sas global forum

242017
 

Editor's note: Amanda Farnsworth is Head of Visual Journalism at BBC News and a featured speaker at SAS Global Forum 2017, April 2-5, 2017 in Orlando.

There was a best selling book some years ago called “Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus.” It’s a phrase I thought about a lot when I first started my current job, not so much in the gender sense, but because it can be really challenging to bring together teams with very different experiences, skillsets and, above all, cultures.

Different strokes

In 2013, I was asked to form a new department – Visual Journalism – bringing together Online Designers, TV Designers and Online Journalists with an aptitude for graphics and visuals as well as Developers who worked with me but not for me. These included people staffing the many Language Services of the BBC World Service. The different teams produced content for the BBC News website, TV 24hr News Channels and Bulletins.

And boy, were they all different!

The digital folk were very creative but in a controlled way.  They worked with a set visual design language and liked to do this as a structured process which involved a lot of user testing focusing on what the audience would understand and how would they behave when faced with some of our visual content.

Meanwhile, those with a TV background liked to work in a much more fluid way – creative workshops and experimentation - with less audience focus, as it was so much harder to get proper audience feedback on the visual elements of a TV report that viewers would get a single chance to see and take in.

And, as everyone who has gone through change knows, it can be a scary and difficult time for many of those involved. I have always found The Transition Curve one of the most useful things I ever learnt in a management course, helping me to identify how different parts of the team might be handling change. I stuck this diagram on a filing cabinet next to my desk when I created the Visual Journalism team.

And there was one other thing: I had a predominantly TV background and I was now being asked to lead a team that was packed full of digital experts. I’d always prided myself on my technical as well as editorial ability, and now I was less technically skilled than most of the people working for me. How was I going to cope with that?

New beginnings

The first thing I did was to offer 30-minute one-on-ones with my staff.  About 60% agreed. I sent them a questionnaire to fill in in advance and asked them these  three questions:

1.    What Single Thing could we do very quickly that would change things for the better?

2.    How can the new Visual Journalism team work better together?

3.    What new tools do you need to do your job?

It proved to be a treasure trove of information with some interesting thoughts and great suggestions – here are a few examples of Q1 answers:

“A single management structure for the whole team. Sometimes different disciplines within the team clash as they are pulled in different directions by the priorities of their respective managers. This wastes time and creates unnecessary tensions.”

“Unfortunately we have a rather corrosive habit of 'rumour control' which is usually of a negative nature, particularly in this time of change and uncertainty. I think 'rumour control' can easily be reduced by providing as much information as possible ( good and bad ) so none is left to be made up!”

“I would like to see a re-evaluation of the planning area. A map that just happens to be going on air tomorrow, Should that be taking up a slot in planning? Maybe planning should be more focussed on projects that are moving us and our journalism forward. “

And from question 2:

“One word: flexibility. The teams need to absorb the concept that we have one goal, the individual outputs need to grasp this to. A respect for the established disciplines is all well and good, but tribalism needs to be left behind.”

So I had a lot of face time with a lot of staff.  They all appreciated the dedicated time, but it also gave me a chance to meet them individually. The questionnaires gave me a written record of all their top concerns which I could refer to in the coming months and use as a justification or guide for change. And I could say after six months that I had done a lot of the things they had asked for along with other things that I felt needed to be done.

In addition, I wanted the teams to meet each other.  So, we held a Speed Dating session. We made two long rows of chairs facing each other and sat TV people on one side and online people on the other.  They had one minute to say what they did and one minute to listen to the person opposite them share the same before I sounded a horn and everyone moved down one chair. It was a bit chaotic and a little hysterical to watch, but proved to be a great way of breaking the ice between the teams.

After a month in which I also immersed myself in the work of the various teams with a series of show and tells and shadowing days, and asked external stakeholders what they wanted from the new department, I drew up my vision.

It’s main message was that we were now a cross-platform team who needed to share ideas, information, skills and assets to create great, innovative content across TV and Digital.

The build phase

Even as we began the process of real change, the outside world suddenly started to move quickly. More and more of our news website traffic started to come from mobile, not desktop devices, and the distinction between what was TV and what was Digital began to blur, with the use of more video and motion graphics online. Social media platforms proliferated and became a key way of reaching an audience that didn’t usually access BBCTV or Digital content. We found ourselves on the cutting edge of where TV meets the web. And we had to make the most of it.

