Growth fueled by demand for fraud and risk management, artificial intelligence, machine learning and cloud solutions
Increased customer demand for artificial intelligence, machine learning, fraud and risk management and cloud solutions strongly influenced continued revenue growth and profitability for SAS in 2017. The analytics leader posted US$3.24 billion in total operating revenue, up 1.25 percent over 2016.
“The analytics landscape is rapidly changing as organisations find new value in how they use data to gain insights,” said SAS CEO Jim Goodnight. “We are helping our customers be more competitive with disruptive technologies such as analytics for the Internet of Things and artificial intelligence. Successfully innovating new technology and ways to help our customers is why we continue to be the company people turn to for unrivaled analytics expertise and business solutions.”
Strategic growth areas
Last year, Asia Pacific and Latin America saw the highest growth as customers in those regions adopted more strategic uses of analytics. Government, manufacturing, retail and sectors of financial services saw strong momentum. Globally, customers such as American Honda Motor Company, international food conglomerate Cargill, Germany’s Deutsche Telekom, global communications technology company Ericsson and the Chicago Bears rely on SAS® to gain more insights from their data.
As SAS customers sought to better engage with their own clients, the move to real-time customer engagement became more prominent last year. Targeted solutions like SAS Customer Intelligence 360, SAS Marketing Automation and SAS Marketing Optimization continued helping brands take the next best action with analytics, as highlighted by SAS’ leadership ranking in real-time interaction management in 2017.
Revenue associated with the cloud rose 15 percent as customers sought cost-effective and rapid access to SAS software in a convenient cloud environment. Customers also recognised the value of adding SAS’ expertise without the cost of building their own internal teams.
SAS’ investment in risk management is paying off, as new sales in this area grew by 35 percent – an indicator that more companies see value in creating a risk-aware culture to meet regulatory demands and anticipate the impact of their investments. SAS expected credit loss and stress testing solutions go beyond compliance to help companies orchestrate and manage models and analytics for business benefit.
An uptick in SAS capital management risk solutions was driven by continued banking regulatory stress testing regimes and new financial reporting requirements like IFRS 9 and CECL. An increased need to make real-time credit decisions boosted revenue for SAS credit scoring solutions.
The advanced data governance and data quality capabilities offered by SAS Data Integration, which grew at 11 percent, became increasingly important for customers to contend with data protection regulations like GDPR. Hybrid data landscapes, which combine on-premises and cloud data, also required more sophisticated data integration technologies last year.
Shifts in fraud patterns that require more sophisticated detection methods, like machine learning, led to an 11 percent increase in SAS fraud and security solutions. Modernisation of anti-money laundering programs and a need for proactive policing also contributed to this growth.
SAS enhanced the artificial intelligence portfolio with new product releases in machine learning, deep learning and natural language processing, enabling faster insights and simplifying the end-to-end solution for businesses. This focus to make machine learning easy to use and provide quick time to value was well received by SAS customers, and contributed to double-digit growth in machine learning last year.
SAS global partnering efforts again influenced more than one-third of new sales. This includes a growing demand for cloud solutions by midmarket customers with a desire to purchase through trusted local partners.
To strengthen alignment between product and revenue generating operations and carry out plans for growth and strategic investments, SAS appointed Oliver Schabenberger as chief operating officer effective January 1, 2018. He also retains his role as chief technology officer.
“I’m eager to focus on our strategic global direction and investment areas supporting our continued growth in critical and emerging areas,” said Schabenberger. “This includes targeted investments to accelerate growth in core strengths, including artificial intelligence and machine learning, analytics, fraud, risk management, data management and customer intelligence. In addition, we see incredible growth opportunity in IoT and expansions into the midmarket.”
Last year alone, SAS revenue associated with IoT grew by 60 percent. Industry analyst firm IDC estimates the size of the analytics market in IoT will grow to over $23 billion by 2020. An estimated 20.4 billion connected things are projected to be generating massive data volumes by 2020. Capitalising on this opportunity will require innovation, like SAS Event Stream Processing, which gained tremendous traction in 2017. And SAS has created an IoT division combining R&D and marketing expertise that will continue SAS’ focus on providing edge analytics that add great value to customers’ IoT investments. SAS plans to build out a similar business unit around fraud management.
