Missy Hannah

5月 172019
 

As a publishing house inside of SAS, we often hear: “Does anyone want to read books anymore?” Especially technical programmers who are “too busy” to read. About a quarter of American adults (24%) say they haven’t read a book in whole or in part in the past year, whether in print, electronic or audio form. In addition, leisure reading is at an all-time low in the US. However, we know that as literacy expansion throughout the world has grown, it has also helped reduce inequalities across and within countries. Over the years many articles have been published about how books will soon become endangered species, but can we let that happen when we know the important role books play in education?

At SAS, curiosity and life-long learning are part of our culture. All employees are encouraged to grow their skill set and never stop learning! While different people do have different preferred learning styles, statistics show that reading is critical to the development of life-long learners, something we agree with at SAS Press:

  • In a study completed at Yale University, Researchers studied 3,635 people older than 50 and found that those who read books for 30 minutes daily lived an average of 23 months longer than nonreaders or magazine readers. The study stated that the practice of reading books creates a cognitive engagement that improves a host of different things including vocabulary, cognitive skills, and concentration. Reading can also affect empathy, social perception, and emotional intelligence, which all help people stay on the planet longer.
  • Vocabulary is notoriously resistant to aging, and having a vast one, according to researchers from Spain’s University of Santiago de Compostela, can significantly delay the manifestation of mental decline. When a research team at the university analyzed vocabulary test scores of more than 300 volunteers ages 50 and older, they found that participants with the lowest scores were between three and four times more at risk of cognitive decay than participants with the highest scores.
  • One international study of long-term economic trends among nations found that, along with math and science, “reading performance is strongly and significantly related to economic growth.”

Putting life-long learning into practice

Knowing the importance that reading plays, not only in adult life-long learning with books, SAS has been working hard to improve reading proficiency in young learners — which often ties directly to the number of books in the home, the number of times parents read to young learners, and the amount adults around them read themselves.

High-quality Pre-K lays the foundation for third-grade reading proficiency which is critical to future success in a knowledge-driven economy. — Dr. Jim Goodnight

With all the research pointing to why reading is so important to improving your vocabulary and mental fortitude, it seems only telling that learning SAS through our example-driven, in-depth books would prove natural.

So to celebrate #endangeredspecies day and help save what some call an “endangered species,” let’s think about:

  • What SAS books have you promised yourself you would read this year?
  • What SAS books will you read to continue your journey as a life-long learner?
  • What book do you think will get you to the next level of your SAS journey?

Let us know in the comments, what SAS book improved your love of SAS and took you on a life-long learner journey?

For almost thirty years SAS Press has published books by SAS users for SAS users. Want to find out more about SAS Press? For more about our books and some more of our SAS Press fun, subscribe to our newsletter. You’ll get all the latest news and exclusive newsletter discounts. Also, check out all our new SAS books at our online bookstore.

Other Resources:
About SAS: Education Outreach
About SAS: Reading Proficiency
Poor reading skills stymie children and the N.C. economy by Dr. Jim Goodnight

Do books count as endangered species? was published on SAS Users.

5月 142019
 

Interested in making business decisions with big data analytics? Our Wiley SAS Business Series book Profit Driven Business Analytics: A Practitioner’s Guide to Transforming Big Data into Added Value by Bart Baesens, Wouter Verbeke, and Cristian Danilo Bravo Roman has just the information you need to learn how to use SAS to make data and analytics decision-making a part of your core business model!

This book combines the authorial team’s worldwide consulting experience and high-quality research to open up a road map to handling data, optimizing data analytics for specific companies, and continuously evaluating and improving the entire process.

In the following excerpt from their book, the authors describe a value-centric strategy for using analytics to heighten the accuracy of your enterprise decisions:

“'Data is the new oil' is a popular quote pinpointing the increasing value of data and — to our liking — accurately characterizes data as raw material. Data are to be seen as an input or basic resource needing further processing before actually being of use.”

Analytics process model

In our book, we introduce the analytics process model that describes the iterative chain of processing steps involved in turning data into information or decisions, which is quite similar actually to an oil refinery process. Note the subtle but significant difference between the words data and information in the sentence above. Whereas data fundamentally can be defined to be a sequence of zeroes and ones, information essentially is the same but implies in addition a certain utility or value to the end user or recipient.

So, whether data are information depends on whether the data have utility to the recipient. Typically, for raw data to be information, the data first need to be processed, aggregated, summarized, and compared. In summary, data typically need to be analyzed, and insight, understanding, or knowledge should be added for data to become useful.

