11月 202020

If you’re like me and the rest of the conference team, you’ve probably attended more virtual events this year than you ever thought possible. You can see the general evolution of virtual events by watching the early ones from April or May and compare them to the recent ones. We at SAS Global Forum are studying the virtual event world, and we’re learning what works and what needs to be tweaked. We’re using that knowledge to plan the best possible virtual SAS Global Forum 2021.

Everything is virtual these days, so what do we mean by virtual?

Planning a good virtual event takes time, and we’re working through the process now. One thing is certain -- we know the importance of providing quality content and an engaging experience for our attendees. We want to provide attendees with the opportunity as always, but virtually, to continue to learn from other SAS users, hear about new and exciting developments from SAS, and connect and network with experts, peers, partners and SAS. Yes, I said network. We realize it won’t be the same as a live event, but we are hopeful we can provide attendees with an incredible experience where you connect, learn and share with others.

Call for content is open

One of the differences between SAS Global Forum and other conferences is that SAS users are front and center, and the soul of the conference. We can’t have an event without user content. And that’s where you come in! The call for content opened November 17 and lasts through December 21, 2020. Selected presenters will be notified in January 2021. Presentations will be different in 2021; they will be 30 minutes in length, including time for Q&A when able. And since everything is virtual, video is a key component to your content submission. We ask for a 3-minute video along with your title and abstract.

The Student Symposium is back

Calling all postsecondary students -- there’s still time to build a team for the Student Symposium. If you are interested in data science and want to showcase your skills, grab a teammate or two and a faculty advisor and put your thinking caps on. Applications are due by December 21, 2020.

Learn more

I encourage you to visit the SAS Global Forum website for up-to-date information, follow #SASGF on social channels and join the SAS communities group to engage with the conference team and other attendees.

Connect, learn and share during virtual SAS Global Forum 2021 was published on SAS Users.

9月 262016

mwsug-2016-logoOver the past 37 years I've had the good fortune to be able to attend and present at hundreds of in-house, local, regional, special-interest and international SAS events. I am a conference junkie. I've not only attended thousands of presentations, Hands-On Workshops, tutorials, breakout sessions, quick tips, posters, breakfasts, luncheons, mixers and more, but have had the privilege of hearing, seeing and networking with thousands of like-minded SAS users and presenters as they share valuable tips, techniques, advice, and suggestions on how to best use the SAS software.

For me, attending, volunteering and participating at SAS conferences and events has not only brought personal satisfaction like nothing else, it has allowed me to grow myself professionally and make many life-long friends. One of my objectives while attending a conference is to identify and learn at least three new things I didn't already know about SAS software. These three new things could consist of "cool" programming tips, unique coding techniques, "best" practice conventions, or countless other SAS-related nuggets.

At the upcoming 2016 MidWest SAS Users Group (MWSUG) Educational Forum and Conference, I'll be presenting several topics near and dear to my heart including "Top Ten SAS Performance Tuning Techniques." This 50-minutes presentation highlights my personal top ten list of performance tuning techniques for SAS users to apply in their programs and applications. If you are unable to attend, here are a couple programming tips and techniques from each performance area to consider.

CPU Techniques

1. Use IF-THEN / ELSE or SELECT-WHEN / OTHERWISE in the DATA step, or a Case expression in PROC SQL to conditionally process data.

2. CPU time and elapsed time can be reduced by using the SASFILE statement to process the same data set multiple times.

I/O Techniques

1. Consider using data compression for large data sets.

2. Build and use indexed data sets to improve access to data subsets.

Data Storage Techniques

1. Use data compression strategies to reduce the amount of storage used to store data sets.

2. Use KEEP= or DROP= data set options to retain desired variables.

Memory Techniques

1. Use memory-resident DATA step constructs like Hash objects to take advantage of available memory and memory speeds.

2. Use the MEMSIZE= system option to control memory usage with the SUMMARY procedure.

Want to learn more SAS tips, techniques and shortcuts like these? Please join me at the MidWest SAS Users Group Conference October 9 – 11 at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio. Register now for three days of great educational opportunities, 100+ presentations, training, workshops, networking and more.