Looking further ahead in 2018, SAS will continue heavy investment in embedding artificial intelligence across the SAS portfolio. Plans are also underway for a center of excellence to help SAS customers understand and apply artificial intelligence in ways that can transform their businesses and the world around us. For example, in financial services, artificial-intelligence-enabled natural language processing can help unlock new services for customers and revenue streams for businesses. In the energy sector, deep learning tools enabled by artificial intelligence can help maximise investments in renewable energy by optimising placement of wind farms.
New offerings to enhance the cloud experience with SAS applications will include managed container services for customer infrastructure in public or private clouds.
Continuous innovation sustains market leadership
Analysts continue to laud the company’s innovation and market dominance, naming SAS a leader in predictive and advanced analytics. According to IDC, SAS holds a 30.5 percent share of the advanced and predictive analytics market, well over twice the market share of the next-closest competitor. SAS has led – and grown – in this category since IDC started tracking the market in 1997. In 2017, analysts also named SAS a leader in streaming analytics, machine learning, big data, data science platforms, real-time marketing, data integration, data quality, fraud detection, risk management and retail analytics.
“When it comes to driving the business on data and analytics, everyone has high expectations,” said SAS chief marketing officer Randy Guard. “SAS delivers a platform that addresses the full analytics life cycle – data, discovery and deployment of decisions. Along with the openness that the SAS Platform offers, we enable our customers to bring their data and analytics together across their entire data science community.”
Maintaining market leadership is heavily dependent upon innovation. Year after year, SAS reinvests about twice the average of major technology firms into R&D – 26 percent in 2017. This investment supported the addition of artificial intelligence capabilities to the SAS Platform. And enhancements to SAS® Viya® extend the SAS Platform to deliver additional capabilities for analytics-driven organisations, including Cisco, the American Red Cross, Munich Re and Lockheed Martin. This modernisation appeals to a growing number of SAS Viya adopters seeking to bring together all their analytics assets, and unite SAS with open source interfaces and languages.
Champion for education, sustainability and inclusivity
In addition to business success, SAS has always put a heavy emphasis on making a difference in the world. Last year, efforts around education, sustainability and data for good landed SAS on Fortune’s 2017 list of companies that “Change the World.”
SAS is deeply committed to developing the next generation of innovators through education, and makes it easy to build coveted analytics skills by targeting worldwide education initiatives in STEM. SAS University Edition provides free access to SAS software so anyone can learn how to analyse data. Thousands of professors, students and researchers take advantage of free, cloud-based SAS OnDemand for Academics. Downloads and registrations of these two products have reached nearly 1.5 million.
From helping tackle opioid addiction and safeguarding vulnerable children to protecting fragile species through conservation efforts, SAS’ deep bench of analytics solutions change the world by analysing data to solve critical humanitarian issues. Expanding on our social innovation efforts, SAS introduced GatherIQ™ – a crowdsourcing initiative bringing together volunteers to solve social challenges. The GatherIQ app has been downloaded by people from 69 countries who want to use data for good.
SAS fosters an award-winning, sustainable workplace that has a positive impact on our future. The company reduces its environmental footprint with programs focused on energy conservation and solar projects, emission management, pollution mitigation, water conservation, waste reduction and recycling, procurement and green building.
Such passion for doing good ignites employees’ creativity and gives them the opportunity to effect change. Continually recognised for providing an enriching work environment, SAS remains a staple on best workplaces lists around the world. SAS is also considered a best workplace for diversity and inclusivity, women and gender equity, as well as a top company for millennials, recent grads and IT professionals.
U.S. inauguration turns poet Amanda Gorman into best seller
WASHINGTON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – The president’s poet woke up a superstar on Thursday, after a powerful reading at the U.S. inauguration catapulted 22-year-old Amanda Gorman to the top of Amazon’s best-seller list.
Hours after Gorman’s electric performance at the swearing-in of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, her two books – neither out yet – topped Amazon.com’s sales list.
