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King of Analytics is Jim Goodnight, according to Forbes

Here's their article:

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Some entrepreneurs set out to change the world. Steve Jobs comes to mind. Others try to solve a niche problem and discover, over time, that the whole world wants their magic. Such is Jim Goodnight, the cofounder, chairman and CEO of SAS, the Cary, N.C.-based leader in the suddenly hot field of high-powered analytics software.

Goodnight, 68, is a tall Southerner with a dry wit and a walk not unlike John Wayne's. Not one to follow fashion, he has kept SAS in private hands since its 1976 inception, even though its $2.5 billion in revenue would command a market cap north of $10 billion. In an age when companies outsource everything, the Kingdom of SAS spends lavishly on its beautiful 300-acre campus, which includes a solar farm, an Olympicsize swimming pool and a five-star hotel.

In the beginning, Jim ... We had a small base of customers--universities doing agricultural research, drug companies analyzing trials and insurance companies computing mortality estimates.

When did SAS go from being niche to big? Around 1990. That's when banks realized they could use all the data they'd been collecting on customers to know whom to lend money to. Next came the investment banks, which adopted analytics to gain an edge in trading. And then came that data explosion called the Internet, with its billions and billions of clicks each day. Every click is stored on a server somewhere, waiting to be analyzed.

What do businesses want to analyze today? Businesses are looking at customer data to gain insights into crossselling and up-selling. Banks want to build models for credit scoring and computing risk. We're working with state agencies to identify fraud in Medicaid, workman's comp and other areas. A lot of companies are interested in social media analytics to keep abreast of sentiment about their brand.

Read full version at http://www.forbes.com/forbes/2011/0822/opinions-rich-karlgaard-inno...

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