Applying basic operations on a dataset may already provide useful insight and support the end user or recipient in decision making. These basic operations mainly involve selection and aggregation. Both selection and aggregation may be performed in many ways, leading to a plentitude of indicators or statistics that can be distilled from raw data. Providing insight by customized reporting is exactly what the field of business intelligence (BI) is about.

Business intelligence is an umbrella term that includes the applications, infrastructure and tools, and best practices that enable access to — and analysis of — information to improve and optimize decisions and performance.

This model defines the subsequent steps in the development, implementation, and operation of analytics within an organization.

    Step 1
    As a first step, a thorough definition of the business problem to be addressed is needed. The objective of applying analytics needs to be unambiguously defined. Some examples are: customer segmentation of a mortgage portfolio, retention modeling for a postpaid Telco subscription, or fraud detection for credit cards. Defining the perimeter of the analytical modeling exercise requires a close collaboration between the data scientists and business experts. Both parties need to agree on a set of key concepts; these may include how we define a customer, transaction, churn, or fraud. Whereas this may seem self-evident, it appears to be a crucial success factor to make sure a common understanding of the goal and some key concepts is agreed on by all involved stakeholders.

    Step 2
    Next, all source data that could be of potential interest need to be identified. The golden rule here is: the more data, the better! The analytical model itself will later decide which data are relevant and which are not for the task at hand. All data will then be gathered and consolidated in a staging area which could be, for example, a data warehouse, data mart, or even a simple spreadsheet file. Some basic exploratory data analysis can then be considered using, for instance, OLAP facilities for multidimensional analysis (e.g., roll-up, drill down, slicing and dicing).

    Step 3
    After we move to the analytics step, an analytical model will be estimated on the preprocessed and transformed data. Depending on the business objective and the exact task at hand, a particular analytical technique will be selected and implemented by the data scientist.

    Step 4
    Finally, once the results are obtained, they will be interpreted and evaluated by the business experts. Results may be clusters, rules, patterns, or relations, among others, all of which will be called analytical models resulting from applying analytics. Trivial patterns (e.g., an association rule is found stating that spaghetti and spaghetti sauce are often purchased together) that may be detected by the analytical model is interesting as they help to validate the model. But of course, the key issue is to find the unknown yet interesting and actionable patterns (sometimes also referred to as knowledge diamonds) that can provide new insights into your data that can then be translated into new profit opportunities!

    Step 5
    Once the analytical model has been appropriately validated and approved, it can be put into production as an analytics application (e.g., decision support system, scoring engine). Important considerations here are how to represent the model output in a user-friendly way, how to integrate it with other applications (e.g., marketing campaign management tools, risk engines), and how to make sure the analytical model can be appropriately monitored and back-tested on an ongoing basis.

Book giveaway!

If you are as excited about business analytics as we are and want a copy of Bart Baesens’ book Profit Driven Business Analytics: A Practitioner’s Guide to Transforming Big Data into Added Value, enter to win a free copy in our book giveaway today! The first 5 commenters to correctly answer the question below get a free copy of Baesens book! Winners will be contacted via email.

Here's the question:
What Free SAS Press e-book did Bart Baesens write the foreword too?

We look forward to your answers!

Further resources

Want to prove your business analytics skills to the world? Check out our Statistical Business Analyst Using SAS 9 certification guide by Joni Shreve and Donna Dea Holland! This certification is designed for SAS professionals who use SAS/STAT software to conduct and interpret complex statistical data analysis.

For more information about the certification and certification prep guide, watch this video from co-author Joni Shreve on their SAS Certification Prep Guide: Statistical Business Analysis Using SAS 9.

Big data in business analytics: Talking about the analytics process model was published on SAS Users.

5月 142019
 

Interested in making business decisions with big data analytics? Our Wiley SAS Business Series book Profit Driven Business Analytics: A Practitioner’s Guide to Transforming Big Data into Added Value by Bart Baesens, Wouter Verbeke, and Cristian Danilo Bravo Roman has just the information you need to learn how to use SAS to make data and analytics decision-making a part of your core business model!

This book combines the authorial team’s worldwide consulting experience and high-quality research to open up a road map to handling data, optimizing data analytics for specific companies, and continuously evaluating and improving the entire process.

