4月 032010
I recently chatted with Lida Gharibvand, a doctoral student in applied statistics at the University of California, Riverside. She received a master’s degree in mathematics and statistics from the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR). While at UNR, Lida worked as a statistics consultant at the Center for Research Design and Analysis.

As a SAS Student Ambassador, she’ll be presenting the paper Analysis of Survival Data with Recurrent or Cluster Event at SAS Global Forum.

What should we know about you?
I’m a Ph.D. student in Applied Statistics and a user of SAS analytical tools, and I have a special interest in the analysis of survival data. It’s very important for me to stay abreast of the latest innovations in the field of analytics. I must use state-of-the-art statistical analysis techniques to implement my projects efficiently. I am looking forward to Global Forum 2010 to learn about the latest SAS capabilities and all the useful technical tidbits which will undoubtedly save me time and energy.

Have you been to SAS Global Forum before?
Yes, this is my third year in a row, and my second year as a student ambassador. The conference atmosphere for me is now more like a family reunion with good dialogue and catching up with the latest developments. There are plenty of opportunities to communicate and network with other SAS professionals from around the world, and I always learn from the unique experiences and applications of other attendees.

Why do you keep coming back?
As a graduate student, I have been impressed with the ease of access to SAS experts from around the world as well as to SAS employees at the conference. The biggest advantage for me has been the opportunity to learn from both formal and informal venues which has helped to expand my analytical skills. Finally, SAS Global Forum is a good place to learn and have fun too!

4月 022010
I guess we’ve said it thousands of times in thousands of ways: SAS Global Forum is a meeting place. It’s a great opportunity to discuss SAS software and make connections with others who have similar interests and objectives.

I can hear what you’re thinking: In this advanced communications age, many of you have already connected. You’ve told other SAS users who connect on sasCommunity.org, SAS-L, LinkedIn, Twitter, Orkut, Facebook or any of a zillion other online meeting spots about the cool ways that you’re using SAS. But what if you missed someone who still doesn’t connect through social media? You could go old-school. You could write the story of your SAS innovation and post it on the Innovation Wall that will be in the Demo Room at SAS Global Forum.

There’ll be more than 3000 users from around the world attending this year’s SAS Global Forum. What if one of those attendees sees your creative use of SAS and presents you with a new research paper idea? Better yet, what if you see someone’s innovative work and it finalizes the work you’ve been puzzling? Take a minute to pin your note to the wall and then browse through the work that others have posted. Take a stroll past SAS’ timeline, too. Many of you will marvel as you take a trip down that memory lane.

The Innovation Wall will be open during the Demo Room hours:
  • Monday, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
  • Monday, 6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. (SAS sponsored evening reception)
  • Tuesday, 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
  • Wednesday, 8:00 – 11:00 a.m.

I’d love to talk to you about your innovative use of SAS. Send me an e-mail if you find you have time for a short interview. If you are interested in sharing your SAS story on support.sas.com so that other SAS users can learn from your work, enter your story at Share Your SAS Journey or speak to someone at the support.sas.com demo station at SAS Global Forum.
4月 022010
The antidote for fifty enemies is one friend. If there’s truth in that quote, Aristotle would have to agree we’re lucky here at SAS, in that we have many friends, including outstanding customers and industry thought leaders, that we regularly interact with. I’d like to share one of these interactions with Chris Brogan, President of New Marketing Labs.

Our connection to Chris began in early 2009, when our esteemed social media manger, Dave Thomas, attended Chris’ Inbound Marketing Summit in San Francisco. Dave wrote to me about his introduction to Chris, saying he “was immediately impressed not only by his knowledge, but by his openness and the genuine way he communicates, both individually and with groups. Plus, he was one of the few people I’d heard in 15 years of attending marketing conferences who talked in plain English about something he clearly, at his core, believed to be true and valuable.”

Chris and Dave stayed in touch and when SAS decided to solicit advice about the social media world from an outside expert, it was natural to ask Chris and his colleagues at New Marketing Labs, Justin Levy and Colin Bower.

According to Dave, “It’s been a very positive relationship. I’ve been a client before and also a consultant and it’s rare to find that sort of relationship where both sides feel like equal participants, respect one another equally and are getting equal value.”

While Chris was at our headquarters in Cary, NC, Deb Orton sat down with him for a short interview session. There are six videos in all, and over the next few days I'll post each of them.

But before we get to the first video, I want to leave you with a closing comment from Dave: “In a few years we might not be talking about ‘social media’ anymore, and certainly the tools we’re using today will have changed. But at the core of social media is a new way of communicating, a new way of relating to one another and combining the personal and the professional in the best kind of way. Chris shows us every day how that should work.”

Enjoy this video series. And stay tuned. In the coming months we will continue this series with new interviews from SAS practitioners.

