SAS Institute Inc. is a software vendor that specializes in advanced and predictive analytics software applications, as well as business intelligence and data visualization offerings. The software is primarily geared towards data scientists and other highly skilled analysts, although offerings such as SAS Enterprise Guide, which supports quick data explorations and allows users to publish results to teammates, can be operated by the average business user.
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While SAS Institute Inc. software covers a range of data management and analysis functions, its primary focus is in the areas of predictive and advanced analytics. SAS Enterprise Miner, one of the company's most popular software packages, lets users build predictive models in a GUI (graphical user interface) environment and produce graphics from analyses. Most of the company's offerings are built around the SAS language, a programming language that executes statistical operations against data sets.
SAS Institute's software often competes against open source analytics tools including R and Python, which have grown in prominence in the predictive analytics world in recent years. But SAS is increasingly working to incorporate those tools into its own offerings. SAS/IML is a proprietary tool that lets users call R commands and the SAS Viya data platform allows developers to build data tools using Java, Python and RESTful APIs.
SAS Institute Inc., originally known as Statistical Analysis Systems, was founded in 1976 in part by Jim Goodnight, who still leads SAS as its CEO. Today, SAS is one of the largest privately owned software companies in the world, with $3.16 billion in revenue in 2015. In 2015, market analysis firm IDC estimated that SAS controlled 31.6% of the total market for advanced analytics software tools. SAS Institute is regularly ranked by analyst firms Gartner and Forrester as a leader in advanced analytics and business intelligence applications.