In the following excerpt from their book, the authors describe a value-centric strategy for using analytics to heighten the accuracy of your enterprise decisions:

“'Data is the new oil' is a popular quote pinpointing the increasing value of data and — to our liking — accurately characterizes data as raw material. Data are to be seen as an input or basic resource needing further processing before actually being of use.”

Analytics process model

In our book, we introduce the analytics process model that describes the iterative chain of processing steps involved in turning data into information or decisions, which is quite similar actually to an oil refinery process. Note the subtle but significant difference between the words data and information in the sentence above. Whereas data fundamentally can be defined to be a sequence of zeroes and ones, information essentially is the same but implies in addition a certain utility or value to the end user or recipient.

So, whether data are information depends on whether the data have utility to the recipient. Typically, for raw data to be information, the data first need to be processed, aggregated, summarized, and compared. In summary, data typically need to be analyzed, and insight, understanding, or knowledge should be added for data to become useful.

Applying basic operations on a dataset may already provide useful insight and support the end user or recipient in decision making. These basic operations mainly involve selection and aggregation. Both selection and aggregation may be performed in many ways, leading to a plentitude of indicators or statistics that can be distilled from raw data. Providing insight by customized reporting is exactly what the field of business intelligence (BI) is about.

Business intelligence is an umbrella term that includes the applications, infrastructure and tools, and best practices that enable access to — and analysis of — information to improve and optimize decisions and performance.

This model defines the subsequent steps in the development, implementation, and operation of analytics within an organization.

    Step 1
    As a first step, a thorough definition of the business problem to be addressed is needed. The objective of applying analytics needs to be unambiguously defined. Some examples are: customer segmentation of a mortgage portfolio, retention modeling for a postpaid Telco subscription, or fraud detection for credit cards. Defining the perimeter of the analytical modeling exercise requires a close collaboration between the data scientists and business experts. Both parties need to agree on a set of key concepts; these may include how we define a customer, transaction, churn, or fraud. Whereas this may seem self-evident, it appears to be a crucial success factor to make sure a common understanding of the goal and some key concepts is agreed on by all involved stakeholders.

    Step 2
    Next, all source data that could be of potential interest need to be identified. The golden rule here is: the more data, the better! The analytical model itself will later decide which data are relevant and which are not for the task at hand. All data will then be gathered and consolidated in a staging area which could be, for example, a data warehouse, data mart, or even a simple spreadsheet file. Some basic exploratory data analysis can then be considered using, for instance, OLAP facilities for multidimensional analysis (e.g., roll-up, drill down, slicing and dicing).

    Step 3
    After we move to the analytics step, an analytical model will be estimated on the preprocessed and transformed data. Depending on the business objective and the exact task at hand, a particular analytical technique will be selected and implemented by the data scientist.

    Step 4
    Finally, once the results are obtained, they will be interpreted and evaluated by the business experts. Results may be clusters, rules, patterns, or relations, among others, all of which will be called analytical models resulting from applying analytics. Trivial patterns (e.g., an association rule is found stating that spaghetti and spaghetti sauce are often purchased together) that may be detected by the analytical model is interesting as they help to validate the model. But of course, the key issue is to find the unknown yet interesting and actionable patterns (sometimes also referred to as knowledge diamonds) that can provide new insights into your data that can then be translated into new profit opportunities!

    Step 5
    Once the analytical model has been appropriately validated and approved, it can be put into production as an analytics application (e.g., decision support system, scoring engine). Important considerations here are how to represent the model output in a user-friendly way, how to integrate it with other applications (e.g., marketing campaign management tools, risk engines), and how to make sure the analytical model can be appropriately monitored and back-tested on an ongoing basis.

Book giveaway!

If you are as excited about business analytics as we are and want a copy of Bart Baesens’ book Profit Driven Business Analytics: A Practitioner’s Guide to Transforming Big Data into Added Value, enter to win a free copy in our book giveaway today! The first 5 commenters to correctly answer the question below get a free copy of Baesens book! Winners will be contacted via email.

Here's the question:
What Free SAS Press e-book did Bart Baesens write the foreword too?

We look forward to your answers!

Further resources

Want to prove your business analytics skills to the world? Check out our Statistical Business Analyst Using SAS 9 certification guide by Joni Shreve and Donna Dea Holland! This certification is designed for SAS professionals who use SAS/STAT software to conduct and interpret complex statistical data analysis.

For more information about the certification and certification prep guide, watch this video from co-author Joni Shreve on their SAS Certification Prep Guide: Statistical Business Analysis Using SAS 9.