I began a series of internal attachments where online and TV designers learnt each other’s skills. I supplemented that with training so they could learn new software tools and design techniques. The lines between journalists and designers also began to fade, with many editorial people learning motion graphics skills for use on the increasingly important social media platforms.

I also encouraged and stood the cost of people spending a month outside the department learning how other parts of the BBC News machine worked and help spread the word that the new dynamic Visual Journalism department wanted to partner up and do big high impact, cross platform projects.

I revamped our Twitter feed, offered myself and other colleagues for public speaking at conferences and made sure we entered our best work for awards.

Quite quickly this all began to pay dividends. We won a big data journalism prize and we formed some big external partnerships with universities doing interesting research and with official bodies like the Office for National Statistics. We received a big investment for more data journalism from our Global division and from BBC Sport who wanted to do some big data led projects around the World Cup and Olympics.

Social glue was also important. We instituted a now legendary annual pot-luck Christmas lunch where the tables groaned with the amazing food people brought in to share. The Christmas jumpers are always impressive and we hold a raffle and quiz too.

There was, and still is, a major job to do just listening and looking after the staff. I make a point of praising and rewarding great work. We don’t have a great deal of flexibility on pay at the BBC, but rewards like attending international conferences, getting training opportunities and receiving some retail vouchers from the scheme the BBC runs all help.  I also always facilitate flexible working as much as is humanly possible, not just for women returning to work after maternity leave, but for caregivers, people who want to work part-time and most recently for two new dads who are going to take advantage of the paternal leave scheme and be the sole parent at home for six months while their wives return to work.

I also write an end-of-year review and look ahead to the next 12 months that I send to all staff.  It outlines achievements and great content we have made but also the aims, objectives and challenges for the year ahead.

Not all plain sailing

Of course there were and still are some issues. As the Transition Curve shows, not everyone is going to follow you and embrace the change you bring. Team members who have been expert in their fields and are happy doing what they do suddenly find they have to learn new things and can feel de-skilled.  By definition, they cannot be an immediate expert at something new that they are asked to do and that can be difficult.

As roles and responsibilities blurred, we found we had to redefine the production process for online content as people became unsure of their roles.

Meanwhile such was the external reputation of the team, we suffered a brain drain to Apple, Amazon and Adidas.

And for me, as the department grew to over 160 people when I took on responsibility for the Picture Editors who edit the video for news and current affairs reports, I had to accept I was going to be more of an enabler and provider of editorial oversight than a practitioner.  Technology was moving so fast, while I had to know and understand it, actually being able to create content myself was going to be a rare occurrence.

Conclusion

Writing this post has helped me see just how far we’ve come as a department in a few short years. It’s certainly not perfect and the challenges we face are ever–changing.  But we have now won over 25 awards across all platforms and the cross-platform vision is embedded in the teams who really enjoy learning from each other and working on projects together.

And, I have a secret weapon.  I enjoy singing pop songs at my desk everyday and of course Carols at Christmas.

Trying not to encourage me to sing is something literally everyone can unite behind.

Bringing teams together was published on SAS Users.

142017
 

When mentioning to friends that I’m going to Orlando for SAS Global Forum 2107, they asked if I would be taking my kids. Clearly my friends have not attended a SAS Global Forum before as there have been years where I never even left the hotel! My kids would NOT enjoy it… but, […]

The post Learn about SAS Studio, SAS Enterprise Guide and (drumroll) SAS Viya at SAS Global Forum 2017! appeared first on SAS Learning Post.

142017
 

Editor's note: This following post is from Shara Evans, CEO of Market Clarity Pty Ltd. Shara is a featured speaker at SAS Global Forum 2017 and a globally acknowledged Keynote Speaker and widely regarded as one of the world’s Top Female Futurists.

Learn more about Shara.


In the movie Minority Report lead character John Anderton, played by Tom Cruise, has an eye transplant in order to avoid being recognized by ubiquitous iris scanning identification systems.

Such surgical procedures still face some fairly significant challenges, in particular connecting the optic nerve of the transplanted eye to that of the recipient. However the concept of pervasive individual identification systems is now very close to reality and although the surgical solution is already available, it’s seriously drastic!

We’re talking face recognition here.

Many facial recognition systems are built on the concept of “cooperative systems,” where you look directly at the camera from a pre-determined distance and you are well lit, and your photo is compared against a verified image stored in a database. This type of system is used extensively for border control and physical security systems.

