visually.
On the minus side, Davis said that revenue from the federal government fell last year.
We took a hit in the federal government sector in the U.S., he said. I think a lot of vendors took a hit.
Now, having said that, things appear to be loosening up in the federal government sector, Davis added.
Overall revenue rose 5.3 percent in the U.S., 7.6 percent in the EMEA countries Europe, the Middle East and Africa and was flat in the Asia Pacific.
New sales, which SAS defines as new customers or existing customers who expand their use of SAS software, rose 6.5 percent in the U.S., 9.5 percent in the EMEA countries and 7.2 percent in the Asia Pacific.
SASs growing revenue enabled the company to boost employment by about 3.5 percent worldwide and more than 1 percent in Cary, Davis said. Today it has 13,814 employees worldwide, including 5,198 in Cary.
The company hired 135 new employees in Cary last year and has added another 38 employees locally since the beginning of the year.
We currently have 67 job openings in the U.S., of which 46 of them are in Cary, Davis said. We do a lot of our hiring at the beginning of the year to lock and load, based on whatever our key initiatives are.
Davis said the combination of an improving economy and increased customer demand bodes well for 2014.
We dont usually say this, but were feeling we should have a double-digit year at SAS, he said.