SAS Misses 2014 Growth Forecast

At the beginning of 2014, SAS EVP and CMO Jim Davis predicted double-digit revenue growth for 2014; in October, CEO Jim Goodnight walked that back to 5%, citing a challenging business climate in Europe.  Today, SAS announced 2014 revenue of $3.09 Billion, up 2.3%.

Meanwhile, IBM reported growth in analytics revenue of 7% in Q4.

The challenge for SAS is that the US market is saturated: virtually every enterprise that ever will use SAS already does so, and there are limits to the number of new products one can add to the stack.  Much of SAS’ growth comes from overseas, and a strong dollar impairs SAS’ ability to sell in foreign markets.

On the positive side, SAS reports a total of 3,400 sites for SAS Visual Analytics, its “Tableau-killer”, compared to 1,400 sites announced last year, for a net growth of 2,000 sites.  (In SAS’ parlance, a “site” is roughly equivalent to a server.)  Tableau has not yet released its 2014 results, but in Q3 Tableau reports that it added 2,500 customer accounts.

SAS also reports 24% revenue growth for its cloud services.   IT analyst Synergy Research Group reports that the cloud market is growing at a 49% annualized rate, although AWS, Microsoft, IBM and Google are all growing much faster than that.

In other news, the WSJ reports that Big Data analytics startup Palantir is now valued at $15 billion, which is about the same as what it would cost an acquirer to buy SAS at 5X revenue.

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