Chris Brogan Talks About His Book "Trust Agents" and Social Media.
SAS' Deb Orton interviews Chris Brogan of New Marketing Labs. Chris discusses: why he and Julien Smith wrote the book "Trust Agents", what is a "trust agent" and how to establish a social media "listening post".

4月 022010
"May you live in interesting times". This Chinese curse seems to ring true today, as much as when I heard it 25 years ago from my then mentor and boss.

All of us as Marketers find ourselves in a state of flux, straddling the traditional and digital methods and hoping that this balancing act will allow us to reach our target audience and produce the high quality leads our sales teams count on us for. Marketing leaders spend time learning, educating, inspiring and ultimately cajoling those in their organization to adopt new methods. While we consider our next steps, buying behavior has accelerated its shift to the social web.

Consider the recent research:

New research from ITSMA and Pierre Audoin Consulting (PAC) shows that 55% of U.S. IT buyers use social media to gather information and communicate with colleagues during the purchase process. That’s a 50% increase over 2008, when just 37% of buyers said they used social media.

Similar findings cited at Social Media Today, referring to B2B buyers

  • 78% started with informal info gathering
  • 59% engaged with peers who addressed the challenge
  • 48% followed industry conversations on topic
  • 44% conducted anonymous research of a select group of vendors
  • 41% followed discussions to learn more about topic
  • 37% posted questions on social networking sites looking for suggestions/feedback
  • More than 20% connected directly with potential solution providers via social networking channels

No matter where you look and what you read, Marketing must move to digital. The majority of our customers are seeking information on-line, and then validating their purchase decisions on the social web.

So we find ourselves as marketers on the precipice of change, straddling the traditional and the digital chasm.

  • Our tenured marketing team members possess a wide spectrum of skills and interest in this relatively new for of marketing.
  • The paradigms of "pushing" information out, asking for a registration, receiving some small percentage of responses and declaring victory is quickly coming to an end.
  • While a growing percentage of customers are going digital, many have not and remain skeptical of purchase decisions based on a digital relationship.

Do you lay awake at night with these questions (admittedly I do)?

  • How fast do we adopt new methods, and what should drive that adoption?
  • To what extent is Social Media integrated in to current campaigns, and at what point does it become the campaign?
  • If the buyers and influencers vary in their use and trust of Social Media, how much to we vary our marketing methods?

Managing marketing organizations in these interesting times requires 3 things:

  • First and foremost, an unwaivering belief that we must change or become obsolete. This belief must propel the organization forward without alienating people in the process.
  • Acceptance that your organization will always be a spectrum of interest, passion and capabilities for what's new.
  • A gauge that acceptable progress is being made. The gauge will be different for each organizational culture. I tend to use "indicators" within my organization that give me confidence we are moving forward at the pace we need to.

These are the types of topics I find myself working through and would be very interested to hear other issues that marketers are facing as well.

4月 012010
Contributed by Stacy Hobson, Director of Customer Loyalty, SAS

I just got back to my desk after our SAS Global Forum staff meeting and I have to say... the excitement level is sky high! Each of us supporting Global Forum this year is truly grateful for the opportunity to get together with our customers and get the kind of feedback that we can use to make meaningful change happen here at SAS. As the head of our new Customer Loyalty organization, I am particularly interested in spending time with you in Seattle to fully understand what we can do to facilitate a strong and lasting relationship.

We have received a lot of feedback so far through surveys, forums, and general "chatter" around the content that is currently available to you. We have spoken to a number of you who have lamented the fact that you had to pull content from different places and modify it to meet your needs. Help us to understand where we are missing the mark on content and what we can do to provide you the right information in the appropriate format.
What content can we provide to:

  • help you communicate the value of SAS within your organization

  • help your strategic planning around your SAS implementation

  • ease your next migration

  • help you connect with other users and share experience?

If you have ideas or feedback, I would encourage you to join us at the Meetup, Samples and Forums and Tips, Oh My! Tell Us What SAS Web Content is Most Relevant to You on Tuesday from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. in meeting room 615. This is a great opportunity to have an impact on what we focus on when we return to SAS and as I said earlier, affect meaningful change in how we provide you the information you need as a SAS customer.
3月 312010
At this point, I have started three potential posts for this blog and each feels like we’re at a party together and we just got introduced, and then I start out by blurting a random, weird factoid that is sure to repel you. So let’s not do that, and instead start with what might naturally come early in a conversation – a few details about where I am coming from.

Aside from being what seems right, starting by letting you know more about me is apparently right in line with one of the maxims of social media – transparency. So let me share my reasons for helping get this blog off the ground.

