SAS Institute (or SAS, pronounced "sass") is an American multinational developer of analytics software based in Cary, North Carolina. SAS develops and markets a suite of analytics software (also called SAS), which helps access, manage, analyze and report on data to aid in decision-making. The company is the world's largest privately held software business and its software is used by most of the Fortune 500.
SAS Institute started as a project at North Carolina State University to create a statistical analysis system (hence the proper name, Statistical Analysis System) that was originally used primarily by agricultural departments at universities in the late 1960s. It became an independent, private business led by current CEO James Goodnight and three other project leaders from the university in 1976. SAS grew from $10 million in revenues in 1980 to $1.1 billion by 2000. In 1998 a larger proportion of these revenues were spent on research and development than at most other software companies; in 1997 these were more than double the industry average.
The Statistical Analysis System (SAS) began as a project at North Carolina State University's agricultural department. It was originally led by Anthony James Barr in 1966, then joined by NCSU graduate student James Goodnight in 1967 and John Sall in 1973. In the early 1970s, the software was primarily leased to other agricultural departments in order to analyze the effect soil, weather and seed varieties had on crop yields. The project was funded by the National Institutes of Health and later by a coalition of university statistics programs called the University Statisticians of the Southern Experiment Stations.