Look who’s here: Part 2

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4月 142010
From agriculture to wholesale, 29 industries were represented at SAS Global Forum 2010. Which industry was the most well-represented? Here's a breakdown of the top ten by percentage of attendees:

1. Government (13%)
2. Education (12%)
3. Healthcare insurance (10%)
4. Pharma (9%)
5. Consulting and systems integration (8%)
6. Insurance (7%)
7. Financial services (6%)
8. Banking (5%)
9. Retail (5%)
10. Telecommunications (3%)
4月 142010
Social media is all the rage at this year’s SAS Global Forum.

There’s a “Twitter Wall” outside the demo area featuring a steady stream of tweets about the conference. (The hashtag for this year’s event is #sgf10.)

Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Jim Davis (@Davis_Jim) sent his second-ever tweet from the stage at Opening Session. (He also picked up a number of new followers in the process.)

Heck, I even did some live tweeting from the First-Timers’ Session on Sunday afternoon. (You can follow me at @chad_austin.)

Bob Hirschfeld, however, has a different take on social media. He says you’re better off with a “foe list” than a “friend list” on Facebook so you’ll know who to keep your eye on. Hirschfeld, a self-described “cybersatirist”, offered an irreverent, yet hysterical look at all things technology during a comedic keynote address during Monday’s Technology Connection session.

“If you think about it, social media actually has made us like emotional 2-year-olds,” Hirschfeld said. “Because that was the last time we felt the need to shout out everything we’re doing.”

Two-year-old: “Look at me jump up and down.” Corresponding tweet: “Doing aerobics at the Y.”

Two-year-old: “I’m drinking from my Sippy cup.” Corresponding tweet: “Having a Mocha chino at Starbucks.”

Two-year-old: “I go weeeee when I’m on the swing.” Corresponding tweet: “Playing Super Swing Golf on my Wii.”

Hirschfeld acknowledged that some people use social media to share legitimate information (even if they do try to take credit for being the one who shared it.) Helping businesses make sense of the information being shared and disseminated through social media channels is a big reason SAS developed SAS® Social Media Analytics and announced its launch in Seattle.

Now organizations want to know what all of those emotional 2-year-olds are saying about their brand, and SAS is giving them The Power to Know®.

By Chad Austin, SAS Internal Communications
4月 142010
I first met SAS Global Forum’s 2011 co-chair, Debbie Buck, through my role as a SAS liaison to the South Central SAS Users Group. Over the years, I’ve gotten to know Debbie pretty well, and my admiration of her continues to grow. I’ve even forgiven her for the awful gift of spoiled spices that she presented to me on stage at a SAS conference in 2001. It was an inside joke between us, and she really got me good!

For those of you that may not know Debbie well, I’ve asked her some questions so that you can learn a little bit about her. I also hope that you’ll continue to follow my blog posts as we move on to SAS Global Forum 2011. You’ll be hearing more from me and from Debbie.

1.) Where I could find you, if you weren’t at a SAS users group conference?
Most likely at my home in Houston, TX. I thoroughly enjoy cooking (thus my constant battle with weight), gardening (to help supply some of the produce for the cooking), and reading. Camping maybe - if there isn’t too much roughing it (at least a tent is required). One thing that might surprise you is that my husband is lead guitarist in a rock band, and he and I both enjoy getting away from our day jobs in front of computers to go to his band gigs.

2.) Why did you get involved with SAS Global Forum?
A number of years ago I attended my first SUGI, not knowing many people attending or what to expect. I was already an experienced SAS user, and I wasn’t sure how much I would gain from attending. I was impressed and amazed at how much I learned in such a few days. But the thing that impressed me most and brought me back the next year was how welcomed I felt. Everyone was so friendly, and the presenters were actually excited about sharing what they knew. That year I decided I wanted to become involved with SAS Global Forum (then SUGI). One regret is that although I became an annual attendee, I waited a couple of years to volunteer as a session coordinator because I was hesitant about whether I was qualified. (For anyone wondering something similar – Yes, you are qualified, and you will be welcomed onto the team.) Volunteer! Becoming part of the conference team (as a coordinator) really made the conference special and started me on the path to being the 2011 conference chair!

3.) What new things are you thinking about trying for SAS Global Forum 2011?
People learn in many different ways. I will be working with my team to examine those varying ways of presenting and learning with the goal of offering some new presentation approaches in 2011. Also, the world of information sharing continues to evolve rapidly, and I am interested in incorporating social media into our conference to a greater extent, including how to use and analyze social media.
4月 132010

Dave Thomas reports from the SAS Social Media Analytics Press Launch Event held at SAS Global Forum in Seattle. Dave gets feedback from bloggers, journalists, influencers and analysts in attendance including Paul Greenberg, Wayne Sutton, Justin Levy, Katie Paine and more.