I look forward to meeting and seeing you there!

tags: MWSUG, SAS Programmers, US Regional Conferences

SAS performance tuning - A little bit goes a long way was published on SAS Users.

9月 212016

I started young. Since I was 9 years old, I’ve always loved cooking delicious, tasty and healthy food, and feeding friends and family. My aunt still remembers the delicious chocolate soufflé that trembled and shook but would never collapse that I made for them when I was 18! Word spread. […]

The post Learn not one, not two, but four languages in SAS appeared first on SAS Learning Post.

9月 212016

mwsug-2016-logoI started out as a Psychology major. During my third year as an undergraduate, I was hired on as a research assistant for my advisor in her cognitive psychology lab. Through this and progressively more complicated psychological research experience, I quickly grew to love statistics. By the end of that year, I decided to declare it as a second major. My first introduction to SAS was as a fourth-year undergraduate psychology student - still new to my statistics degree curriculum and working on a large-scale meta-analysis project spanning years of data. I had never programmed before seeing my first SAS procedure. I broke down in tears, terrified at what I had gotten myself into. I toughed it out (with help from my statistics professor), finished my psychology honors thesis with top grades and went on later to use SAS in my statistics thesis for good measure.

About a year later, in 2011, that same statistics professor encouraged us to submit our work for presentation at MWSUG, sweetening the deal with a promise of extra credit if we did. I hopped on that opportunity and submitted both my psychology thesis as well as my statistics thesis that night. A couple of months later, I received an email…they accepted both of my papers and awarded me a FULL student scholarship to attend!

I have come a long way from presenting my first thesis projects (I just arrived home from my 27th conference last weekend). I have learned to love not only SAS, but the statistics behind each procedure. This year, at MWSUG 2016 in Cincinnati, OH. I will be presenting 3 projects. One project will be in ePoster format. As the chair of this section (yes, this is correct. I’ve gone from terrified student to a section chair!), I felt the need to support it with my own research as well. This project is dedicated to the common and very pesky concept of Multicollinearity.

What is Multicollinearity? Why, it is precisely the statistical phenomenon wherin there exists a perfect or exact relationship between the identified predictor variables and the interested outcome variable. Simply put, it is the existence of predictor co-dependence. Coincidently, it is quite easy to detect. You can do so with three very simple to utilize options and one procedure, such as those given in the below example:

/* Examination of the Correlation Matrix */
Proc corr data=temp;
Var hypertension aspirin hicholesterol anginachd smokingstatus obese_BMI exercise _AGE_G sex alcoholbinge; Run;
/* Multicollinearity Investigation: VIF TOL COLLIN */
Proc reg data=temp;
Model stroke = hypertension aspirin hicholesterol anginachd smokingstatus obese_BMI exercise _AGE_G sex alcoholbinge / vif tol collin;    
Run;     Quit;

Through the CORR procedure, we can examine the correlation matrix and manually check for any predictor variables that show high correlation with other variables. In our REG procedure, we can indicate the VIF, TOL, and COLLIN options in the MODEL statement to pull information measuring the variance inflation factor, tolerance, and collinearity.

Would you like to learn more about how to interpret the results produced by these procedures? Would you like to learn ways to control for multicollinearity after it has been detected? Come check out my poster at MWSUG 2016, October 9-11 in Cincinnati! I would love to chat about your multicollinearity issues, interest, or just other curious questions.

tags: MWSUG, papers & presentations, US Regional Conferences

Multicollinearity and MWSUG – a beautiful match was published on SAS Users.