Big data in business analytics: Talking about the analytics process model was published on SAS Users.

5月 102019
 

May 12th is #NationalLimerickDay! If you saw our Valentine’s Day poem, you know we at SAS Press love creating poems and fun rhymes, so check out our limericks below!

So, what’s a limerick?

National Limerick Day is observed each year on May 12th and honors the birthday of the famed English artist, illustrator, author and poet Edward Lear (May 12, 1812 – Jan. 29, 1888). Lear’s poetry is most famous for its nonsense or absurdity, and mostly consists of prose and limericks.

His book, “Book of Nonsense,” published in 1846 popularized the limerick poem.

A limerick poem has five lines and is often very short, humorous, and full of nonsense. To create a limerick the first two lines must rhyme with the fifth line, and the third and fourth lines rhyme together. The limerick’s rhythm is officially described as anapestic meter.

To celebrate, we want to ask all lovers of SAS books to enjoy the limericks written by us and to see if you can create your own! Can you top our limericks on our love for SAS Books? Check out our handy how-to limerick links below.

Our limericks

There once was a software named SAS
helping tons of analysts complete tasks.
a Text Analytics book to extract meaning as data flies by
and a Portfolio and Investment Analysis book so you’ll never go awry.
You know our SAS books are first-class!

We enjoyed meeting our awesome users at SAS Global Forum
who enjoy our books with true decorum.
a SAS Administration book on building from the ground up
and a new book about PROC SQL you need to pick-up.
Checkout our SAS books today, you’ll adore ‘em!

For more about SAS Books and some more of our SAS Press fun, subscribe to our newsletter. You’ll get all the latest news and exclusive newsletter discounts. Also check out all our new SAS books at our online bookstore.

Resources:
Wiki-How: How to Write A Limerick
Limerick Generator: Create a Limerick in Seconds

Happy National Limerick Day from SAS Press! was published on SAS Users.

5月 102019
 

May 12th is #NationalLimerickDay! If you saw our Valentine’s Day poem, you know we at SAS Press love creating poems and fun rhymes, so check out our limericks below!

So, what’s a limerick?

National Limerick Day is observed each year on May 12th and honors the birthday of the famed English artist, illustrator, author and poet Edward Lear (May 12, 1812 – Jan. 29, 1888). Lear’s poetry is most famous for its nonsense or absurdity, and mostly consists of prose and limericks.

His book, “Book of Nonsense,” published in 1846 popularized the limerick poem.

A limerick poem has five lines and is often very short, humorous, and full of nonsense. To create a limerick the first two lines must rhyme with the fifth line, and the third and fourth lines rhyme together. The limerick’s rhythm is officially described as anapestic meter.

To celebrate, we want to ask all lovers of SAS books to enjoy the limericks written by us and to see if you can create your own! Can you top our limericks on our love for SAS Books? Check out our handy how-to limerick links below.

Our limericks

There once was a software named SAS
helping tons of analysts complete tasks.
a Text Analytics book to extract meaning as data flies by
and a Portfolio and Investment Analysis book so you’ll never go awry.
You know our SAS books are first-class!

We enjoyed meeting our awesome users at SAS Global Forum
who enjoy our books with true decorum.
a SAS Administration book on building from the ground up
and a new book about PROC SQL you need to pick-up.
Checkout our SAS books today, you’ll adore ‘em!

For more about SAS Books and some more of our SAS Press fun, subscribe to our newsletter. You’ll get all the latest news and exclusive newsletter discounts. Also check out all our new SAS books at our online bookstore.

Resources:
Wiki-How: How to Write A Limerick
Limerick Generator: Create a Limerick in Seconds

Happy National Limerick Day from SAS Press! was published on SAS Users.

4月 052019
 

Recently, you may have heard about the release of the new SAS Analytics Cloud. The platform allows fast access to data-science applications in the cloud! Running on the SAS Cloud and using the latest container technology, Analytics Cloud eliminates the need to install, update, or maintain software or related infrastructure.

SAS Machine Learning on SAS Analytics Cloud is designed for SAS and open source data scientists to gain on-demand programmatic access to SAS Viya. All the algorithms provided by SAS Visual Data Mining and Machine Learning (VDMML), SAS Visual Statistics and SAS Visual Analytics are available through the offering. Developers and data scientists access SAS through a programming interface using either the SAS or Python programming languages.

