sas global forum

8月 202014

In a comment on last week’s blog asking SAS administrators: please submit your paper idea for SAS Global Forum 2015, Andrew Howell of ANJ Solutions asked if I had any statistics on which were the most popular SAS administrator papers for last year’s conference. He suggested the following nominations although he was “only able to attend about half of these presentations—there was just so much to see!” 

I don’t have any readily available statistics on downloads for these papers, and, like Andrew, I wasn’t able to attend all of the excellent SAS Administrators sessions at SAS Global Forum 2014. But based on my own observations and feedback from others who were able to attend, here’s my very subjective ranking of Andrew’s list!

  1. Effective Usage of SAS Enterprise Guide in a SAS 9.4 Grid Manager Environment, Edoardo Riva, SAS
  2. SAS Grid – What They Didn’t Tell You, Manuel Nitschinger, sIT Solutions and Phillip Manschek, SAS
  3. Best Practices for Implementing High Availability for SAS 9.4, Cheryl Doninger, Zhiyong Li and Brian Wolfe, SAS
  4. SAS Installations: So You Want To Install SAS?, Rafi Sheikh, Analytics International
  5. Top 10 Resources Every SAS Administrator Should Know About, Margaret Crevar and Tony Brown, SAS
  6. SAS Grid Manager I/O: Optimizing SAS Application Data Availability for the Grid, Gregg Rohaly and Harry Seifert, IBM
  7. Test for Success: Automated Testing of SAS Metadata Security Implementations, Paul Homes, Metacoda
  8. Integrating Your Corporate Scheduler with Platform Suite for SAS® or SAS® Grid Manager, Paul Northrop, SAS Australia

Last year’s conference was a great opportunity for “seeing SAS Administrators in their natural habitat”.  Many of these sessions were standing room only.  Please submit your paper idea and let’s plan for another great year for administrators!

tags: papers & presentations, SAS Administrators, SAS Global Forum
8月 132014

The SAS Global Forum 2015 Call for Papers opened the end of last month!  I cannot believe it is time to start getting ready for the conference that will be in Dallas, TX on April 26-29, 2015.

As part of the group from SAS who goes to the conference each year to help the attendees with their administration questions, I would like to issue a personal invitation to all the readers of this blog to submit an abstract on SAS administration tips that have made your role as the SAS Administrator at your site easier, or things that you wish you had known before you took over the role of SAS Administrator.  These tips can be from setting up your hardware infrastructure to deploying your SAS applications to supporting your SAS users.

Would it help to know which SAS administration topics have been popular this year?  I recently acquired a report of recent SAS Global Forum paper titles that have been downloaded from the proceedings web site  more than 100 times during the first half of 2014.  These are the top 10 downloads that are on the topic of SAS Administration:

Please note that if you are unable to submit an abstract, please plan to attend the conference as there will be an emphasis on SAS Administration at it. Stay tuned for more details on the new SAS Administration features at the conference from Greg Nelson.

tags: SAS Administrators, SAS Global Forum
7月 232014

Do you know something about SAS® software that other SAS users would love to learn?

Of course you do!

Whether you’re a student or a member of the Circle of Excellence, every SAS programming project, every analysis or forecasting model is an opportunity to gain new insights into SAS processing or to develop new techniques.

No matter how you measure your SAS experience—what you’ve learned is valuable to other SAS users. So, start typing up your ideas. The SAS Global Forum 2015 call for content opens today!

Will attendees be interested in my topic?

The topic possibilities are endless! Conference attendees seek out a full range of topics: from beginner to advanced skill levels, from newer technologies to foundational software, and from quick tips to in-depth workshops. Still unsure? Perhaps the conference location will inspire you:

  • Everything's bigger in Texas, right? That includes data! Start planning your big data presentation now, from data management techniques to predictive modeling.
  •  SAS administrators have a big job -- perhaps you know a few tips to pass along to your peers about securing the SAS environment, administering metadata or improving performance for SAS users in your organization. 
  • If a picture’s worth a thousand words, then in the case of visual analytics, it’s worth virtually unlimited data points. Show us what you’re doing with business intelligence reporting using visual analytics or dashboards. 
  • Pitch your presentation on sports analytics – maybe you'll hit a home run! …Or, perhaps your expertise includes epidemiology, optimization, operations research, text analytics or survey techniques.