8月 262016

ANY functionWhen I attended my first SAS conference in 2003 I was not only a first-timer, I was a first time presenter.  Needless to say I was a bit nervous.  I did not know what to expect.  Was my topic good enough for these savvy programmers and statisticians?  Well my first time was an experience I will never forget.  I gave my presentation to a relatively full room and I thought it went well enough, but I was shocked when I found out I got best paper in the section.  Ever since then I have been actively involved with SAS conferences, whether presenting or helping as a conference committee member.  After years of presenting and helping, I was asked to be the Academic Chair.  I was beyond thrilled. But I won’t let the position stop me from actually presenting some material that I have found to be very helpful at this year’s Midwest SAS Users Group.

One of the things I do in my job is I look for functions that can help make my job easier.  Once I find these functions, I like to research them and see how I can incorporate them into my programming to make it more efficient.  This year at MWSUG I will share some of my findings via an e-Poster, “When ANY Function will Just NOT Do.”

The e-Poster illustrates the concept of what I like to refer to as the “ANY and NOT Functions.” Some of the functions in this group are ANYALNUM, NOTALNUM, ANYALPHA and NOTALPHA.  Below are some snippets of code that show how some of these functions can be used to determine if there is an alphabetic character, a number or punctuation in the variable.

   /* checks for first instance of ... */
   alnum = anyalnum(value);  /* alpha-numeric */
   nalnum = notalnum(value); /* non-alphanumeric */
   alpha = anyalpha(value);  /* alphabetic */
   nalpha = notalpha(value); /* non-alphabetic */
   digit = anydigit(value);  /* digit */
   ndigit = notdigit(value); /* non-digit */ 
   punct = anypunct(value);  /* punctuation */
   npunct = notpunct(value); /* non-puncuatation */

Want to learn more about these functions?  At MWSUG this year you can see how they can be used along with other common SAS functions to extract numbers from a text string or how to build ISO 8601 dates.

So please join me at the MidWest SAS Users Group Conference October 9 – 11 at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio. Register now for three days of great educational opportunities, 100+ presentations, training, workshops, networking and more.

Hope to see you there!

tags: MWSUG, SAS Programmers, US Regional Conferences

MWSUG preview: When ANY Function will just NOT do! was published on SAS Users.

10月 222015

Chevell Parker (left) with SAS user Ron Fehd at MWSUG2015

To kick off his presentation at MWSUG2015, SAS’ Chevell Parker flashed a picture of an old-school phone booth and asked the audience where he could find the nearest one. Met with several seconds of silence, he smiled. “Don’t all answer at once!” The point of his question was obvious: as technology advances, you need to change to stay relevant. Parker argues that SAS users face a similar challenge. “Reports are critical for businesses,” said Parker. “In today’s business world, the days of traditional, single-listing reports have gone the way of the phone booth.”

Fortunately Parker, a Sr. Principal Technical Support Analyst for SAS, says SAS users are in great position to meet this challenge. “These days you need to deliver and report information in a way that most benefits your customers. SAS’ Output Delivery System has tools that enable you to package, present, and deliver report data in meaningful ways, across the most popular desktop and mobile devices.”

Parker highlighted four in particular:

Customizing reports using cascading style sheets

An industry standard used to define the visual presentation for web pages, Parker said cascading style sheets (CSS) can now be used to define the presentation of Adobe PDF files, Microsoft Excel worksheets, and RTF, and E-books. Parker said it’s easy to modify styles in your reports using the ODS CSS style engine, which incorporates the use of cascading style sheets (CSS) and the ODS document object model (DOM). “It’s an innovative alternative to using PROC TEMPLATE and enables you to generate styles that can be applied globally in your reports.”

Enhancing formatted reports in the body of an email

Report consumers view your reports across a variety of media – one might view reports on a desktop machine while others use a mobile device. “ODS give you the ability to produce formatted reports within an email,” Parker said. He highlighted a number of techniques for presenting highly formatted (SMTP) reports across a variety of email platforms. The main idea of this section centered on including reports in the body of an email message, using the under-utilized EMAIL access method in the SAS FILENAME statement.