Facial recognition

Face in the Crowd Recognition (Crowd walking towards camera in corridor) Source: Imagus

Where it gets really interesting is with “non-cooperative systems,” which aim to recognize faces in a crowd: in non-optimal lighting situations and from a variety of angles. These systems aim to recognize people who could be wearing spectacles, scarves or hats, and who might be on the move. An Australian company, Imagus Technology has designed a system that is capable of doing just that — recognizing faces in a crowd.

To do this, the facial recognition system compiles a statistical model of a face by looking at low-frequency textures such as bone structure. While some systems may use very high-frequency features such as moles on the skin, eyelashes, wrinkles, or crow’s feet at the edges of the eyes — this requires a very high-quality image. Whereas, with people walking past, there’s motion blur, non-optimal camera angles, etcetera, so in this case using low-frequency information gets very good matches.

Biometrics are also gaining rapid acceptance for both convenience and fraud prevention in payment systems. The two most popular biometric markers are fingerprints and facial recognition, and are generally deployed as part of a two-factor authentication system. For example, MasterCard’s “Selfie Pay” app was launched in Europe in late 2016, and is now being rolled out to other global locations. This application was designed to speed-up and secure online purchases.

Facial recognition is particularly interesting, because while not every mobile phone in the world will be equipped with a fingerprint reader, virtually every device has a camera on it. We’re all suffering from password overload, and biometrics - if properly secured, and rolled out as part of a multi-factor authentication process - can provide a solution to coming up with, and remembering, complex passwords for the many apps and websites that we frequent.

Its not just about recognizing individuals

Facial recognition systems are also being used for marketing and demographics. In a store, for example, you might want to count the number of people looking at your billboard or your display. You'd like to see a breakdown of how many males and females there are, age demographics, time spent in front of the ad, and other relevant parameters.

Can you imagine a digital advertising sign equipped with facial recognition? In Australia, Digital Out-of-Home (DOOH) devices are already being used to choose the right time to display a client’s advertising. To minimize wastage in ad spend, ads are displayed only to a relevant audience demographic; for instance, playing an ad for a family pie only when it sees a mum approaching.

What if you could go beyond recognizing demographics to analyzing people’s emotions? Advances in artificial intelligence are turning this science fiction concept into reality. Robots such as “Pepper” are equipped with specialized emotion recognition software that allows it to adapt to human emotions. Again, in an advertising context, this could prove to be marketing gold.

Privacy Considerations

Of course new technologies is always a double-edged sword, and biometrics and advanced emotion detection certainly fall into this category.

For example, customers typically register for a biometric payment system in order to realize a benefit such as faster or more secure e-commerce checkouts or being fast-tracked through security checks at airports. However, the enterprise collecting and using this data must in turn satisfy the customer that their biometric reference data will be kept and managed securely, and used only for the stated purpose.

The advent of advanced facial recognition technologies provides new mechanisms for retailers and enterprises to identify customers, for example from CCTV cameras as they enter shops or as they view public advertising displays. It is when these activities are performed without the individual’s knowledge or consent that concerns arise.

Perhaps most worrisome is that emotion recognition technology would be impossible to control. For example, anyone would be able to take footage of world leaders fronting the press in apparent agreement after the outcome of major negotiations and perhaps reveal their real emotions!

From a truth perspective, maybe this would be a good thing.

But, imagine that you’re involved in intense business negotiations. In the not too distant future advanced augmented reality glasses or contacts could be used to record and analyze the emotions of everyone in the room in real time. Or, maybe you’re having a heart-to-heart talk with a family member or friend. Is there such a thing as too much information?

Most of the technology for widespread exploitation of face recognition is already in place: pervasive security cameras connected over broadband networks to vast resources of cloud computing power. The only piece missing is the software. Once that becomes reliable and readily available, hiding in plain sight will no longer be an option.

Find out more at the SAS Global User Forum

This is a preview of some of the concepts that Shara will explore in her speech on “Emerging Technologies: New Data Sets to Interpret and Monetize” at the SAS Global User Forum:

  • Emerging technologies such as advanced wearables, augmented and virtual reality, and biometrics — all of which will generate massive amounts of data.
  • Smart Cities — Bringing infrastructure to life with sensors, IoT connections and robots
  • Self Driving Cars + Cars of the Future — Exploring the latest in automotive technologies, robot vision, vehicle sensors, V2V comms + more
  • The Drone Revolution — looking at both the incredible benefits and challenges we face as drones take to the skies with high definition cameras and sensors.
  • The Next Wave of Big Data — How AI will transform information silos, perform advanced voice recognition, facial recognition and emotion detection
  • A Look Into the Future — How the convergence of biotech, ICT, nanotechnologies and augmentation of our bodies may change what it means to be human.

