Note: The Skinny blog is written by Rick Smith, editor and co-founder of Local Tech Wire and business editor of WRAL.com.

CARY, N.C. – Jim Goodnight, chief executive officer and co-founder of , made a lot of headlines earlier this month with his disclosure that SAS sales were up 5 percent so far this year. But in a key respect, fortunes at SAS are even stronger, says Chief Marketing Officer Jim Davis.

“The 5 percent total revenue figure that Jim Goodnight quoted is correct,” Davis told Local Tech Wire and WRAL.com.

“However, it is important to point out that our new sales growth rate is solid double digit – far from the 5 percent that Jim quoted for total revenue,” Davis added.

“The new sales figure is what folks are looking at and comparing to.”

In other words, SAS is expanding its customer base despite an increasingly competitive market place such as in the Business Intelligence space where companies such as IBM have been on acquisition bingers.

Davis met with around two dozen reporters from around the globe on Tuesday as part of SAS’ annual media day. He then headed to Las Vegas for a SAS conference. Earlier in the week, Davis talked with LTW and WRAL.com about the business analytics space.

“The majority of our new sales revenue comes from BA, or Business Analytics,” Davis explained.

“When you talk about analytic applications like Price Optimization in Retail, Credit Risk in Financial Services, Drug Development in Life Sciences, Churn in Telco, Fraud in State and Local Government, etc… these applications are not BI platform apps. So when you look at SAS, you are looking at a company that is doing much more than [Business Intelligence.]”

Increasing sales at SAS is not new – but tradition. SAS has driven up sales every year since the firm’s founding more than 30 years ago.

“Everything picked up in the third quarter,” Goodnight two weeks ago at a business conference. Looking ahead to the fourth quarter, he said that the pipeline is “very strong.”

SAS customers are buying more software and services to fight fraud, anticipate defaults and monitoring of social media sites, Goodnight told the news service.

In January, SAS said revenues increased 2 percent in 2009 despite the global recession to $2.31 billion. That total marked the 34th straight year SAS has increased sales.

At the media briefing, Davis said that business was strong enough that the privately held company continues to add employees. It employees some 4,000 people at the headquarters campus in Cary.

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