Web Links:


4月 132010

Dave Thomas and Waynette Tubbs review the highlights from the Opening Session of SAS Global Forum 2010 and talk about going to the SAS Social Media Tweetup.

Web Links:


4月 132010
One of the events I look forward to every year is the unveiling of a year’s worth of SAS R&D’s magic. It occurs during the SAS Global Forum Technology Connection. Today’s show was all we could have hoped it would be! We heard from some SAS software, technology and statistics stars, including Mark Torr, Keith Collins, Maura Stokes, I-Kong Fu and Michael Thomas.
Make sure you check these guys out in the Demo Hall on Level 4:
Dan Heath, a SAS developer, showed how programmers can use ODS Graph Designer to build graphs without writing a single line of code. But if you like working within the code, he also showed how and where the designer stores the code so that you can rework and adapt the graph to other uses.

Maura Stokes, R&D Director of Statistical Applications and Editor of the SAS Statistics and Operations Research News, discussed many of the new procedures in the 9.22 release of SAS/ETS®, SAS/OR® and SAS/STAT®. She illustrated the applicablity for these procedures across industries, including financial services, retail and health , SAS/OR and SAS/STAT. She illustrated the applicablity for these procedures across industries, including financial services, retail and health care. After reviewing the new capabilities, Maura demoed PROC PLM. This new procedure enhances statistical modeling with SAS by enabling you to use model-fit information stored from a number of linear modeling procedures to perform additional analyses.

Jeff Stander, a SAS Solutions Architect in Data Management, discussed how more and more customers are leveraging data inside the database, and demoed data integration inside the database using ETL. In-database processing is a way to better utilize SAS technologies. He showed jobs running entirely inside the database. Analytic processes can require a great deal of time-consuming data movement within the organization. Running those processes inside the data warehouse greatly reduces the amount of data that must be copied, moved and converted – reducing costs and increasing agility. It’s as close to real-time analytics as you can get.

Heath also demoed the newest tools in Dataflux. Data Management Studio 2.0 has some great new tools including a new visualization tool that helps you see the connections between your data.

Michael Thomas, SAS Software Development Manager, demoed BI Dashboard 4.3, which has been adapted to use flash technology – that means you can now use flash interactivity to gain insight. Michael showed how you can easily create your own dashboard. And for those who use the desktop dashboard and travel, we’ll soon release the Smartphone dashboard so that you can stay in touch with your dashboard information, quickly react to information and collaborate with your colleagues. When you get to the Demo Area, look for a SAS representative with a Smartphone promo for you to demo.

I-Kong Fu, Business Intelligence Product Manager, presented SAS Central, a great new collaborative feature of SAS BI Dashboard 4.3. Most people spend all day in Microsoft Outlook, so SAS has incorporated the capability to send dashboard reports to the inbox. A user can now check reports including KPIs, model configuration reports and sales reports from this section. The key benefit is that these messages are stored on the SAS server, so they don’t take up space in your inbox! SAS Central takes advantage of Outlook’s options: When you see something that needs an action, just right click and set a meeting, send an e-mail or take advantage of many other Outlook options.

Tonya Balan, Analytics Product Manager, showed the crowd a new feature in SAS® Enterprise Miner, the Rapid Predictive Modeler. Now, make business decisions without having to always rely on a statistician. She says, “Imagine that we had a problem with EXCEL, you know business analysts love EXCEL.” In this case, Balan used telecommunication data. She’s interested in churn (i.e. the rate of customer turnover). Rapid predictive modeler provides you with presentation quality reports. In this case, the report lets you see which variable is the most likely to predict churn. It’s repeatable and the models can be used in other programs.

Jon Weisz, JMP Marketing Director, presented “What’s New in JMP?” JMP 9 will be released later this year and is already in use by Beta users. One of the new features is R integration. There is also a new JMP add-in for EXCEL, SAS ETS, Multi-Dimensional Scaling using PROC MDS and structural equation model using PROC CALIS application and JMP 9. Using SGF attendee data, Weisz showed Data Visualization with Maps. Data Visualization is a fast way to analyze data and make quick decisions.

Andy Bober, Product Managerment Director of Customer Intelligence, showed off our newest product -- launched concurrently with the Technology Connection -- SAS Social Media Analytics. According to Bober, "SAS Social Media Analytics lets you look at the data in a lot of different ways." This solution looks at both what individuals are saying about your company and at what publications are saying -- it measures how they feel about what you are providing. What a value. As Bober says, "really slick stuff."