As Justin described, I am part of the field marketing department at SAS, and my focus is on creating opportunities for our prospects and customers to learn about our company and solutions. So, my “day job” at SAS is to build awareness, find new leads for our solutions, and to develop opportunities for our sales force. That said, I am in this discussion to explore that process openly so that I can learn, and so that you can learn, too. I am particularly interested in finding out the best ways to incorporate social media into the field marketing process, so please comment freely and frequently!

Another point: Justin and I are both focused on marketing Customer Intelligence solutions (C.I. for short), which address the business issues across the marketing department. In essence, we are marketing to marketers – which can be both challenging and rewarding. It’s usually rewarding because our target market understands what we are doing and where we are coming from. But Justin and I are part of a wider team of people that all contribute to our success in this area, and we’ve brought some of them together to participate in this blog.

One last thought - I am personally vested in the success of Get, Grow, Keep because I like interacting with people. You might see my picture next to “extrovert” in Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary (Okay - I keep asking and they keep saying “No!” - kidding!). So my expectation is to enjoy this process, and I hope that you enjoy it, too. For more details about my background, and that of the rest of my fellow bloggers, please click on our names in the opening post, and you will find a hyper-link to our profiles in LinkedIn. If you like what you see, please invite me to link to you.

Now that we have this starting point, I look forward to getting to know you through your comments and suggestions. [glasses clink] This is going to be a great party, huh?

3月 312010
A lot of you have been using the Personal Agenda Builder since I first blogged about it on January 15. As you may recall, this handy tool allows you to plan your conference schedule with point and click ease. It has the latest up-to-date information on the papers, posters and workshops. The information, including abstracts, may be viewed by Date, Company, Industry, Paper Type, Section, Skill Level or Speaker.

You can now also add “Super Demo” presentations using the Personal Agenda Builder. Just use the words “Super Demo” as keywords in your search, and you’ll get a full list. What are Super Demos, you ask? Super Demos are regularly scheduled, fifteen minute presentations in the Demo Alley area of the Demo room. These demos provide a quick look at various SAS software products, including many new and exciting enhancements. They’re definitely worth a look – I recommend adding a few of them to your list of things to see.

But back to hot topics. Are you curious about “what’s hot” based on what presentation topics registered attendees are adding to their agendas? If so, I’ve taken a snapshot of the data that I have available to me from the Personal Agenda Builder, and I’m happy to share your rankings.

For Monday, April 12, your three most popular presentations are:
• Using Advanced Features of User-Defined Formats and Informats
• PROC DATASETS: The Swiss Army Knife of SAS Procedures
• The MEANS/SUMMARY Procedure: Doing More

For Tuesday, April 13, your three most popular presentations are:
• A Serious Look at Macro Quoting
• Exploring Powerful Features in PROC SQL
• When Best to Use the %LET Statement, the SYMPUT Routine, or the INTO Clause to Create Macro Variables

For Wednesday, April 14, your three most popular presentations are:
• Boot Camp for Programmers: Stuff You Need to Know That's Not in the Manual and Best Practices to Help Us Achieve Reproducibility
• PROC COMPARE: Worth Another Look!
• How to Use Arrays and DO Loops: Do I DO OVER or Do I DO i?

For these hot topics, space may be limited, and you know how quickly your time will fly by. Take a moment and create your Personal Agenda now. And if you haven’t registered yet … here’s friendly reminder that pre-registration, with its associated discounts, ends April 5 at midnight.
3月 302010
There was a time when climbing the social and professional ladder meant you had to join the right clubs and shake the right hands. Effective networkers smiled at all of the right jokes, went to this party but not that and handed out business cards like a politician hands out kisses. But today, most of those norms have been replaced with online resumes, informal profiles and hourly status updates. Does this leave you struggling to find a networking arena that fits you? sasCommunity.org has developed an online networking and messaging center called SAS Global Forum Connect Online.

SAS Global Forum Connect Online is similar to LinkedIn in that you are creating a profile to allow others in the community to find you based upon your specified qualities and interests. The main distinction is that SAS Global Forum Connect is hosted on sasCommunity.org, a community of SAS users who share technical help and SAS code with one another throughout the year.

SAS Global Forum Connect is the latest in a long string of community-focused additions to the site. In the past year, sasCommunity.org updates have included a blog page called sasCommunity.org Planet, Tip of the Day, a @sasCommunity Twitter ID and an Employment Opportunity Registry.

If you are attending SAS Global Forum, your SAS Global Forum Connect Online can help you find others who are also attending. You can schedule get togethers with old friends or find a new friend or research connection. SAS Global Forum Connect Online is also open to you if you aren’t able to attend the conference. Use the message board year round to stay connected to SAS colleagues, plan presentations, share technical content, ask for help or mentor other SAS users.