Now, which format is the best match?

Do you thrive on formal presentations? Perhaps you’re a skilled moderator or a genius at drawing others into conversation? SAS Global Forum offers more opportunities than ever to match up topics and presentation skills.

  • All skill levels, from those getting started all the way up to advanced users.
  • SAS expertise, including experience with the latest technologies to foundational software.
  • Range of interactions with other users, whether small group table talk discussions (new in 2015), interactive poster sessions or more in-depth Hands-On Workshops.
  • Depth of coverage that spans quick tips through full-length papers and presentations for a breakout session.

Still uncertain where to start?

If you need some help bringing your idea to life, try the presenter mentoring program. Our mentors -- all experienced presenters or instructors themselves -- can offer you guidance and advice along your journey to SAS Global Forum. Mentors can even help you write an abstract or outline. Simply apply online.

Here are some of the ways they can help make your SAS Global Forum 2015 presentation a rewarding personal and professional experience:

  • Review drafts of proceedings papers, PowerPoint presentations or poster designs.
  • Listen to and offer feedback on your spoken presentation before the conference begins.
  • Offer advice on getting the most out of the conference.
  • Offer a private critique of your presentation during the conference.

Your knowledge and participation are what make SAS Global Forum such a valuable experience for thousands of users from all over the world. I hope you'll consider submitting a proposal today.

Best regards,


tags: call for papers, SAS Global Forum, sas global forum presenter mentoring program
6月 112014
Have you heard that data scientists are in demand, and wondered what it takes to be one? Take some advice from Wayne Thompson, Chief Data Scientist at SAS, and Chuck Kincaid, Engagement Director at Experis Business Analytics. Start by following these four pointers from Thompson and Kincaid, and then learn more by watching […]
5月 122014

It was just a couple of years ago that folks were skeptical about the term "data scientist". It seemed like a simple re-branding of an established job role that carried titles such as "business analyst", "data manager", or "reporting specialist".

But today, it seems that the definition of the "Data Scientist" job role has gelled into something new. At SAS Global Forum 2014, I heard multiple experts describe data science qualifications in a similar way, including these main skills:

  • Ability to manage data. Know how to access it, whether it's in Excel, relational databases, or Hadoop -- or on the Web. Data acquisition and preparation still form the critical foundation for any data analysis.
  • Knowledge of applied statistics. Perhaps not PhD-level stuff, but more than the basics of counts, sums, and averages. You need to know something about predictive analytics, forecasting, and the process of building and maintaining analytical models.
  • Computer science, or at least some programming skills. Point-and-click tools can help keep you productive, but it's often necessary to drop into code to achieve the flexibility you need to acquire some data or apply an analysis that's not provided "out of the box".
  • And finally -- and this makes a Data Scientist the most relevant -- the ability to understand and communicate the needs of the business. You might be a data wiz and have metrics out the wazoo, but an effective data scientist must know which fields and metrics matter most to the organization he or she serves. And you must be able to ask the right questions of the stakeholders, and then communicate results that will lead to informed action.

I don't claim to be a data scientist -- I'm not strong enough in the statistical pillar -- but I do have my moments. For example, I consider my recent analysis of blog spam to be data-science-like. Even so, I'm not brave enough to change my business cards just yet.

At SAS Global Forum I talked to Wayne Thompson, Chief Data Scientist at SAS. (Yes, even SAS is capitalizing on the buzz by having a data science technologies team.) Here he is introducing SAS In-Memory Statistics for Hadoop, a programming interface that's meant to empower data scientists:

Wayne and I also talked a couple of other times: once about SAS Visual Statistics ("it's the shizzle", says the bald white guy -- not me), and once about data science in general.

