social media

8月 032016

Applying analytics to IoT data provides opportunities for cities to use information from sensors, citizens and connected infrastructure in unprecedented ways.

Analytics for IoT gets smart cities moving in the right direction was published on SAS Voices.

7月 062016

Disclaimer: before you get overly excited, PROC EXPAT is not really an actual SAS procedure. Sadly, it will not transfer or translate your code based on location. But it does represent SAS’ expansion of the Customer Contact Center, and that’s good news for our users. Here’s the story behind my made-up proc.

My mission

“Buon giorno!” “Guten Tag!” “Bonjour!” Excitement is in the air, the team buzzes. I’m not at an international airport, I’m at the new SAS office in Dublin, Ireland. I’d been given a one-month assignment to help expand operations, providing training in the Customer Contact Center across channels to deliver exceptional customer support and create an enhanced customer experience around the globe. It was such a rewarding experience!

SAS is a global company with customers in 148 countries, at more than 80,000 sites. The EXPAT Procedure is what I’ve coined my month-long adventure in Dublin, training and supporting our newly expanded Customer Contact Center team. So, what does this mean for you? It means additional customer care and expanded hours for all your inquiries and requests. Win!

Bringing expanded customer service to Europe, Middle East and Africa

The expansion was announced last fall, when SAS revealed plans to open a new Inside Sales and Customer Contact Center in Dublin—an investment of around €40 million with a projected 150 new jobs to be created—to provide support across Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA).

The new office models the US Customer Contact Center (and this is where I come in), providing support for customers in their channel of choice—be it social media, Live Chat, phone, email and/or web inquiries. We field general questions about SAS software, training, certifications or resources, as well as specific issues, like errors in your SAS log. The Customer Contact Center is here to assist, and now our customers in EMEA can benefit from the added support as well.

And we’re not just answering inquiries, we’re listening to our customers. We’re always looking at ways to make things easier to navigate, simpler to find, and faster to share. And we love customer feedback, whether direct or indirect, to enhance your experience with SAS.

The new team in Dublin is comprised of multi-lingual individuals with loads of experience in the tech industry. They have begun covering the United Kingdom, Ireland and Italy and it’s been amazing working with such a knowledgeable, patient and fun team with a great sense of humor. I think you’ll like them, too.

While I’ve been assisting with training the team on everything SAS, I’ve gotten a little training myself, working in a new office in a different country, surrounded by colleagues from more than 15 countries across the pond. A reminder of the wide reach of SAS, impact of Big Data analytics, and importance of our worldwide SAS users.

It’s an exciting time for the Customer Contact Center, SAS and our customers. If you’re located in EMEA, don’t hesitate to reach out to us!

tags: facebook, linkedin, sas customer contact center, social media, twitter

PROC EXPAT – Expanding SAS’ global customer service was published on SAS Users.

2月 272016

The 88th Annual Academy Awards are coming up. Twitter will be on high alert Sunday night to hear who takes home the gold Oscar. To celebrate in our own special way, we want to highlight some of our amazing followers. Without further ado, here are our award-winning posts from the last year: Best […]

Award winning posts of 2015 was published on SAS Voices.

1月 262016

When he filmed the scene in the summer of '69, my Dad did not foresee his moment of fame in 2016. But in the last two days, Dad has seen his 47-year-old work appear in the local Buffalo, NY media, on, and on FOX News*.

In August of 1969, on a family outing to Niagara Falls, Dad filmed a remarkable scene. It was during the time that engineers had "turned off" the American side of the Falls**, diverting most of the water to the Canadian side, while scientists studied the natural wonder for erosion patterns. Did you know that it was possible to turn off the mighty Niagara Falls? Yes, it's been done. And there is renewed interest in the event because Niagara Falls authorities are talking about doing it again.

It might be generous to call the video "viral." By most definitions, a video can be called "viral" if it receives a million views in a day, or 3 to 5 million views in a few days. This video (on my personal YouTube channel) has received only about 40,000 views in the past day. Not viral, but let's call it "burgeoning" (thank you Roget's).

