Business analytics software and services provider SAS celebrates its 20th anniversary in South Africa this year.

Since it opened its doors on 1 January 1996, SAS South Africa has experienced huge growth in both business and employee numbers, and has implemented solutions that cross all industry verticals.

The company is a leader in the analytics market. Globally, SAS was recognised as a leader in the big data predictive analytics market in the latest Forrester Wave Big Data Predictive Analytics Solutions, Q2 2015 report, and a leader in the advanced analytics platform market in Gartner’s latest Magic Quadrant for Advanced Analytics Platforms.

Visualisation and data analytics remain a top business priority and technology trend. Frost & Sullivan predicts that the global big data market will reach $122-billion in revenue by 2025, while IDC forecasts that the Internet of Things market will attain a 30% compound annual growth rate between 2014 and 2019.

“SAS has been at the forefront of advanced analytics software for nearly 40 years; over this time, we’ve witnessed exponential change in the industry,” says Desan Naidoo, MD of SAS South Africa. “Where technology once evolved in linear steps and we could see change happening a few years in advance, it’s now evolving in exponential steps, forcing us to plan for the unknown.

“Growth is difficult to quantify because we’re operating in a disruptive age that’s constantly evolving – and it’s an exciting space to be in. Big data has also evolved. We’re no longer only managing subsets of structured data, but massive volumes of data from unstructured sources like social media and sensors.

“SAS has been tracking this evolution and has kept pace with it, and we are well positioned to capture a large portion of the growth that the IDC forecasts over the next five years,” he adds.

“Our advanced solutions of the past would run analyses in hours; our high-performance solutions of today do even more complicated processing in minutes, if not seconds, despite the fact that data is coming in from different sources, in different formats, and in larger volumes. We’ve seen a complete shift, from asking questions and answering them with data, to finding questions within data that we never thought to ask before,” says Naidoo.

Since its establishment in South Africa, SAS has made a significant contribution to skills development and the economy, believing the private sector has a role to play in equipping graduates with the skills and experience they need to succeed in the workplace. It plans to grow its graduate programme and to continue to invest 25% of its top-line revenue into research and development as it looks ahead to the next successful 20 years in South Africa.