Join Shara for a ride into the future where humans are increasingly integrated with the ‘net!

About Shara Evans

Technology Futurist Shara Evans is a globally acknowledged Keynote Speaker and widely regarded as one of the world’s Top Female Futurists. Highly sought after and in demand by conference producers and media, Shara provides the latest insights and thought provoking ideas on a broad spectrum of issues. Shara can be reached via her website: www.sharaevans.com

(Note: My new website will be launching in a few weeks. In the meantime, the URL automatically redirects to my company website – www.marketclarity.com.au )

tags: analytics, SAS Global Forum

Facial recognition: Monetizing faces in the crowd was published on SAS Users.

032017
 

I will begin with a short story.

SAS Global Forum, Content is KingLike many employers, McDougall Scientific, my employer, requires its employees to review, with their co-workers and managers, what they learned at a conference or course. They are also asked to suggest applications of their learnings so that McDougall might realize value from the expense, both in time and money, of sending them to continuing education events.

Fei Wang, my co-worker, and I attended SAS Global Forum last year in Vegas. During her presentation to co-workers upon our return, Fei not only provided a comprehensive overview of the conference format, sessions, and learning opportunities, but she also chose one presentation to highlight that will fundamentally improve one of our business processes.

Although Fei attended many sessions and learned much, session 8480-2016, with thanks to Steven Black, will save McDougall enough time and money to dwarf the expenditure of sending Fei to SAS Global Forum.

“But John,” you might ask, “why not simply search the proceedings after the conference?” Well, because we would never think to search for CRF annotation automation. Innovation of this sort is more easily found by attending the conference. Discovering valuable nuggets like Steven’s idea is a common occurrence at SAS Global Forum.

The value that employers realize from SAS Global Forum is the reason “content is king,” a cliché first introduced by the magazine publishing industry in the mid-1970s.

Our speakers represent every region of the world!

Though there are a number of really great benefits from attending the conference, great content continues to reign supreme at SAS Global Forum.  This year’s conference is no different. The 2017 Content Advisory Team has assembled a stellar lineup of well over 600 sessions; invited speakers, contributed papers, hands-on workshops, tutorials and posters. And, I am very proud to report that 25 countries are contributing speakers this year, with every region of the world represented: North, Central, and South Africa, Europe, Australia, the Middle East, Asia and the Americas. This sort of global diversity brings new ideas and new ways of looking at and solving problems that really grows your knowledge and helps move your organization forward.

In addition to all of this great technical content, we have made special effort to organize sessions that help SAS Users better present their work. As Melissa Marshall famously claims, “Science not communicated is science not done.” Therefore, in keeping with the SAS Global Users Group’s mission to champion the needs of SAS users around the globe, here is a sampling of sessions that will help you better communicate.

The list starts with Melissa herself!

Present Your Science: Transforming Technical Talks
Session T108, Melissa Marshall, Principal, Melissa Marshall Consulting LLC

This versatile half-day workshop covers the full gamut: content strategy, slide design, and presentation delivery. With a dynamic combination of lecture, discussion, video analysis, and exercises, this workshop will truly transform how technical professionals present their work and will help foster a culture of improved communications throughout the SAS community.
Read More

How the British Broadcasting Corporation Uses Data to Tell Stories in a Visually Compelling Way
Session 0824, Amanda J Farnsworth, Head of Visual Journalism, BBC News

… data is often seen as a dry, detached, unemotional thing that's hard to understand and for many, easy to ignore. At the BBC, employees have been thinking hard about how to use data to tell stories in a visually compelling way that connects with audiences and makes them more curious about the world that we live in. And, there is an ever-increasing amount of data with which to tell those stories. Governments are publishing more big data sets about health, education, crime, and social makeup. Academics are generating huge amounts of data as a consequence of research. Businesses and other organizations conduct their own research and polling. The BBC’s aim is to take that data and make it relevant at a personal level, answering the audiences' number one question: what does this mean for me?
Read More

Convince Me: Constructing Persuasive Presentations
Session 0862, Frank Carillo, CEO and Anne Coffey, Senior Director, E.C.G. Inc.

