SAS unveils new initiatives for S'pore

The software vendor will focus on the government, financial services and hospitality sectors, to drive uptake of its business intelligence and analytics products.
Written by Vivian Yeo, Contributor

SINGAPORE--Business intelligence (BI) and analytics vendor SAS Institute is looking to bump up its growth in the island-state with several new initiatives, and a heightened focus on key markets such as financial services and the government.

The privately-held company will set up a new solutions center next month for client demonstration and training purposes, said Bill Lee, managing director of SAS Institute Singapore. It currently has an education center for the Asia-Pacific region here, and the country is also home to the company's regional headquarters.

Over the next few months, SAS will strengthen its academic program with local institutions which was initiated last year, he said. The investments are part of a US$75 million commitment to the region, announced in October 2004, spread over three years.

Singapore is the company's fourth biggest market in the region, after Japan, Korea and China, which includes Hong Kong, Lee said. Singapore grew 20 percent last year, he said, and added that the Asia-Pacific region grew 15 percent overall in 2005, contributing to 10 percent of SAS's global revenues. In fact, the region grew faster than the company's business in the Americas and Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), he said.

According to research analyst IDC, the Asia-Pacific business performance management (BPM) analytics and BI software market is expected to grow 10.6 percent this year.

Lee noted: "Singapore is probably leading [in the Asia-Pacific region outside of Australia] in the use of business intelligence, but compared to EMEA and the Americas, we're five years behind."

To boost its revenues, SAS will be looking more closely at the financial services sector, he said. This market segment, he added, has traditionally been the strongest for the company in Singapore, as well as globally.

The government sector is also expected to contribute strongly to SAS's overall growth, said Lee, where user interest is particularly high in deploying the technology for disease-tracking and counter-terrorism activities.

SAS is currently collaborating with the Singapore government on plans to send suitable candidates to Europe to receive training on BI technologies, he said.

The Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB) has also approached the company to set up a research and development facility in the island-state, though no plans have been firmed up yet, Lee said.

In addition, SAS has plans to chase the hospitality dollar, particularly in relation to Singapore's proposed integrated resort project, which will include a casino.

According to Lee, BI is expected to be a big component of the integrated resort's IT infrastructure, and he added that the company's experience in the U.S. gaming industry would be useful here.

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