Software developer SAS announced Tuesday morning that it is adding 100 jobs and unveiling new products at its world headquarters in Cary with an emphasis on “cloud computing.”

Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Jim Goodnight announced the new jobs to man the company’s new Analytics Lab for state and local government.

Gov. Bev Perdue noted that the jobs were being created without tax incentives.

“This is a company that has consistently made the decisions not to threaten us with leaving North Carolina but to invest in its inner core to make North Carolina stronger,” Perdue said during the press conference.

SAS is opening a 38,000-square-foot computing center focused on “cloud” development and services.

“Cloud” is the hottest buzz word in the high-tech world. By utilizing cloud technology, information technology users can scale network bandwidth, PC and server capacity to demand, rather than invest in new equipment, software and personnel.

The use of virtualization, which enables multiple operating systems to run on the same piece of hardware simultaneously, also improves IT functionality and can produce savings. (Read The Skinny blog here about SAS’ strategy.

“With the lab leading the way, SAS will remain a most valuable partner to state and local government,” Goodnight said.

SAS is also expanding its contract work in North Carolina with a $2 million-a-year deal to help ensure Medicaid recipients qualify for taxpayer coverage. The governor said the potential savings are worth it.

“This program will help us make sure that Medicaid benefits go to the people who are supposed to get them and help us uncover fraud,” Perdue said. “These efforts are part of my core priority of setting government straight, making it work more efficiently for the people of North Carolina.”

Under the agreement, the state Department of Health and Human Services will license SAS Fraud Framework for Government software, which will analyze state Medicaid recipient data for indications of fraud and abuse.

The prospect of new jobs and saving money drew bipartisan support from state lawmakers.

“That’s a good thing for everyone except for the people who prey on government as a cash cow,” said state Rep. Paul Stam, R-Wake.

Despite the tough economy, SAS posted 5 percent sales growth in the first three quarters of 2010, driven in large part by new deals and R&D investments.

The company has also emphasized sales to the public sector, as governments everywhere look to maximize manpower and money amid tight budgets and global economic woes. SAS’ government sector is pitching local bureaucrats on the advantages of running such products as fraud prevention through a cloud that can perhaps save them money in multiple ways.

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