Data outputs do not a persuasive argument make. Effective persuasion requires a combination of logic and emotion supported by facts. Statisticians dedicate their lives to analyzing data such that it is appropriate supporting evidence. While the appropriate evidence is essential to convince your listeners, you first have to be able to gain and maintain their attention and trust. Persuasive presentations fight for hearts and minds, and are not a dry, unbiased recitation of facts or analyses. This session is designed to provide suggestions for how to utilize successful structures and create emotional connections.
Read More

Data Visualization Best Practices: Practical Storytelling Using SAS®
Session T117, Greg S Nelson, CEO, Thotwave Technologies LLC.

Data means little without our ability to visually convey it. Whether building a business case to open a new office, acquiring customers, presenting research findings, forecasting or comparing the relative effectiveness of a program, we are crafting a story that is defined by the graphics that we use to tell it. Using practical, real-world examples, students will learn how to critically think about visualizations.
Read More

Presentations as Listeners Like Them: How to Tailor for an Audience
Session 0408, Frank Carillo, CEO and Anne Coffey, Senior Director, E.C.G. Inc.

Data doesn't speak for itself. We speak for it, and how we do that influences how people view and interpret that data. One of the most overlooked aspects of presenting data is analyzing the audience. At no point in history have speakers had to face such heterogeneous audiences as they do today: there might be many as five different generations in the room, cross-functional teams have broad areas of expertise, and international companies integrate different cultures and customs. This session is designed to teach attendees how to analyze not the data, but the listeners. Who is your audience? What is important to them? What is your message …?
Read More

tags: papers & presentations, SAS Global Forum

At SAS Global Forum, Content is King was published on SAS Users.

232017
 

We are a few months away from SAS Global Forum in Orlando. You might think that the conference kicks off Sunday night at opening session, but there are plenty of weekend activities before then and I’d like to highlight one of them: SAS certification exam sessions. Isn’t now a great […]

The post Kick off your SAS Global Forum journey with a SAS Certification appeared first on SAS Learning Post.

232017
 

We are a few months away from SAS Global Forum in Orlando. You might think that the conference kicks off Sunday night at opening session, but there are plenty of weekend activities before then and I’d like to highlight one of them: SAS certification exam sessions. Isn’t now a great […]

The post Kick off your SAS Global Forum journey with a SAS Certification appeared first on SAS Learning Post.

172017
 

Editor's note: Charyn Faenza co-authored this blog. Learn more about Charyn.

As the fun of the festive season ends, the buzz of the new year and the enchantment of SAS Global Forum 2017 begins. SAS Global Forum is a conference designed by SAS users, for SAS users, bringing together SAS professionals from all over the world to learn, collaborate and network in person. Sure, online communication is great, but it’s hard to beat the thrill of meeting fellow SAS users face-to-face for the first time. It feels like magic! To help you prepare for the event, Charyn and I wanted to share a few things including information on metadata security. Read on for more.

Start your SAS Global Forum journey now!

SUGAWant to stay up to date with SAS Global Forum activities, and get a head start on your conference networking? Join the SAS Global Forum 2017 online community. Here you can post questions, share ideas, and connect with others before the event. While you are at it, the SAS User Group for Administrators (SUGA) community also feels magical for me.  As part of the committee, we regularly get together (virtually!) to discuss and plan exciting events on behalf of SAS administrators around the world.  Join the SUGA community and watch for upcoming events, including a live meet-up at SAS Global Forum! That event is scheduled for Monday, April 3, from 6:30-8:00 p.m.

Security auditing

During his workshop at SAS Global Forum 2014, Gregory Nelson pointed out that the SAS administrator role has evolved over the years, and so has one of their key responsibilities: security auditing. Once you’ve set up an initial security plan, how do you ensure that the environment remains secure? Can you just “set it and forget it?” Probably not. Especially if you want to ensure regulatory compliance, to maintain business confidence and keep your SAS platform in line with its design specifications as your business grows and your SAS environment evolves.

Thinking about your own SAS platform:

  • What would happen in your organization if someone accessed data they shouldn’t?
  • When was your last SAS platform security project?
  • When was it last tested? How extensive was it? How long did it take?
  • Have there been any changes since it was last tested? Whether they are deliberate, accidental, expected or unexpected.
  • How do you know if it’s still secure today?

Presenting at SAS Global Forum

If security is important to you and your organization, please join us at this year’s magical SAS Global Forum, as I co-present with Charyn Faenza on SAS® Metadata Security 301: Auditing Your SAS Environment. Hold your horses… “301?,” Did I hear that right? “What about 101 and 201?" Glad your curious mind asked... At the last two SAS GLOBAL FORUM events, Charyn has presented SAS Metadata Security 101 and 201 papers that step through the fundamentals on authentication and authorization. Check them out at:

Our upcoming 301 paper will focus on auditing to complete the three ‘A’s (Authentication, Authorization and Auditing), including how you can use Metacoda software to regularly review your environment, so you can protect your resources, comply with security auditing requirements, and quickly and easily answer the question "Who has access to what?"