A free trial for Analytics Cloud is available, and registration is simple. The trial environment allows users to manage and collaborate with others, share data, and create runtime models to analyze their data. The system is pre-loaded with sample data for learning, and allows users to upload their own data. My colleague Joe Furbee explains how to register for the trial and takes you on a tour of the system in his article, Zero to SAS in 60 Seconds- SAS Machine Learning on SAS Analytics Cloud.

Luckily, I had the privilege of being the technical writer for the documentation for SAS Analytics Cloud, and through this met two of my now close friends at SAS.

Alyssa Andrews (pictured left) and Mariah Bragg (pictured right) are both Software Developers at SAS, but worked on the UI for SAS Analytics Cloud. Mariah works in the Research and Development (R&D) division of SAS while Alyssa works in the Information Technology (IT) division. As you can see this project ended up being an interesting mix of SAS teams!

As Mariah told me the history, I learned that SAS Analytics Cloud “was a collaborative project between IT and R&D. The IT team presented the container technology idea to Dr. Goodnight but went to R&D because they wanted this idea run like an R&D project.”

As we prepared for the release of SAS Analytics Cloud to the public, I asked Mariah and Alyssa about their experience working on the UI for SAS Analytics Cloud, and about all the work that they had completed to bring this powerful platform to life!


What is SAS Analytics Cloud for you? How do you believe it will help SAS users?

Alyssa: For me, it is SAS getting to do Software as a Service. So now you can click on our SAS Software and it can magically run without having to add the complexity of shipping a technical support agent to the customers site to install a bunch of complex software.

Mariah: I agree. This will be a great opportunity for SAS to unify and have all our SAS products on cloud.

Alyssa: Now, you can trial and then pay for SAS products on the fly without having to go through any complexities.

What did you do on the project as UI Developers?

Alyssa: I was lent out to the SAS Analytics Cloud team from another team and given a tour-of-duty because I had a background in Django (a high-level Python Web design tool) which is another type of API framework you can build a UI on top of. Then I met Mariah, who came from an Angular background, and we decided to build the project on Angular. So, I would say Mariah was the lead developer and I was learning from her. She did more of the connecting to the API backend and building the store part out, and I did more of the tweaks and the overlays.

What is something you are proud of creating for SAS Analytics Cloud?

Mariah: I’m really proud to be a part of something that uses Angular. I think I was one of the first people to start using Angular at SAS and I am so excited that we have something out there that is using this new technology. I am also really proud of how our team works together, and I’m really proud of how we architectured the application. We went through multiple redesigns, but they were very manageable, and we really built and designed such that we could pull out components and modify parts without much stress.

Alyssa: That we implemented good design practices. It is a lot more work on the front-end, but it helps so much not to have just snowflake code (a term used by developers to describe code that isn’t reusable or extremely unique to where it becomes a problem later on and adds weight to the program) floating. Each piece of code is there for a reason, it’s very modular.

What are your hopes for the future of SAS Analytics Cloud?

Alyssa: I hope that it continues to grow and that we add even more applications to this new container technology, so that SAS can move even more into the cloud arena. I hope it brings success. It is a really cool platform, so I can’t wait to hear about users and their success with it.

Mariah:
I agree with Alyssa. I also hope it is successful so that we keep moving into the Cloud with SAS.

Learning more

As a Developmental Editor with SAS Press, it was a new and engaging experience to get to work with such an innovative technology like SAS Analytics Cloud. I was happy I got to work with such an exciting team and I also look forward to what is next for SAS Analytics Cloud.

And as a SAS Press team member, I hope you check out the new way to trial SAS Machine Learning with SAS Analytics Cloud. And while you are learning SAS, check out some of our great books that can help you get started with SAS Studio, like Ron Cody’s Biostatistics by Example Using SAS® Studio and also explore Geoff Der and Brian Everitt’s Essential Statistics Using SAS® University Edition.

Already experienced but want to know more about how to integrate R and Python into SAS? Check out Kevin D. Smith’s blogs on R and Python with SAS Viya. Also take a moment to investigate our new books on using open source R and Python with SAS Viya: SAS Viya: The R Perspective by Yue Qi, Kevin D. Smith, and XingXing Meng and SAS Viya: The Phyton Perspective by Kevin D. Smith and XingXing Meng.

These great books can set you on the right path to learning SAS before you begin your jump into SAS Analytics Cloud, the new way to experience SAS.

SAS® Analytics Cloud—an interview with the women involved was published on SAS Users.