SAS (pronounced “sass”), which is short for Statistical

SAS (pronounced “sass”), which is short for Statistical Analysis System, began when it set out to create statistical software to help agricultural researchers who were studying the effects of soil, seeds, and the weather on crop yields. In 1970, researchers had to write new computer programs every time they analyzed data. SAS standardized that process and made it faster. Because the statistics faculty who wrote SAS needed to generate funds to cover the expiring grant money that paid their salaries, they started leasing SAS to universities and pharmaceutical companies. By 1976, they had 100 customers. However, it wasn t until the first SAS Users Conference later that year, when 300 people showed up, that they realized their business opportunity. As you tell people now, that was pretty much the aha” moment.” From website traffic, to credit cards replacing cash, to genome sequencing, to sentiment analysis (analyzing every tweet, blog, and discussion group comment about your company and its products), the amount of digital data that a company has to go through is increasing at exponential rates. As a result, 79 percent of Fortune 500 companies use SAS. Shell Oil uses it to analyze data to predict how long the pumps will run on its North Sea oil-drilling platforms. Kohl s department store maximizes profits by using SAS to analyze which products to mark down for sale. Credit card companies use SAS to reduce fraud by identifying unusual credit card purchases in real time. Finally