Here are the details for our paper:
Session Title: 786 -  SAS Metadata Security 301: Auditing your SAS Environment
Type: Breakout
Date: Tuesday, April 4
Time: 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Location: Dolphin, Dolphin Level III - Asia 4

Our security journey

sas-security-journey

Whether you’re a new SAS administrator or an experienced one, you’ll know that security is a journey rather than a destination.

To help make sure you’re on the right path, check out the SUGA virtual events, SAS administrator tagged blog posts, Twitter #sasadmin and platformadmin.com.

sas-security-journey02If you’d like to chat more about SAS security auditing, please comment below, join our chat in the SAS Global Forum community, or connect with us on Twitter at @HomesAtMetacoda, @CharynFaenza.

Looking forward to seeing you in April at SAS Global Forum 2017 in the enchanting and magical Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort, Orlando, Florida!


About Charyn Faenza

charynMs. Faenza is Vice President and Manager of Corporate Business Intelligence Systems for First National Bank, the largest subsidiary of F.N.B. Corporation (NYSE: FNB). An accountant by training, she is passionate about not only understanding the technology, but the underlying business utility of the systems her team supports. In her role she is responsible for the architecture and development of F.N.B.’s corporate profitability, stress testing, and analytics platforms and oversees the data collection and governance functions to ensure high data quality, proper data storage and transfer, risk management and data compliance.

Throughout her tenure at F.N.B. her experience in data integration and governance has been leveraged in several cross functional projects where she has been engaged as a strategic consultant regarding the design of systems and processes in the Finance, Treasury and Credit areas of the Bank.

Ms. Faenza earned her bachelor’s degree in Accounting from Youngstown State University where she is currently serving on the Business Advisory Board of the Youngstown State University Laricccia School of Accounting and Finance.

tags: papers & presentations, SAS Administrators, SAS Global Forum, SAS User Group for Administrators

Take a SAS security journey at SAS Global Forum 2017 was published on SAS Users.

092017
 

Calling all students and faculty! Did you know that you can apply for a scholarship to attend SAS Global Forum? Twenty student scholarships and ten faculty scholarships are available for those who want to attend SAS Global Forum 2017. The deadline to apply for a scholarship is January 13, so […]

The post Scholarship opportunities at SAS Global Forum 2017 – There’s still time to apply! appeared first on SAS Analytics U Blog.

062017
 

Regardless of how long they’ve used the software, there’s no better event for SAS professionals then SAS Global Forum. The event will attract thousands of users from across the globe and is an excellent place to network with and learn from users of all skill levels. To help those relatively new users of SAS experience the conference for the first time, the conference offers the Junior Professional Award program.

The program is designed exclusively for full-time SAS professionals who have used SAS on the job for three years or less, have never attended SAS Global Forum, and whose circumstances would otherwise keep them from attending. But, don’t let the word “junior” confuse you. All “new” SAS professionals regardless of age are eligible.

The Junior Professional award provides user with a waived conference registration fee, including conference meals, a free pre-conference tutorial, and great opportunities to learn from and network in a large community of SAS users. The program does not cover other costs associated with attending the event (travel and lodging are not included for example).

To apply, users need to submit fill out the online application form. Award applications must be received by January 16, 2017. Questions can be directed to the Junior Professional Program Coordinator, whose contact information can be found on the website.

To learn more about the award and its benefits, I recently sat down with one of the 2015 winners, Shavonne Standifer.


junior-professional-program

Shavonne Standifer, 2015 SAS Global Forum Junior Professional Award winner

Larry LaRusso: Hello Shavonne. First of all, let me congratulate you on winning a past award. That’s a great accomplishment, for sure. So tell me, how did you first learn about the program?
Shavonne Standifer: Interestingly, I wasn’t looking specifically for the award and didn’t even really know it existed. I was searching for a SAS proceeding paper and somehow stumbled across the application. I just applied, and got it!

LL:  That’s awesome. What made you want to attend SAS Global Forum?
SS: I knew a little bit about the event and really wanted to attend so that I could take advantage of the hands-on learning opportunities. I also thought it would be super cool if I could attend the lectures of my favorite SAS authors, and I knew many of them planned to present.

