Washington, D.C. – Cary,North Carolina-based software vendor SAS Institute Inc. is holding itsannual Global Forum this week. The opening keynote was tonight, andhere are a just handful of things seen and heard so far.


1.SASCEO Jim Goodnight said the company had its 33rd year of consecutivegrowth in 2008, and has invested more than five billion dollars inR&D over the last 33 years, and it will continue to spend onR&D. “In today’s economy, many companies are cutting back, but SASis not. In 2009, we are continuing our strong commitment to R&D,”Goodnight said to the audience.


2.There are 3,200 people, 25 per cent of whom hail from outside the U.S., registered for the annual user-run event.


3.JimDavis, senior vice-president and chief marketing officer, said businessintelligence is not what will drive organizations forward in this tougheconomy because it only supports reactive decision making. The answer,he said, is to look to the future with business analytics. “Businessintelligence has had its day,” said Davis.


4.SASCurriculum Pathway, the company’s online curriculum to prepare studentsfor college, is now free to all educators and students across the U.S.“to help parents and teachers better prepare the next generation foremployment and beyond,” said Goodnight.


5.Thisyear’s SAS User Feedback Award winner was Jaroslav Maj from Play, aPoland-based mobile telecommunications company, that deployed severalSAS-based projects including analytical data mart, campaign management,and customer contribution margin.


6.Politicalsatire from comedic group Capitol Steps somewhat missed its mark withanemic skits featuring look-alikes of Barack Obama, Hilary Clinton andKim Jong-il. 


7.SAS’sfirst commercial customer from 1972, State Farm Insurance, was onstage,and credited the successful partnership on SAS being “a goodneighbour”, a humorous nod to its own jingle “Like a good neighbour,State Farm is there!”