“I AM ON THE FLOOR MY BOOKS ARE #1 & #2 ON AMAZON AFTER 1 DAY!” Gorman, a Los Angeles resident, wrote on Twitter.
Gorman’s debut poetry collection ‘The Hill We Climb’ won top spot in the online retail giant’s sale charts, closely followed by her upcoming ‘Change Sings: A Children’s Anthem’.
While poetry’s popularity is on the up, it remains a niche market and the overnight adulation clearly caught Gorman short.
“Thank you so much to everyone for supporting me and my words. As Yeats put it: ‘For words alone are certain good: Sing, then’.”
Gorman, the youngest poet in U.S. history to mark the transition of presidential power, offered a hopeful vision for a deeply divided country in Wednesday’s rendition.
“Being American is more than a pride we inherit. It’s the past we step into and how we repair it,” Gorman said on the steps of the U.S. Capitol two weeks after a mob laid siege and following a year of global protests for racial justice.
“We will not march back to what was. We move to what shall be, a country that is bruised, but whole. Benevolent, but bold. Fierce and free.”
The performance stirred instant acclaim, with praise from across the country and political spectrum, from the Republican-backing Lincoln Project to former President Barack Obama.
“Wasn’t @TheAmandaGorman’s poem just stunning? She’s promised to run for president in 2036 and I for one can’t wait,” tweeted former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
A graduate of Harvard University, Gorman says she overcame a speech impediment in her youth and became the first U.S. National Youth Poet Laureate in 2017.
She has now joined the ranks of august inaugural poets such as Robert Frost and Maya Angelou.
Her social media reach boomed, with her tens of thousands of followers ballooning into a Twitter fan base of a million-plus.
“I have never been prouder to see another young woman rise! Brava Brava, @TheAmandaGorman! Maya Angelou is cheering—and so am I,” tweeted TV host Oprah Winfrey.
Gorman’s books are both due out in September.
Third on Amazon’s best selling list was another picture book linked to politics and projecting hope: ‘Ambitious Girl’ by Vice-President Kamala Harris’ niece, Meena Harris.
(Reporting by Umberto Bacchi @UmbertoBacchi, Editing by Lyndsay Griffiths. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers the lives of people around the world who struggle to live freely or fairly. Visit http://news.trust.org)
Why brands harnessing the power of digital are winning in this evolving business landscape
By Justin Pike, Founder and Chairman, MYPINPAD
Delivery of intuitive, secure, personalised, and frictionless user experiences has long been table stakes in digital commerce, well before the era of COVID-19. As businesses harness the revolutionary power of digital technologies, they have pursued large-scale change to adapt to evolving consumer preferences (some more successfully than others, but that’s a blog for another day). Digital transformation is a term we hear repeatedly, and it looks different for each organisation, but essentially, it’s about utilising technology and data to digitise, automate, innovate and improve processes and the customer experience across the entire business.
As I said, this was already well underway but then came 2020 and no industry escaped the disruption of the coronavirus outbreak, which has had an indelible impact on businesses performance, operations, and revenue. Regardless of whether the impact of COVID has been very positive or very challenging, it has forced organisations globally to re-evaluate and re-orient strategies to adapt.
As lockdowns and pandemic-related restrictions continue to change daily life, this raises the question of how we can balance a dramatic shift to digital and the benefits it brings, while ensuring business continuity and innovation both during and post-COVID, and protecting everyone against fraud?
Digital is an essential survival tool, and even more so in a COVID world
No one could have predicted the dramatic digital pivot that has taken place over this year. Indeed, within weeks of the COVID outbreak cash usage in the UK dropped by around 50%. Digital solutions including delivery applications, contactless payments, mobile commerce, online and mobile banking have become essential components of a touchless customer experience in the era of social distancing. It’s no longer just about an enhanced and superior customer experience, it’s also about health, safety and survival.
