SAS CEO: "I didn't believe in mobile"

By Danny Palmer
13 May 2014 View Comments

The CEO of SAS has admitted the analytics software firm was "probably a little late" in its deployment of mobile solutions, because he didn't anticipate a reason for building products for BlackBerry-style mobile devices.

That's what Jim Goodnight told the audience during a question and answer session titled "Inspiring an Analytics Revolution" which took place at the SAS Premier Business Leadership 2014 Series conference in central London.

"We were probably a little late getting into the mobile area because I didn't believe in mobile very much when the only screen size was the size of a BlackBerry, which was very, very small," Goodnight said when asked about SAS's mobile strategy.

Further reading

"I could not see any real reason to want to do analytics and bring results back to something the size of a BlackBerry."

However, the SAS CEO said his attitude changed with the rise of smartphones and tablets, which offered more functionality – and a bigger screen size – than previous incarnations of mobile phones, allowing much more to be done.

"Then the iPhone came out, and the iPad came out, and we said wow, now there's enough real estate, we can actually do a lot with this. So we began working in earnest in order to make sure we could run on iOS and everything we do now is targeted to be readable in the browser."

Goodnight explained how this shift now means it's possible to use SAS products on a wide variety of devices, be it traditional PC, tablet or smartphone.

"We've gotten away from worrying about running on PCs, we still run on PCs but we're going to present results in the browser. Everything we're doing now is browser based so if you want to be mobile you can be mobile if you want to use your iPad or Android device," he said.

"That's a catch-up thing we had to do," Goodnight added.

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