Couple SAS Global Forum Connect Online with the SAS Global Forum Personal Agenda Builder and you’ll be sure to have a full dance card in Seattle!
3月 302010
For years, SAS has collected information from SAS Global Forum attendees about how they use SAS software. In recent years, we have also conducted small usability tests and surveys. The results are always useful and interesting. In an effort to help SAS Global Forum 2010 attendees find all of the paths to providing their feedback, I conducted a quick interview with Paul Hankey, who manages the SAS Usability Lab. Be sure to look for his station and provide your feedback while at SAS Global Forum.

Renee: From my vantage point on the demo floor, I can see that you usually have people two and three deep at your booth. What are you doing over there?
Paul: We’re getting feedback from SAS Global Forum attendees on new product designs. Sometimes it’s just a component that will go into a product, but other times we’ll use a fully-functioning prototype for the evaluations. We also gather attendee reactions to various customer-facing Web sites.

Renee: Usability sounds interesting. What exactly does that mean?
Paul: There are four main phases to the usability process.
  • The first is user research – defining what users need to do their job and using that to help determine what should go into a product.

  • The second phase is designing the feature workflow (e.g. how you get the user from Point A to Point X) as well as creating the user interface.

  • The third part is putting the design in front of representative users and getting their input on what works and what doesn’t work.

  • Finally, information from the evaluation is used to modify the design. We typically do a combination of the first and third steps at SAS Global Forum.

Renee: Do you get good information doing this small/short timeframe test?
Paul: The quality of information we obtain is excellent. Obviously we can’t look at everything in a 15-minute timeframe, so we’ll choose the more important features of a product to focus on. We wouldn’t be doing this if it weren’t helping us improve our products!

Renee: What are you testing this year?
Paul: We’ll have five or six different things to show and test. We’ll get feedback on some of the new Flash Flex components, test a tree-map visualization, gather information on the design of the 9.2 documentation Web site, and look at different features for the Outlook portion of Add-in for Microsoft Office. We’ll also be demonstrating and getting feedback on the design of a new SAS social-media component.

Renee: Can you tell us a little about how the information you have gathered has changed SAS products and services?
Paul: Information we’ve gathered at previous conferences has directly impacted a number of SAS products, such as Web Report Studio, the Outlook portion of Add-in for Microsoft Office, the e-Learning framework, the Documentation Library, as well as Web sites from Publications, Technical Support and Education. We’ve also had people compare designs for bullet graphs that could be used in dashboards, and the BI Dashboard, itself. Every year the variety of products and services we evaluate seems to grow and grow.

As you can see, the feedback that SAS gathers from our customers is valuable. If you find yourself on the demo floor with 15 minutes to spare, be sure to look for Paul and do a little testing.
3月 292010

Boost algorithms are proven to be very effective data mining tools, either used stand alone, or as a building block to handle nonlinearity, etc. Implementation of Boost algorithm in SAS is not easy to find although it is not difficult to write one yourselve. I completely rewrite the %Boost macro in the book "Pharmaceutical Statistics Using SAS: A Practical Guide" [1], which covers AdaBoost, RealBoost, GentlBoost and LogitBoost algorithms. Related %Predict macro is very straight forward to rewrite, too. Note that the author uses Gini index as impurity measurement, while in most standard implementations, a weak classifier directly minimizes weighted error rate [2].

The original macro (Found @ Here) uses SAS/IML and the way it handles computation makes it impossible to work on data set with even moderate size. For example, working on a table with 4000+ observations, the original macro will utilize >850M memory and may cause the program collapse. In many rare event study, a larger sample is necessary. For example, a fraud detection program with 0.01% fraud case may well require >100K total records for a reliable analysis. A much improved SAS/IML version can be found @ here.

New macro utilizing DATA STEP will be more tolerable to very large data set, and is much faster in this case (when your data consists less than 3000 observations, the original macro works much faster). Basically computing time and space requirement of this macro is linear in the number of observations while quadratic for original macro. The new macro will involve computing modules %gini, %stump_gini, %csss, %stump_css in this post (@ Here).

Note that if duplicate values exist, these two macros will not produce exactly the same result if different response categories appear among the duplicate valued records, because of the way these responses arranged. But both programs works in the sense that they will reduce error rate as iteration goes on.

Future development includes weak classifier directly min error rate, and using a more effecient way to handle small data set.

[1]. Alex Dmitrienko, Christy Chuang-Stein, Ralph B. D'Agostino, "Pharmaceutical Statistics Using SAS: A Practical Guide", SAS Institute 2007;
[2]. Yoav Freund & Robert E. Schapire, "A Short Introduction to Boosting", Journal of Japanese Society for Artificial Intelligence, 14(5):771-780, September, 1999;
 Posted by at 11:12 上午