Enhancing and rendering reports with the HTML and HTML5 ODS destinations

The third innovation Parker discussed showed how to use the new level 3 CSS to enhance the actions of the ODS HTML5 destination. Parker provided step-by-step instructions on how to add video and audio to a file using the ODS HTML5 destination; how to use the new STREAM procedure in the process of your web development; and how to use the ODS layout feature with the ODS HTML and ODS HTML5 destinations.

Using the new SAS® 9.4 features with the ODS Excel destination in practical applications

Beginning in the first maintenance releases for SAS 9.4, ODS destination generates output in the native 2010 Microsoft Excel format, which is the XML Open Office format. “The Excel destination includes new features such as CSS advanced techniques and the use of two new procedures, ODSTEXT and ODSLIST,” Parker said. “Using Excel destination and these new capabilities, you can now take full advantage of the ODS Report Writing Interface to create highly customized reports in an object-oriented language that is fully integrated with ODS."


Staying relevant in the business world is easy when you have the right tools,” Parker said. “The SAS Output Delivery System has a number of very powerful tools from the capabilities of CSS style engine and the strengths of HTML or HTML5 to the ability to generate powerful reports and outstanding output in email with the new SAS 9.4 ODS destinations. Ladies and gentlemen, it’s a great day to be a SAS user!”

Details on how to implement these strategies can be found in Parker’s Paper: Staying Relevant in a Competitive World: Using the SAS® Output Delivery System to Enhance, Customize, and Render Reports.

View full MWSUG 2015 proceedings.

tags: MWSUG, SAS ODS, SAS Programmers

Using the SAS® Output Delivery System to Enhance, Customize, and Render Reports was published on SAS Users.

10月 202015

HotSkillsSASGood news SAS users; you are a hot commodity. That’s the primary message Kirk Paul Lafler from Software Intelligence Corporation and Charlie Shipp of Consider Consulting Corporation delivered to a room full of users at MWSUG 2015.

Citing figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and a recent CNN Money report, Lafler highlighted the value of SAS knowledge and noted a rising demand for individuals with SAS proficiency. According to the sources, SAS programmers can expect an average salary in excess of $90,000 a year with a projected growth rate that tops 22%.

“When I got out of college I was making what is now less than minimum wage and I was glad to get that offer,” Lafler said. “Now, individuals with analytical skills are getting internships for salaries that make me drool.”

Big data offers even bigger opportunities. With all the buzz around data science and demand for individuals with analytical skills outpacing supply, Lafler said big data is one of the “hot” skills for today’s SAS professionals. But it’s far from the only growth area.

Lafler encouraged SAS users to learn more about SAS Structural Graphics, Hash Objects, ODS, and Metadata. “Learn as much as you can about metadata,” Lafler recommends. “As the world collects more data, metadata is becoming more important. Become familiar with metadata, dictionary tables and SASHELP views.”

If you want to learn SAS, Lafler says the SAS University Edition makes it easy. If your parents or children want to learn more about SAS or what you do, they no longer have an excuse. “Have them download SAS software and start learning. The only restriction, it has to be used for learning only.”

For those looking to advance their existing career, Lafler encourages you to invest in yourself. Becoming certified will differentiate you from other analytical professionals. “Don’t be afraid of SAS’ certification exams. Download University Edition and purchase the Certification Prep Guide. I’m a terrible test taker. If I can do it, anybody can do it. You’ll learn so much by preparing for an exam.”

Lafler said SAS has great resources to help you expand your expertise. His recommendations include:

Lafler also offers a proven, step-by-step roadmap to help you in your pursuit of career excellence. To assist in getting started, Lafler and Shipp offer a self-survey questionnaire to help you assess where you are and the skills needed to achieve your goals.

The process is easy:

Step 1: Identify the skills you currently possess.

Step 2: Rank each skill (e.g., 4=Expert, 3=Proficient, 2=Some Working Knowledge, 1=Heard of it, 0=None).

Step 3: Identify your level of competence (e.g., 3=Cutting Edge, 2=Competitive, 1=Out-of-date, 0=None).

Step 4: Categorize each skill by functional discipline (e.g., programming, design, analysis, teaching, consulting, marketing, etc.)

