SAS defies recession, increases revenue and reputation

Posted January 21, 2010

— Defying a global recession, SAS reported a 34th consecutive year of revenue growth in 2009 as sales increased 2.2 percent to $2.31 billion.

Meanwhile, SAS also reported Thursday that it has been selected as the best place to work in Fortune magazine’s annual "100 Best Companies To Work For" list. It's the first time SAS, a regular member of the top 100, has topped the list.

Last fall at its annual media day, SAS executives including co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Jim Goodnight conceded that the global software firm might not set another revenue record.

SAS has increased sales ever since its founding.

“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 Goodnight in a statement. “We not only weathered the downturn, we came out ahead.”

Although it is privately held, SAS does report annually on overall sales and how revenues broke down.

Last year, software revenues increased 3.3 percent, the company said. It also makes revenues for other services and training.

Meanwhile, SAS stayed consistent with its investment in research and development, with 23 percent of revenues going toward product design and improvement.

SAS also avoided layoffs although it did make some internal adjustments in its work force.

“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.”

The Fortune selection is something that Goodnight values highly. He takes great pride in SAS’ low employee turnover rate, insisting that people are the company’s most valuable asset.

SAS has made the Fortune list every year since the magazine launched it in 1998. The company has been in the top five on five occasions and in the top 10 seven times.

Two other high-tech firms with a big presence in the Research Triangle Park area also made the Fortune list. NetApp placed seventh and Cisco 16th.


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  • GALNC Jan 21, 2010

    What a great story. Yes, Quality of Life is a staple at SAS. Plus, WONDERFUL benefits.

  • Thought Criminal WS Jan 21, 2010

    The key to SAS's success, IMHO, is their employees happiness. Happy people take interest in their work, take comfort in their jobs, and want to please their coworkers. They work hard, put their own personalities into what they do, and develop strategic partnerships at the grassroots level.

    Take note employers, make your people happy, and they will do for you what you cannot teach, train, or indoctrinate into them.

  • Womble_Fred Jan 21, 2010

    Patriot1 notes: "Jim Goodnight is a smart man. He treats his employees better than any company out there."

    And the worst kept secret in town is that some of his employees treat him REAAAAAAAAAALY well, also.

  • cas-65 Jan 21, 2010

    In case anyone didn't know, JG is an NCSU grad. He's done pretty well for going to that "farm school" all the Carolina and Duke fans talk down about.

  • slugolicious Jan 21, 2010

    @time4real and @Think_About_This

    JG did build a school with a lot of his money, but it's private. He wanted to show how a school could effectively use technology. As far as Wake County schools, SAS already provides free software to every school in NC, not just Wake County. In fact, I think it was expanded so that any school in the whole country could use it -

    He also sold land, at cost, to Wake County for a high school to be built in Apex on Kelly Rd. The school board now owns the land so what they do with it is up to them.

  • joebobbiggs Jan 21, 2010

    That no layoffs speech came about 3 years too late for me and 400 of my coworkers in 2006.

  • Think_About_This Jan 21, 2010

    time4real -

    "i think Mr. Happy should come forward and pay to build a dozen new schools for Wake County children with his big bucks! Wouldn't that be something, but I know it will never happen!"

    Are you kidding me?!?! Jim Goodnight does not owe you or any other citizen in Wake County a new school. He has obviously worked extremely hard to build SAS, but it does not mean he has to provide for everyone else. If you want his income, lifestyle, resources, etc - then put in the time and effort.

  • Dolphan Jan 21, 2010

    If Cary were its own country (you mean it's not??) then surely Goodnight would be Emperor (worshipped as a god?)..err I mean President.

  • Joani P. Jan 21, 2010

    Davidgnews....your statement is so RIGHT! When your employee's are treated well it's best for all around.

  • Realthoughts Jan 21, 2010

    "By the wa, note to SAS: do NOT go public because Obama will then be able to take over your company"

    Please explain, I've not seen Obama take over anything. If nothing else our government has overextended itself to help failing banks. Who, rewarded their upper management for causing the failure to start with.

    So please explain your statement with some FACTS and not just some blanket statement.