SAS plans to hire more than 100 employees during the next two years for a new initiative aimed at selling more of its business-analytics software to state and local governments.
Gov. Bev Perdue joined SAS co-founder and CEO Jim Goodnight at the company's Cary headquarters this morning to announce the new Analytics Lab for State and Local Government and its expansion plans.
Perdue talked glowingly about the work SAS is doing for the state, including a new contract that calls for SAS to prevent ineligible people from entering the state's $8.5 billion Medicaid program, and applauded the company for not seeking any government incentives in conjunction with its expansion.
"They didn't get a flat dime" from the state, said Perdue. "They have done this because they love North Carolina. They are as proud of our state as we are of SAS."
SAS has long provided analytics software for state and local governments, with that business expanding to the point that the company has decided it makes sense to have a dedicated staff develop new off-the-shelf products and working with government agencies on efforts tailored to their needs.
Goodnight said much of the company's success has come from listening to customers, and its state and local government customers have made it clear they want new tools to root out fraud and save taxpayer dollars. Consequently, SAS decided to bring together "our most talented developers and governement experts and arm them with state-of-the-art technology."
The new SAS lab is starting out with a staff of more than 200 culled from its existing work force and expects to expand by at least 50 percent over the next two years to handle its growing business. The vast majority of those new staffers will be based in Cary, with a few scattered at government agencies across the country that undertake new projects with SAS software, said spokesman Trent Smith.
About 30 percent of the lab's current staff is comprised of N.C. State University and UNC-Chapel Hill graduates, including 22 with master's degrees from the Institute of Advanced Analytics at N.C. State, which was co-founded by SAS. Roughly the same percentage of the new hires also are expected to come from those universities.
"SAS is fortunate to have excellent universities in our back yard," said John Brocklebank, who heads the SAS Advanced Analytics Lab.
The company isn't disclosing the salaries it expects to pay its new hires, but Smith said they will be "professional, highly qualified folks."
SAS analytics software is used to fight government fraud, waste and abuse, as well as for public safety projects and in educational reform efforts. The company's customers include all 50 states and more than 115 local governments.
The N.C. Criminal Justice Law Enforcement Automated Data System is using SAS software to provide a central repository of up-to-date information about criminals. Los Angeles County is using it to fight child-care benefits fraud. The public school systems in North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee and Pennsylvania are using it to measure the effectiveness of school districts, individual schools and teachers.
The opening of SAS's new $70 million cloud computing center last month enables government agencies to access the company's software over the Internet without investing in new computer equipment and personnel. The 38,000-square-foot center enables clients to access off-the-shelf software, known as software as a service, or software that SAS has customized to their specifications.
Privately held SAS is one of the largest companies based in the Triangle with nearly 11,500 workers worldwide, including more than 4,600 in Cary. The company generated $2.31 billion in revenue last year, and revenue over the first three quarters of this year rose 5 percent, according to the company.