Here's the historical timeline of this video:

  • August 1969: Dad films the dewatered Niagara Falls on a common 8mm film camera. I'm in the video at the end -- that's me in the stroller (I was 1-yr old) with my Mom.
  • November 2006: as steward of the family 8mm films, I digitize the film and edit it. I added some explanatory text and a bed of music that I don't have the rights to (hey, that makes me a citizen of the Internet).
  • April 2011: I upload the video to YouTube. I figured it would be interesting to some, as it captured a rare event. A once-in-a-lifetime event, we might have thought back then. In nearly 5 years, the video accumulates only a few thousand views.
  • January 2016: a perfect storm makes the video super popular. The conditions of this storm: a related modern story renews interest, the video contains relatively rare footage, and (maybe most importantly) the video producer (me) is available and responsive to grant permission to these media outlets.

That last point was probably crucial. In all three cases (Buffalo News, Daily Mail, and FOX News), the stories were produced within hours of the reporters reaching out to me. The stories were happening with or without my video. Like so many events in my life, this was all about being in the right place at the right time.

This blog topic is a departure from my usual discussion of SAS topics, so let's tie it back with a view of some YouTube stats. YouTube provides video analytics to any user with a YouTube channel, but the stats usually lag by several days. It's too soon to see the aggregated view of my stats that include the past two days. But, YouTube does offer a "real time" view of what is happening with your video right now. Here's my snapshot from this morning:

If you watch the video in the next few days you'll be subjected to some advertising. That's how YouTube generates revenue from popular content. Thanks to my use of copyrighted music, I don't really have a chance to benefit financially from this sudden burst of activity. But that's okay with me -- I enjoy just watching the phenomenon to see how far it goes.

* FOX News reporters reached out to me yesterday and said the story would air yesterday afternoon. I trust that it did; I haven't seen it.

** The idea of "turning off the Falls" sounds crazy to some, but really it's an impressive feat of engineering that was mastered decades ago. People are not generally aware that much of the "Falls" volume is diverted every day right now to provide hydroelectric power to the Northeast. Remember Y2K? When people were worried that the power grid might shut down when the year turned to 2000, one certainty remained: water would continue to flow over the Falls. The Niagara Falls hydro plant played a critical role in disaster preparations for Y2K. Of course, nothing came of it – Y2K was a big disappointment in that respect.

tags: social media

The post A viral video that was 47 years in the making appeared first on The SAS Dummy.

12月 232015

In today’s world of instant gratification, consumers want – and expect – immediate answers to their questions. Quite often, that help comes in the form of a live chat session with a customer service agent. The logs from these chats provide a unique analysis opportunity. Like a call center transcript, […]

The post Come chat with us! appeared first on The Text Frontier.

9月 052015

Picture of a photographer through a window (source:

Transparent is always better [photo source:]

As social media burst onto the scene as a game-changer for marketing several years ago, a lot of focus was placed on the need for brands to be transparent, authentic and accountable in their interactions. Those have always been hallmarks of good business practices, but what had changed was that social media made it easy to shine a spotlight with equal fervor on honest mistakes, bad processes and corporate malfeasance, bad processes.

So now that social media has become so ingrained in everyday life, it has become equally a part of marketing and the need to be transparent, authentic and accountable has certainly not gone away.