In store, businesses have benefited from contactless payments enabling faster throughput and reduced need for consumers to touch payment terminals (therefore requiring greater cleaning, which degrades the hardware much faster). Mastercard reported a 40% increase in contactless payments – including tap-to-pay and mobile pay – during the first quarter of the year as the global pandemic worsened. Digital has also become an essential sales channel for many B2C brands. Where brick and mortar stores have been required to close, digital commerce enables continuity of customer relationships and revenue. This channel also provides brands with rich customer data, which can be used to enhance and personalise the customer experience and typically results in greater levels of engagement and uplifts in revenue.
Industry forecasts estimate that worldwide spending on the technologies and services enabling digital transformation will reach GBP 1.8 trillion in 2023 – a clear indication that the process represents a long-term investment and a global commitment to digital-first strategy. The key point here is that digital brings significant benefits, and regardless of COVID, is here to stay.
The challenges that rapid digital transformation brings to businesses
Regardless of whether businesses are operating in developed or less-developed economies, these times of crisis have levelled the playing field in the sense that all businesses are facing similar issues. Access to products and supplies, maintaining customer relationships, accelerating sales for some and declining sales for others, health and hygiene are just a few of the unique challenges brought about by COVID.
Many businesses in physical environments have had to swiftly implement changes to significantly reduce safety risks for staff and customers, such as contactless payments, mobile ordering and delivery options. But with these changes come a host of other benefits of digitisation, such as faster transactions, and reduced human error at the point-of-sale.
The reliance on technology, however, can also expose organisations and consumers to certain vulnerabilities. In particular, the risks of fraud and cybercrime have dramatically increased since the onset of the pandemic as scammers have taken advantage of digital technologies to target both businesses and individuals.
As a McKinsey report illustrates, new levels of sophistication in the activities of fraudsters have placed more pressure on companies that have been previously slow to go digital, bringing “into sharp relief how vulnerable companies really are”, and damaging the financial health of small and large businesses. In fact, the Bottomline 2020 Business Payments Barometer reveals that only one in 10 small businesses across the UK report recovering more than 50% of losses due to fraud.
But take these stats with a grain of salt. While it is important to be aware of the risks and challenges this new business landscape brings, it’s equally as important to have a lens firmly across your own business, industry and audience, and to identify the changes you can make internally to mitigate risk as well as improve your customer experience. Where can you make some quick wins? Do you have the right skillsets internally to achieve what you need to achieve? What technology is out there that will enable your business goals? There are tech companies like MYPINPAD that are making huge strides in software development, which will transform businesses globally.
A digital world post-COVID
Almost a year in, the line between business success and failure remains fragile. However, an ongoing transition towards greater digitisation will be the difference between survival and the alternative.
There is a wide range of initiatives businesses can implement to weather this storm. If we look at the space MYPINPAD operates within, secure digital consumer authentication is crucial to the ongoing success and security of not only financial products but also identification and verification across a range of different industry verticals. Shifting the authentication of consumers securely onto mobile devices enables businesses to completely reshape their customer experiences. By bringing together a more seamless, frictionless customer experience, accessibility, privacy, security and access to consumer data, businesses are able to drive digital transformation across day-to-day activities.
Against this backdrop, software with stronger security standards continue to play an ever more vital role in supporting society, protecting consumers and businesses from the increase in risks that rapid digitisation brings. Already, merchants can deploy PIN on Mobile technology from companies like MYPINPAD, onto their smart devices to speed up the digitisation process many are now tackling.
Essentially, opening up universal payments and authentication methods that feel familiar, for both online and face-to-face transactions, will be key to opening up a world of possibilities when it comes to redefining how businesses engage with consumers.
Brexit responsible for food supply problems in Northern Ireland, Ireland says
LONDON (Reuters) – Food supply problems in Northern Ireland are due to Brexit because there are now a certain amount of checks on goods going between Britain and Northern Ireland, Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said.
British ministers have sought to play down the disruption of Brexit in recent days.
“The supermarket shelves were full before Christmas and there are some issues now in terms of supply chains and so that’s clearly a Brexit issue,” Coveney told ITV.
The Northern Irish protocol means there are “a certain amount of checks on goods coming from GB into Northern Ireland and that involves some disruption,” he said.
(Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; Editing by Tom Hogue)
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