The SAS, or Statistical Analysis System, is a collection of software products that is grouped and offered by the SAS Institute. The collection of software that is routinely included in the system allows the end user to perform a wide range of tasks that cover just about every aspect of business administration and function. Essentially, it represents a one-stop shopping approach to getting all the programs needed under one simple umbrella.
The software included in the typical SAS system provides tools for all sorts of projects and daily tasks. Writing reports and creating graphics are easy using the tools provided. Research and project management software aids in creating both operational and marketing strategies. Tools that allow for quick and efficient data entry and retrieval make it possible to gather statistics or other information for reports in no time at all. The system usually includes components that will aid in departmental functions that range from information systems support to human resources management and even customer care protocols.
Underlying the function of the system is the definition of series of commands that allow data to be stored as tables within the system. The data can be retrieved and used by any of the software programs that are included, essentially creating a central repository for data that can be used by anyone with the proper login credentials. Using the protocols associated with the login controls, individual users can be permitted access to certain tables while denied access to others.
The origins of the SAS system can be traced back to 1966 when, originally envisioned by Anthony J. Barr, the concept was based on the use of algebraic formulas to translate raw data into usable forms. Barr continued to refine the process through 1968, and during that year, he began working with James Goodnight to expand the framework. Initially used within the academic community, the idea began to cross over into the business community in the early 1970s. During the same period, other people joined in the collaboration and the enhancement of the system continued. In 1976, the SAS Institute, Inc., was created, making the system widely available. This action was just in time to allow it to be in the forefront of the launch of the first desktop computers used in the business world, and helped to make its business solutions a viable option.