Talk to a member of the SAS R&D staff about these and many other great new solutions and procedures for 2010 in the SAS Global Forum Demo Hall.

Demo Hall hours
Level 4, Room 4E
Monday 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
6 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Wednesday 8 a.m. – 11 a.m.
4月 132010
SAS Vice President of Technical Support Annette Harris announced the features that will be added to SAS software and solutions as voted on by users through the SASware® Ballot.

“Jim Goodnight always stresses the importance of listening to you, our users, and to be receptive to your ideas and suggestions,” Harris said. “The SASware ballot is another way to do that. It allows SAS users from all around the world to vote for features they would like to see added to our software and services. It helps us make our software better and more responsive to your needs."

The forthcoming enhancements include:
  • Adding the NOPRINT option to the PROC DATASETS statement.
  • Adding syntax that enables users to trim values when creating macro variables that use the INTO clause.
  • Providing the ability to refresh updated formats without restarting the SAS OLAP Server.
“We’re working on many, many more items from the ballot, but I hope this gives you a small sample of how seriously we take your ideas and listen to you.”

SAS has unveiled a new SASware Ballet that allows SAS to continuously update the ballet as your suggestions are submitted. Read about the new SASware Ballet and then vote!
4月 132010
Debbie Buck wants to see all of the folks who are attending their first SAS Global Forum here in Seattle, to return again next year.
Buck, who will serve as the chair for SAS Global Forum 2011 in Las Vegas, led a “First-timers’ Session” before the main festivities of SAS Global Forum 2010 got under way in Seattle. During her presentation, Buck shared her top 10 tips and tricks to get the most out of SAS Global Forum.

Here’s her list:
10. Visit the Demo Hall.
9. Meet new people.
8. Use your program.
7. Don’t waste your time.
6. Build a Personal Agenda.
5. Try a new technology at a Hands-On workshop.
4. Be prepared.
3. Don’t wear yourself out.
2. Volunteer.
1. Free stuff.

“The goal here is that you have a great conference experience this year, so that you come back next year for the conference in Las Vegas,” Buck said. “If you get a lot out of this conference, you will want to come to future conferences.”
So, have a great time in Seattle, and we’ll look for your next year in Las Vegas.
4月 132010
If you’re at SAS Global Forum 2010, you’re in good company. This year’s conference attracted more than 3,000 attendees, with 20 percent travelling to Seattle from outside the US.

Here’s a quick breakdown of the top 10 countries represented outside of the US:

Canada: 182
Denmark: 49
Netherlands: 42
Brazil: 41
Norway: 42
Sweden: 32
UK: 26
Germany: 21
Belgium: 15
India: 15
4月 132010
Company: Santander Consumer Bank in Germany
Title: Analytical Risk Expert
Job responsibility: Developing risk scorecards
Products: SAS Credit Scoring for Banking, SAS Enterprise Miner

Thanks to her suggestions, bug reports and willingness to ask “What if?” Monika Nauroth helped SAS isolate problems and greatly improve usability and functionality in SAS Enterprise Miner and SAS Credit Scoring for Banking. Her feedback resulted in six hot fixes, five SAS notes, and new features in SAS Enterprise Miner.

I sat down with Monika before she received her award to find out more:

How long have you been using SAS?
My use of SAS started within an internship at Santander in 2004. I also programmed in Base SAS and SAS/STAT for my diploma thesis for my Masters Degree in Economic Mathematics. Since then I am using it constantly for my work in Risk Management at Santander Consumer Bank. For predictive modeling, we implemented SAS Enterprise Miner and the Credit Scoring Solution in 2006, and I've used it for credit scorecard development since then. This solution immediately provided Santander with the ability to analyze and understand their customers, and to do scorecard development at an advanced level within a short time.

What tips do you have for other SAS users?
Two things: First, don’t always use the Enterprise Miner default. Second, if there’s something you don’t understand, review the documentation and if that doesn’t answer your question, call SAS technical support.

What are you most looking forward to about SAS Global Forum 2010?
I have a 12-page agenda set up! I am looking forward to seeing demos of the new version of Enterprise Miner. I got a sneak preview and was surprised to see that some of my suggestions have already been incorporated into the new version. I’m also looking forward to meeting the developers, Billy Sue Anderson, Dave Duling and Product Manager Wayne Thompson.

This is your first trip to the US. What’s your favorite thing you’ve done so far?
We took the “Duck Tour” of Seattle yesterday. That was interesting to say the least….!

How do you feel about winning SAS’ top technical award?
When Karoline Förster and Tamara Fischer called me to notify me that I have won this award, I was speechless. I am very proud and honored that SAS appreciates my work so much. But, I didn’t do it all by myself. I had the help and support of so many people and I would like to thank all of them.