My colleague in Australia, Daniel Aunvig, recently wrote about this topic on our sister blog, Left of the Date Line as Transparency is the new currency in marketing. In his post he lists 3 ways that transparency can be a leveraged as a competitive advantage:

  1. Employing customer intelligence to create an understanding of the customer journey across channels
    Customers expect to be recognised across channels and a key requirement for any relationship building is to understand the complete cross-channel journey. Only by gaining that level of understanding will you be able to give your customers the best overall experience throughout the lifecycle of their relationships with you. In general, customers are perfectly willing to exchange their information with a commercial organisation provided they enjoy something in return. This means better and more relevant offers, improved service and more personalised attention. Customers understand and accept the logic of exchanging information but is your organisation ready for the part it must play?
  2. Allowing customers to leverage your intelligence capabilities to make more informed decisions for themselves
    Examples could be: telecommunications customers exploring and visualising historical call and network data to understand what plans are best suited for their individual needs; or banking customers analysing historical financial transactions to figure out trends and their preferred investment product options. If your organisation is serious about competing on long term value creation, this transparency shouldn’t be a scary. In fact, with today’s increasing hunger for digital self-service, such initiatives are more likely to create a valuable differentiating factor.
  3. Creating new revenue streams based on your customer and market insights
    What if your customer and marketing intelligence became so rich and granular that it could actually offer value to other organisations? Could you create new revenue streams based on your customer data and your direct marketing platform? For example, telecommunications carriers around world are realising that the data and reach they have are invaluable and would be the envy of any retail marketer starting to build new business models and extend current ones. Think also of media companies and what they know about trending topics and the diffusion of information, both your own and generally. Then ask what other businesses could use that information and enjoy the reach of a publishing company; within the boundaries of appropriate privacy, of course.

I agree with Daniel's view of transparency in part because it's what I wish for as a consumer and have become increasingly vocal about wanting it. A good case in point is my own family's journey with communications and content at home - the "triple play" offers of TV + internet + phone no longer appeal to us so we've cut out cable TV and now get streaming content on the internet. The heart of our issue is the hundreds of TV channels we never watched because of service bundling and the lack of transparency that underlies that outdated business practice.

I also believe that there's another aspect of transparency that needs to come into play in order for it to become a competitive advantage and that's internal transparency. By that I mean cross-departmental transparency about data, how it's managed and the needed changes to processes and reporting structures that will enable the entire organization to develop those 3 aspects of transparency as a competitive advantage. And all 3 aspects of transparency are based on the intelligent use of big data with applied marketing analytics.

Consider your own marketing organization and how much customers and the marketplace have changed in the last 5 years - how much have your processes and reporting structures changed?

Another great view of these ideas was put forth by another colleague, Lisa Loftis, who wrote this paper, Beyond the Campaign: Leading Marketing into the Future. Go ahead and register for this paper - I promise it's worth reading.

As always, thanks for following!

tags: alignment, big data, marketing analytics, social media, strategy

Marketing transparency as a competitive advantage was published on Customer Analytics.

8月 042015
A lot of growing happens in 5 years.

A lot of growing happens in 5 years.

In just five or so short years, we have all seen social media as a channel grow up right before our eyes. It's no longer that infant that everyone was afraid to touch or be around - it's now that fun kid that people want to engage with. Some may say, well social media is older than just five - Facebook was formed in 2004 after all - but for practical purposes I would say that social wasn't considered by businesses as a marketing medium until the 2010 time frame.

With the growth of social media, we have also seen the change in thinking with regard to social media. Brands, because they are much more comfortable with the idea of using social media for marketing purposes, don't need the level of education that some primer content provides. Here at SAS, we published a primer paper back in 2010 with the Harvard Business Review (HBR) titled - "The New Conversation: Taking Social Media from Talk to Action." This paper has proven extremely popular, so below I've pulled out the main points for folks that may not be interested in reading the entire piece. Surprisingly, a lot of the content is still relevant in today's world, though all references below are in terms of 2010:


The power of social media is shown by 79% of the 2,100 companies who participated the HBR survey said they were currently using social media or preparing to launch social media initiatives at that time.

88% of companies surveyed admitted they had not used social media up to its full potential. Furthermore, they were not using social media effectively to not only listen to, but analyze consumer conversations and integrate those insights into their strategies. Two examples show how using social media insights was still not widely used:

  • 25% of social media users said they could identify where their most valuable customers were talking about them, and
  • 23% were using any form of social media analytic tools. This could be due to the perception by some at the time of social media as “dangerous” because of the exposure and lack of control of web conversations.

