CARY – SAS, a global provider of analytics software and service, says a variety of reasons are why the privately held software firm earlier this week disclosed a partnership with the FedEx Institute of Technology at the University of Memphis to help train students in the art of data analysis.


Responding to a series of questions from WRAL TechWire, SAS spokesperson Trent Smith offered insight into what’s happening.
  • First, SAS does not consider the FedEx agreement as the first of many since SAS already works with a number of institutions, such as N.C. State from which SAS co-founder and CEO Jim Goodnight graduated and where he once taught.
“We are not actively exploring additional university-based training centers at this time,” Smith explained.
“We will contine to launch and support degree and certificate-based programs at colleges and universities. Those programs, and our free software for teaching and learning analytics, will support our efforts to increase access to learning SAS and to helping organizations develop the workforce skills they need to compete in the age of big data and analytics.”
  • Second, SAS will receive some revenue from the new partnership.
“The University of Memphis FedEx Institute remits a fee to SAS based on student enrollment in the course,” Smith acknowledged.
The university and SAS noted that students can use aid dollars to help pay for the course.

FedEx Institute

  • Third, SAS is not opening a physical office in Memphis.

“It’s a first-of-its-kind training center for SAS, and it’s the first training center to be located at a universty,” Smith said. “Courses will be hosted in existing University of Memphis facilities.”

SAS instead will utilize already established “virtual” facilities for remote learning.

“SAS’ virtual lab environment has existed for some time and allows learners to remotely connect to SAS software to practice and develop skills,” Smith pointed out.

  • Fourth, no SAS employees will be moving to Memphis but some will be travelling.

“SAS instructors will travel to Memphis to teach the SAS courses,” Smith noted.

  • Fifth, Smith explained the SAS decision reflects a commitment to developing more analytics trained workers for the entire “Mid-South” region and to working with universities such as NCSU to help develop more talent.

NCSU Institute for Advanced Analytics

“NCSU and SAS created the Institute for Advanced Analytics and accompanying masters program. It’s similar to the more than 70 masters programs we support around the world,” Smith explained.
“The FedEx Institute training center is different. It does not end in a degree but provides adult professionals and students the opportunity to learn SAS skills and earn SAS certifications.
“It’s a resource for Mid-South area employers to get their people skilled up on the latest in big data and analytics.
“With this new partnership, FedEx Institute will serve as a SAS public training center in the Mid-South and will play a critical role in building an analytics talent pipeline in the region.”