Data science isn't all just "Wayne's world" -- there were plenty of other data science practitioners at the conference. For example, check out Lisa Arney's interview with Chuck Kincaid of Experis, talking about how to be a data scientist using SAS. (See his full paper here.) And SAS' Mary Osborne, who presented on Star Wars and the Art of Data Science. (Her paper reveals the unspoken fifth pillar of a data scientist: it's good to be part nerd.)

What do you think about the "new" field of data science? Have you changed your business card to include the "data scientist" title?

tags: data scientist, Hadoop, SAS global forum, SAS In-Memory Statistics for Hadoop, sasgf14, Tech Talk
4月 292014
I led an analytical culture track at the SAS Global Forum Executive Conference last month in Washington, DC. I talked with leaders in fields as diverse as healthcare, chemical manufacturing and government. Although these organizations have very different operating models, their challenges, comments and questions were similar. They all recognized […]
4月 222014
I’ve been to a fair number of SAS User Group International (SUGI) and SAS Global Forum conferences over the years, but I don’t think I’ve been to one as productive, well-organized and fun as this year’s conference in Washington DC. Part of what made the conference very relevant for many […]
4月 142014

sas_user_conferences_verysmallThe SAS Users Groups Leaders meet-up was scheduled for the last evening of SAS Global Forum 2014, sandwiched between the last of the Tuesday presentations and the Kick-Back Party later that evening. There were a few familiar faces from regional users groups but lots of new ones from local and in-house groups. In fact, the meeting room was nearly standing room only!

SAS coordinators Nancy Moser and Sue Leitch each took the opportunity to reiterate the value and importance of SAS users groups and to remind us that SAS users groups are unique in the software industry. Each SAS user event, like the recording-breaking international conference in Washington, DC, is planned and organized by volunteers. That why meet-ups like those at SAS Global Forum 2014 are especially important as an opportunity for leaders to meet and learn from each other.

The big questions that night were how to find speakers and how to get new users--especially younger users—involved. New in-house and local SAS users groups are popping up daily and the regionals have opened their calls for participation, so I thought this would be a good time to share these tried-and-true ideas from experienced SAS users group leaders.

Many of you who couldn’t attend the meet-up have great ideas too. Please share them in the comment area below!

1. Play games. Use quizzes (with prizes and winners) to make learning more interactive. Curtis Reid of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics found that younger programmers and analysts often tune out on presentations and lengthy webinars. Instead, he’s devised a form of SAS Olympics where newer users compete on their knowledge of SAS.

2. Go virtual.  Wells Fargo has a large in-house users group whose members are scattered in multiple locations throughout the US. SAS user Mary Katz says that web-based conferencing works well for them, not only for sharing information internally but also for scheduling external speakers from SAS and other sources.

3. Speak the right language. Deb White of SAS suggests switching up your communications tools if you’re having trouble getting a response. Try texting rather than voice or email, create a group Facebook page or try YouTube (depending, of course, on your organization’s social media policies.)

4. Try local schools. Need speakers? Contact your local college or university and find out which professors use SAS in their courses. Offer them an opportunity to help students practice their presentation skills.  SCSUG Board Member Lisa Mendez told us that her organization used this idea very effectively at SCSUG 2013, nabbing nine speakers from universities with an Advanced Analytics program for a day-long Graduate Student Symposium in Analytics.

5. Train potential speakers. SAS enrolls its SAS Global Forum presenters in speaker training where there’s an interest. You may want to consider a similar program for developing presentation skills among your technical staff.  Ask coworkers to share their projects in informal settings but keep the time limit short, and take advantage of speaker-training organizations such as Toastmasters International.

6. Avoid burnout. Many of the seasoned leaders in the room offered this closing piece of advice. Whether it’s running a smaller in-house users group or a yearly regional conference, be sure to involve others. They suggest that you create a planning or governing board and rotate leadership responsibilities among members. Invite new members to the leadership team regularly.  Don’t overlook the Junior Professionals in your region—they’re interested in learning more.

Again, please share your great ideas below.  I hope to see many of you at SAS Global Forum 2015.

tags: Make the Most series, SAS Global Forum, US Regional Conferences