The survey asked companies who use social media what they perceived to be the primary benefits social media brought to their organization. Among those users, half said the main benefit was increased awareness of the organization, products, and services among their target customers. Thirty percent said social media led to increased traffic to their website, with another 28% reporting more favorable perceptions. However, only 18% were able to identify positive and negative comments and a mere 9% said that the ability to measure the frequency of discussion was a current benefit. Essentially, these companies seem more focused on talking and “making noise,” rather than taking action and participating in consumer conversations.

HBR also found a trend with smaller organizations, who primarily used social media as an opportunity for increasing awareness, web traffic, and new business. Larger organizations were more likely to use social media to help monitor perceptions and identify positive and negative comments. The education, communications, services, and retail/wholesale sectors were reported to be the highest adopters of social media while the least active were energy and utility companies, manufacturing companies, and government organizations.

Among the surveyed companies, there was a good deal of uncertainty about which measures and tools should be used. Only a small group of companies in the survey (12%) identified themselves as “effective users” of social media; they are the ones utilizing multiple channels, integrating their social media strategy into their overall marketing operations, and measuring and analyzing trends. Using metrics and analytics tools in that way was what set effective users apart (and which continues to be the case).

Most companies at the time were just beginning to see the great need for social media measurement. It's since been shown that the amount and variety of information available from social media is extremely valuable for fostering relationships with customers, developing new products, and keeping tabs on competition. Looking to the future, 41% said a primary goal would be to integrate social media monitoring solutions with their overall marketing so that they could not only understand what was being said, but who was doing the saying and the impact of their statements. Effective use of social media would be led by those organizations that are able to utilize multiple channels, create metrics to measure impact, and use new tools to understand how to enter into a conversation and relationship with customers.


And that view of effectively using social media still applies today. While we've all evolved since 2010 and grown comfortable with social media as part of the marketing mix, we need to consider how much social media has changed the dynamic of the customer relationship. The need to plan, execute and think in terms of omni-channel has never been greater. I hope your organization is well aboard the social media train and that it's traveling on the rails of data and analytics - it's still the best way to take social media from talk to action even after these five years.

Want to get on the right track and get in sync with the customer journey? Look no further than our Customer Intelligence solutions. Thank you for following!

tags: customer intelligence, hbr, social media

How you can take social media from talk to action was published on Customer Analytics.

4月 242015

There’s a common aphorism that everything is bigger in Texas. So when SAS decided to host SAS Global Forum and SAS Global Forum Executive Conference in Dallas - it had to go big.

Both conferences will kick off Sunday evening with a Texas-sized crowd of more than 4,500 attendees. But if you’re not there, you can still tap into the valuable information being shared.


New this year, you can watch live video from both conferences happening April 26-29. Everything from opening session, keynotes, Tech Talks and live reports will be streaming live online. Missed something? No worries. The videos will also be available on-demand.

You can also watch the Inside SAS Global Forum video series. Co-hosts Anna Brown and Chris Hemedinger will take you “inside” the event to give you an idea of what people are talking about. The videos will cover the latest technologies and areas of focus, as well as interviews from customers who are getting a handle on big data through analytics.

Here’s Anna and Chris with a preview on what you can expect at the conference.

All the videos can be found on the SAS Global Forum video portal.


I’ll be attending about a dozen sessions and events at the conference, and blogging right here on SAS Users. You can also find even more content on the entire SAS family of blogs.

Social media

If you’re not liking or following us yet – now’s the time. The hashtags are #SASGF15 (SAS Global Forum) and #SASEC15 (SAS Global Forum Executive Conference). Join the conversation or just follow along to find great information to watch, read and share.

Safe travels to everyone heading to Dallas. #SASGF15orBust

tags: Inside SAS Global Forum, SAS Global Forum, social media

The post SAS Global Forum is live in 3, 2, 1… appeared first on SAS Users.