The Statistical Analysis System software, or SAS, was initially developed in 1966 by a consortium of eight universities via funding from the USDA for the sake of analyzing vast amounts of agricultural data. The project came to be led by Jim Goodnight and Jim Barr at North Carolina State University. When the USDA ended its funding in 1972, the consortium continued development from its own funds. In 1976 Goodnight, Barr, and others left the university system to form SAS Institute, Inc., a private company “devoted to the maintenance and further development of SAS.”
Since then SAS’ analytical applications have gone far beyond its agricultural roots, including such varied uses as
- Forecasting energy demand, resulting in millions of dollars saved and reduced utility rates
- Speeding government emergency response times
- Rebuilding areas efficiently after natural disasters
- Protecting endangered species, such as white rhinos and polar bears
- Reducing poverty and hunger
- Detecting money laundering activities
- Identifying potential bio-terrorism
- Reducing bank and insurance fraud
- Finding patterns in customer purchases to increase sales
- Targeting new business projects
- Improving cancer survival rates
- Combatting HIV-AIDS
- Improving heart attack survival rates
An example of the latter is Dr. Brent Myers, who used SAS to analyze data from 2,900 cardiac arrest cases, and proved that cardiac arrest victims could be saved by continuing chest compressions for up to an hour versus the then-conventional wisdom in many areas of the country of no more than 30 minutes. “Hearts across the country beat the same way,” said Dr. Myers, “but whether the heart can be restarted is vastly different depending on where you live. I’d like to see that change.” Thanks to his SAS analysis, it has; and more people are surviving heart attacks throughout the US.
SAS Institute has customers in 141 countries—including 93 of the top 100 companies on the 2014 Fortune Global 500®. SAS software is installed in over 75,000 business, government, and university sites.
SAS Institute has been regularly lauded for how it treats its nearly 14,000 employees. It ranked #2 on the Great Place to Work’s list of Top 25 World’s Best Multinational Workplaces, #4 on Fortune Magazine’s April 2015 list of Best Companies to Work For in the US, and #9 on Fortune Magazine’s June 2015 list of 100 Best Workplaces for Millennials.
This success is thanks in part to CEO Jim Goodnight’s philosophy: “Treat employees like they make a difference, and they will.”
Goodnight has also said, “95% of my assets drive out the gate every evening. It’s my job to maintain a work environment that keeps those people coming back every morning.”
As a result, according to Manager of University Outreach and Recruiting Kayla Villwock, the company receives 56,000 job applications a year. To make yourself stand out from the crowd, Villwock recommends your resume includes “your above and beyonds, the things that make you who you are as a person.”