LL: What were your first impressions of the event?
SS: I was amazed by how many people were there. I was also amazed by how nice and helpful everyone was. I met so many new friends.

LL: What was the best part of your Global Forum experience?
SS: The best part of my experience by far was when I met John Amrhein. We met during a networking event in the Quad. After subjecting him to a 2-minute rant about how much I loved SAS software, and all of the reasons why, he finally had a minute to introduce himself and mentioned that he was the 2017 global forum conference chair. I was completely shocked! To my complete surprise, he encouraged me to be a part of his team, to which I later applied and was accepted.

LL: What are doing now? Are you using SAS?
SS: I currently use SAS software to provide data and statistical analysis that support the strategic business objectives of my organization. I am also a member of the conference planning team where I assist with the selection and delivery of Global Forum papers and volunteer coordination. Having the opportunity to be a part of this team has helped to increase my knowledge of SAS technologies and business trends. It’s been an incredible experience.

LL: How were you able to apply the knowledge you gained from the experience to what you’re doing now?
SS: Most definitely. I’ve used the learning from a tutorial Art Carpenter presented on Innovative SAS Techniques to help me utilize SAS more efficiently for data cleaning, scrubbing, and reshaping big datasets. The knowledge I gained has really helped improve project turnaround and provide more meaningful insights.

LL: Are you planning to attend SAS Global Forum again?
SS: Absolutely! In fact, I have returned every year since winning that award and plan to for many years to come. It’s just a great place to learn from and network with fellow SAS users.

LL: Any other comments you’d like to share about the award?
SS: I would encourage anyone who is eligible to consider applying for the award. I remember sitting in front of my laptop, hopeful, but thinking that I had a 1 in a million chance of being selected for the award. I decided to give it a try and it has changed my life! So much awesomeness has occurred in both my professional and personal life as a direct result of receiving the award. Professionally, the advice and mentorship from expert SAS users has helped me mature my SAS programming talents. Personally, the fellow JPP awardees that I’ve met along the way has provided an extended community of users whom I can call or email to ask advice. We keep in contact and support one another as needed, these relationships are invaluable. If you are eligible, Apply! It’s a great opportunity!

LL: Thanks Shavonne. Sounds like it was an awesome experience and I really enjoyed our time together.

tags: Junior Professional Program, SAS Global Forum

Junior Professional Program helps new users attend SAS Global Forum 2017 was published on SAS Users.

十二 222016
 

melissa_marshallEditor's note: This following post is from Melissa Marshall, Principal at Melissa Marshall Consulting LLC. Melissa is a featured speaker at SAS Global Forum 2017, and on a mission to transform how scientists and technical professionals present their work.  

Learn more about Melissa.


Think back to the last technical talk you were an audience member for. What did you think about that talk? Was it engaging and interesting? Boring and overwhelming?  Perhaps it was a topic that was important to you, but it was presented in a way that made it difficult to engage with the content. As an expert in scientific presentations, I often observe a significant “disconnect” between the way a speaker crafts a presentation and the needs of the audience. It is my belief that the way to bridge this gap is for you, as a technical presenter, to become an audience centered speaker vs. a speaker centered speaker.

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Here I will provide some quick tips on how to transform your content and slides using your new audience centered speaking approach!

Audience Centered vs. Speaker Centered

The default setting for most presenters is that they are speaker centered—meaning that they make choices in their presentation because it is what works primarily for themselves as a speaker. Examples include: spending a lot of time speaking about an area of the topic that gave you the most difficulty or that you spent the most amount of time working on or using terms that are familiar to you but are jargon for the audience, putting most of the words you want to say on your slides to remind you what to say during the talk so your slides are basically your speaker notes, and standing behind a podium and disconnecting yourself physically from your audience. These choices are common in presentations, but they do not set you up for success. It is a key reason why many presentations of technical information fail.

A critical insight is to realize that your success as a speaker depends entirely upon your ability to make your audience successful.  You don’t get to decide that you gave a great talk (even if no one understood it)!  That’s because presentations, by their very nature, are always made for an audience.  You need something from your audience—that is why you are giving a talk!  So, it is time to get serious about making your audience successful (so you can be too!).  I might define “audience success” as: your audience understands and views your subject in the way you wanted them to.  Strategically, if you desire to be a successful speaker, then the best thing you do is go “all in” on making your audience successful!

Audience Centered Content

To make your content more audience centered, you can ask yourself 4 critical questions ahead of time about your audience:

  • Who are they?
  • What do they know?
  • Why are they here?
  • What biases do they have?

