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Latin America accounts for about 5% of US business analytics software provider SAS's overall revenues, which in 2010 were US$2.43bn, SAS CEO and founder Jim Goodnight told BNamericas.
"But Latin America grew last year at 20% - it's one of the fastest growing regions, along with the Asia-Pacific region. And this year Asia-Pacific isn't growing because our number one market there was Japan, and it's flat in Japan. No one is thinking of buying a lot of software there right now," he said. "I hope that will turn around next year."
SAS's number one sector in the region is still banking and finance/insurance, which is about 42% of the business, as the vertical depends heavily on modeling. "Banks need models to determine whom they'll lend money to - what the credit score is, computing value at risk, looking at default and all the loans they have outstanding," he said.
Business analytics also helps banks with defining targets in marketing campaigns, and "we also help optimize each individual campaign - whether you want to use digital marketing and email, or the call center, print material or TV ads."
In that light, SAS believes that CRM is about 90% business analytics in choosing and optimizing the decisions, with the remaining 10% is for "the mechanical part" in running the campaign, Goodnight noted.
SAS is considered the world's largest privately held business analytics firm, and there are no plans to change that, as going public would take away the agility and flexibility that its management enjoys. Plus, "we have been profitable every year for 35 years, and we've had revenue growth for 35 years," the CEO said.
To read the full interview with Goodnight, see this week's IT Perspectives, for subscribers only.