The resulting matrix will help you determine what skills you’d like to pursue. Armed with this knowledge you can create a plan to improve your skills, and build your expertise.

Despite his glowing report Lafler had some final words of advice that went beyond SAS or the world of analytics. Develop a passion for your chosen field and become dedicated to something greater than oneself. “My father shared this bit of wisdom that I’ll now share with you. Love what you do. When you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.”

View Lafler and Shipp’s complete paper.

tags: MWSUG, papers & presentations, SAS Programmers, SAS resources

Hot skills for SAS professionals was published on SAS Users.

10月 092015

MWSUG15The Midwest SAS Users Group (MWSUG) 2015 conference is almost here and there’s a lot to get excited about. The event takes place October 18-20 in Omaha, NE. If you haven’t already registered, regular registration has been extended through October 13th. The full conference agenda is now available. We hope you take advantage of this excellent opportunity to meet and share ideas with fellow SAS users in your region.

Even if you can’t join us this year in Omaha, you can still learn a lot from the conference. We’ll be posting the proceedings for this year shortly after the conclusion of the event at In the meantime, you can find hundreds of presentations from previous years (2006 to 2014) here as well – simply select the year under the heading “proceedings.”

So without further ado, here are five “can’t miss” events at MWSUG 2015:

Jianqiang Hao’s Keynote Address
Sunday, October 18

MWSUG is thrilled to host Jianqiang Hao, Managing Director of First National Bank. During his keynote, Enabling Financial Success and Education with Analytics, Hao will discuss how analytics and SAS users are essential to the growth of Midwestern businesses He will also talk about the region’s challenges within the field of data analytics.

SAS Super Demos
Monday, October 19 and Tuesday, October 20

Join SAS experts in the Networking and Innovation area for live 30-minute demos throughout the conference. Featured presentations include SAS Enterprise Guide, SAS Visual Analytics, SAS Data Loader and more. Check the schedule for exact times.

Durham Museum Networking Event
Monday, October 19

Enjoy an opportunity to learn about Omaha’s history and network with fellow attendees at the Durham Museum. The evening begins with a casual cocktail hour starting at 5:30pm with dinner at 6pm. Attendees will have access to the permanent galleries until 8:30pm.

Super SAS Bowl Quiz Competition
Monday, October 19

So you think you know SAS? Prove it at MWSUG’s Super SAS Bowl Quiz Competition! The first question is “Who is the mystery host?” You’ll have to attend to find out!

Code Clinic
Tuesday, October 20

Do you have a SAS coding problem that is driving you mad? Code Clinic to the rescue! Bring that stubborn code with you to the Network and Innovation area where seasoned SAS experts can help you out.


Looking forward to seeing you Omaha!

tags: MWSUG, papers & presentations, US Regional Conferences

Don’t “flyover” these MWSUG 2015 events! was published on SAS Users.

8月 062015

Support for SAS Users is everywhere! Starting in September, Regional SAS Users Groups host their annual conferences. Through presentations and hands-on workshops, fall regional conferences expose users to new ideas, best practices and innovative ways to use SAS. Attendees also have the opportunity to attend classes and network with hundreds of SAS experts and peers close to home.

Our lineup of fall regional user group conferences include:

WUSS – Western Users of SAS Software

  • San Diego, CA Sept. 9-11
  • Regular registration ends Monday, Aug. 31
  • The official event hashtag is #WUSS15

The term WUSS is anything but derogatory for our awesome users in the west! This conference features the SAS Essentials Workshop with Susan Slaughter where beginners can learn SAS Basics. Authors of the newest edition of the Exercises and Projects for the Little SAS Book will also be there for a book signing.

SESUG – Southeast SAS Users Group

  • Savannah, GA Sept. 27-29
  • Regular Registration ends Monday, Aug. 31
  • The official event hashtag is #SESUG15

We invite all of our Southeast SAS users to join SESUG in historic Savannah, GA! This event features sessions on academic development, finance, pharma and health care. Have a problem with your SAS code? Visit the Code Doctors at SESUG for the proper remedy!

