When Jim Goodnight founded SAS Institute Inc. in 1976, the business analytics industry was in its infancy and terms like globalization and social media had yet to be invented.
Today, the Cary, N.C.-based firm has more than 11,000 employees and operates in 100 countries on projects that range from assessing risk for banks to catching tax cheats for governments to planning routes for airlines. As Mr. Goodnight describes it, SAS "uses companies' historical data to work out their futures."
Mr. Goodnight is the majority owner of the privately owned SAS—the company reported revenue of $2.31 billion in 2009, of which 11% came from Asia. This year, he forecasts the company to grow revenues 5% globally, and highlights Asia as the fastest-growing region—he expects revenue in the region to increase 30% from 2009.
Mr. Goodnight talked to Jason Chow in Hong Kong about the risks to growth and the potential in Asia. The following interview has been edited.