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The answers to these questions will guide how you begin to focus your content. Additionally, as a presenter of technical information, one of the most important questions you need to answer along the way, at many stages in your presentation, is “So what?”.  Too often presenters share complex technical information or findings, but they do not make the direct connection to the audience of how that information is relevant or important to the big picture or overall message.  Remind yourself each time you share a technical finding to also follow up that information with the answer to the question “So what?”.  This will make your content immediately more engaging and relevant to your audience.

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Audience Centered Slide Design

Think about the last several presentations that you sat through as an audience member.  How would you describe the slides?  Text heavy? Cluttered? No clear message? Full of bulleted lists?  Audiences consistently complain of “Death by PowerPoint”, which refers to the endless march of speakers through text filled slide after text filled slide.  The reason this is so detrimental to audiences is that our brains have a limited “bandwidth” for verbal information.  When we reach that limit, it’s called cognitive overload and our brains stop processing the information as effectively and efficiently.  When you have a speaker talking (the speaker’s words are verbal information) and then you have slides to read with lots of words on them (also more verbal information), you are at a high risk of cognitive overload for the audience.  Therefore, many audiences “tune out” during presentations or report feeling exhausted after a day of listening to presentations.  This is a result of cognitive overload.  A more effective way to approach slides for your audience is to think about making your slides do something for you that your words cannot. You are giving a talk, so the words part is mostly covered by what you are saying…it is much more powerful to make your slides primarily visual so that they convey information in a more memorable, engaging, and understandable way. This is known in the field of cognitive research as the Picture Superiority Effect.  John Medina’s excellent book Brain Rules states that “Based on research into the Picture Superiority Effect, when we read text alone, we are likely to remember only 10 percent of the information 3 days later. If that information is presented to us as text combined with a relevant image, we are likely to remember 65 percent of the information 3 days later.” 

A great a slide design strategy that I advocate for is called the assertion-evidence design.  This slide design strategy is based in research (including Medina’s mentioned above) and works beautifully for presentations of technical information. The assertion-evidence slide design is characterized by a concise, complete sentence headline (no longer than 2 lines) that states the main assertion (i.e. what you want the audience to know) of the slide. The body of the slide then consists of visual evidence for that take away message (charts, graphs, images, equations, etc.). Here is an example of a traditional slide transformed to an assertion-evidence slide:

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Having trouble banishing bullet lists? One of my favorite quick (and free!) tools for getting yourself past bulleted lists is Nancy Duarte’s Diagrammer tool.  I like this tool because it asks you what is the relationship between the information that you are trying to show and creates a graphic to show that relationship.  Remember: the best presentations use a variety of visual evidence!  Charts, graphs, pictures, videos, diagrams, etc.  Give your audience lots of visual ways to connect with your content!

Final Thoughts

Next time you present, I encourage you to let every decision you make along the way be guided first by the needs of your audience.  Remember, the success of your audience in understanding your work is how your success as a speaker is measured! For more tips on technical talks, check out my TED Talk entitled “Talk Nerdy To Me.” For questions, comments, or to book a technical presentations workshop at your company or institution, please contact me at melissa@presentyourscience.com.

About Melissa Marshall

melissa_marshallMelissa Marshall is on a mission: to transform how scientists and technical professionals present their work. That’s because she believes that even the best science is destined to remain undiscovered unless it’s presented in a clear and compelling way that sparks innovation and drives adoption.

For almost a decade, she’s traveled around the world to work with Fortune 100 corporations, institutions and universities, teaching the proven strategies she’s mastered through her consulting work and during her 10 years as a faculty member at Penn State University.

When you work with Melissa, you will get the practical skills and the natural confidence you need to immediately shift your “information dump”-style presentations into ones that are meaningful, engaging, and inspire people to take action. And the benefits go far beyond any single presentation; working with Melissa, your entire organization will develop a culture of successful communication, one that will help you launch products and ideas more effectively than ever before.

Melissa is also a dynamic speaker who has lectured at Harvard Medical School, the New York Academy of Sciences, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). For a sneak peek, check out her TED talk, “Talk Nerdy to Me.” It’s been watched by over 1.5 million people (and counting).

Visit Melissa and learn more at www.PresentYourScience.com.

Melissa can be reached at melissa@presentyourscience.com.

tags: papers & presentations, SAS Global Forum

Transform your technical talks with an audience centered approach was published on SAS Users.