MWSUG – Midwest SAS Users Group

  • Omaha, NE Oct. 18-20
  • Early Registration ends Friday, Sept. 11
  • Regular Registration ends Friday, Oct. 2
  • The official event hashtag is #MWSUG15

There’s the east coast, there’s the west coast and all of those SAS users in between! MWSUG has already lined up an excellent Keynote speaker; Mihaela Kobjerowski is the Senior Vice President of First National Bank. She’ll be sharing insights on financial success with education and analytics.

SCSUG – South Central SAS Users Group Educational Forum

  • Baton Rouge, LA Friday, Oct. 30
  • Deadline for students and faculty to apply for scholarships is Monday, Sept. 7
  • Early Registration ends Monday, Sept. 21
  • Regular Registration ends Monday, Oct. 19
  • The official event hashtag is #SCSUG15

This one day event is chock full of educational opportunities. Beginner SAS users in Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas should take this one-day opportunity to enhance your programming skills. SAS presentations scheduled include Analyzing Messy and Wide Data on a Desktop with Don McCormack, Connecting SAS Software in New Ways to Build the Next Generation of SAS Users with Amy Peters and Moving SAS Data and Analytics Results in Excel with Vince Delgobbo.

Interested in attending one of the fall conferences or joining a regional users group? Visit RUGS on for more information!


tags: MWSUG, papers & presentations, scsug, SESUG, US Regional Conferences, wuss

SAS Everywhere: Fall Regional Conferences was published on SAS Users.

10月 202014

MWSUG 2014 logo showing Chicago skyline and 25th anniversary bannerThe Chicago weather cooperated for MWSUG 2014 with nice crisp fall temperatures, clear skies and beautiful sunrises over the lake.  Aside from the weather, here are my five favorite memories of MWSUG 2014:

 1. Location-location-location. The location and venue were fabulous! Not only were we along the Chicago River with a beautiful view of Lake Michigan, but we were also close to shopping, restaurants, museums, a large Midwest SAS User Community and the SAS Chicago office. Transportation was easy with the “el” close by too. Great choice for both local users and those who travelled.

2. “Real” classrooms for the Hands-On Workshops. The HOWs were held a block from the conference hotel in the SAS Chicago office. What a treat for the instructors and for the attendees to learn in the beautiful classrooms. I presented a HOW on Enterprise Guide 6.1 and would like to thank MWSUG conference organizers and the Chicago and Cary SAS staff for their help with the setup of the machines and classroom.

3. Learning new tricks. For me, one of the best things about presenting is how much I learn from the audience. Thank you to the audience in my “Quick Hits: My favorite SAS Tricks” presentation – I have some great new ideas for enhancing the presentation before sharing it in Montreal at MONSUG and Quebec City at Club SAS de Quebec at the end of October.

4. I love water. When I lived in Chicago for six years (1988-1994), my favorite pastime was a long bike or walk along the beautiful waterfront. So the Monday evening Cruise (including dinner, music, dancing) was fantastic. The weather was beautiful, the food was great, and watching SAS users relax on the dance floor is always fun. A great chance to reconnect with friends.

5. Technical guidance from SAS. Once my presentations are over, my first stop is always the Innovation and Networking Area. I spent more than an hour getting help from SAS staff experts.  Vince DelGobbo is always so helpful with my list of “how – to” questions around MS Office Add-Ins, Excel Pivot Tables, and ODS. Michelle Buchecker provided some excellent suggestions around extending my knowledge of SAS Marketing Automation and Customer Intelligence solutions.

In a nutshell, I enjoyed the energetic conference – it was well-run with excellent collaboration between the volunteer MWSUG conference organizers and the staff from SAS.  Thank you!

If you would like to view the conference proceedings and see who won the best paper awards, visit the Conference Wrap Up. And save the date for next year’s conference in Omaha, Nebraska from Oct. 15-18.

tags: MWSUG, US Regional Conferences