2月 252009
Seth Grimes has compiled an excellent set of quotes from interviews he had with leaders and software developers in this field. you can find his article posted now on the Business Intelligence Network along with Yves Schabes, Manya Mayes and Keith Collins’ views on 2009 challenges and opportunities for text analytics at SAS and Teragram.

From discussions and Q&A with attendees at the Predictive Analytics World conference - I can personally confirm manya's first projection. Namely when she said 2009 challenges will call for
"A broader set of vertical/horizontal offerings including more automated unstructured (text, voice, image) capabilities delivered for customer/product/competitive intelligence"
Although text mining was not addressed in the title or absract of any of the 30 talks on the agenda there were 3 separate discussions that did include ways text analytics fit in. My favorite was when John Elder applied text analytics to "build his haystack" out of the pile of Social Security disability claim forms. By applying text mining, 20% of the cases could be automatically approved quickly leaving more time for the manual review of the others. John's point was that while Text Mining didn't specifically find the needle in the haystack , the technology most certainly helped organize and arrange the haystack so he could allocate tasks to the "artifical intelligence" of the computer and help people do their job faster.

Yes , I say 2009 will be the year business and industries open their eyes to see untapped potential for insight now laying around as unstructured content...for example see this blog where Jason Burke says
As pharmaceutical firms have learned, you can create great solutions for sharing data, and the information still not be useful. For example, if data is sitting in an EMR as an unstructured block of free text, your ability to get to better decisions and predictable outcomes will be considerably constrained. Thankfully, we do have more mature interoperability standards today that can help us along the way. But interoperability should not just be about pushing data across systems -- it should be about facilitating medical insight across stakeholders

Jason has laid the groundwork ...and i wait with baited breath to see his next blog entry - because its the INSIGHT that excites me about analytics.

Text analytics is not promising easy answers - infact it may spur additional new questions for investigation --resulting in worthwhile innovation. Finding case studies will be a challenge for 2009 - just as the yahoo group discussion here has pointed out.
2月 252009

We're glad to announce that we're going to launch our Inside SAS Global Forum video series again this year! Alan Hoffler will be back as our roving reporter, providing that fun, informative and sometimes irreverant, behind-the-scenes look at this important SAS users conference.

You may have caught our behind-the-scenes video reports from SAS Global Forum last year in San Antonio. We posted our videos to the SAS YouTube channel and embedded them in the sascom Voices blog. This year we'll be embedding our videos right here in the new SAS Global Forum blog.  We're also not only posting our videos on YouTube, but will also provide an alternative location for our videos on sas.com.  This should help viewers who have employers who block YouTube.

Covering SAS Global Forum last year was a lot of fun, but Alan and I want to make this year even better.  We need your comments and suggestions!

  • Who would you like us to interview?
  • What questions would you like asked?
  • What interests you more about SAS Global Forum?  Behind-the-scenes interviews with SAS employees at or getting ready for the conference -OR- interviews with paper and demo floor presenters?  Both?

Just add your comments and suggestions right here on the SAS Global Forum blog.  I'll also be "tweeting" our activities on Twitter.  As Alison Bolen pointed out on the sascom Voices blog, you can follow all SAS Global Forum tweets with the hashtag #sgf09. This will make it easy for anyone to follow conversations about SAS Global Forum now and during the conference by searching for or subscribing to #sgf09.

If this will be your first time attending SAS Global Forum, we'd like to talk to you and possibly interview you at the conference.  Drop an e-mail to Brendan.Bailey@sas.com.

Alan and I look forward in reading your comments and suggestions.

2月 212009

I can vividly recall my first SAS Global Forum (it was SUGI back then).  The year was 1996, the city -  Chicago, and it was COLD. We used to have a “Fun Run/Walk” as part of the conference activities, and we literally ran on the snow along Lake Michigan. Some of our attendees used to take this run/walk very seriously, but I just wanted to finish. Sure I was pumped up to participate, but I was a little overwhelmed with the conference and all that it had to offer. I had never been around 3,000 SAS users at one time before. Have you?   

To those of you that are new to SAS Global Forum, we now have lots of ways to prepare for an optimal conference experience. If fact, you’re already on your way.  You’re on the Web, and we have a ton of information to share, from the highest level conference overview to the smallest detail, such as what presentation is going to be given in Room Maryland D at 4pm on Tuesday, March 24. Use the Personal Agenda Builder to map out your course before you ever get to Washington, DC. 

Have you registered yet? The early registration deadline has been extended to March 2! There are several ways to save

Want some recommendations? On Monday night, make plans to hear Franc D'Ambrosio of "The Phantom of the Opera" fame. He’s bringing his three-year, 200-city, sold-out Broadway concert tour to SAS Global Forum, and all proceeds will benefit the Children's Book Drive charity. The SAS Global Forum Children's Book Drive collects books to donate to reading centers in shelters and community organizations in Washington, DC. Another option for Monday evening is the Georgetown shuttle. While the DC Metro is famously easy to use, it doesn’t stop in Georgetown, but the shuttle does.     

Here’s a little about me. Over the past 13 years I’ve worn a lot of different hats in support of SAS Global Forum, such as coordinating the now-defunct SoccerFest, managing conference signage, creating the conference program, handing out registration badges, working in the Demo Area, writing emails and Web News articles, and more. But I’ve never written a blog. This is a new opportunity for me, and I’m excited to share what I know and to introduce you to other folks that know A LOT more than I do about SAS Global Forum. Please stay tuned!  

2月 192009

We had five warm sunny days in a row last week. It felt like spring. Even a few daffodils were fooled into thinking that spring had arrived. The weather has returned to a winter-like chill but these early bloomers stand tall anticipating more warm days. The promise of spring has me looking forward to March and warmer days. The next few weeks promise to bring exciting events, news and content to support.sas.com. Because SAS Global Forum 2009 is right around the corner, I have started to receive new content for support.sas.com that will be made available just before the conference. We are also planning updates to search, and new content for large sections of the site to accommodate the next release from SAS.

What can you expect?
  • New technical papers and presentations
  • Documentation updates
  • New samples and notes
  • Software release announcements
  • Search enhancements, starting with discussion forum content

How will you know when this information becomes available?

Did you miss this?
If you aren't subscribed to the RSS feeds or reading the SAS blogs, you may have missed the discussion around SAS and R. Bob Rodriguez and Radhika Kulkarni talk about the interaction between SAS and R in an article posted to the Statistics & Operations Research focus area on support.sas.com. This short article talks about the "R Interface Coming to SAS/IML Studio". If you are interested in this topic, the following links will enable you to catch up and participate in the conversation:
2月 182009
Greetings from San Francisco and the Predictive Analytics World conference!

Surrounded by hundreds of data miners, i'm keeping my hears open to hear who is integrating their unstructured data from text based sources in with their predictive models to build improved scoring engines. I'll fill you in with conference highlights in my next blog.

Monday,this week we announced our first TERAGRAM based offering that implements powerful linguistics - it is separate from our SAS text miner product and does NOT require any of our SAS/STAT or analytical technologies to run. In case you missed the news - check out the press release here

As to the title of this blog entry - I'm cheering cause we have a new medium for reaching broader audience. Interest is building as more people become aware of Text Analytics. Manya's interview on the B-eye network is now available as a podcast on I-tunes.

2月 052009
With my great enthusiasm for text analytics, Its sometimes frustrating when others don't see the potential value these technologies offer. Today when i read Dr G's quote and the facts that came along in the article - it came as music to my ears. My title for this blog entry was pulled from 4 feb 2009 press release. We, the SAS text analytics team, are cheering that a topic near and dear to our hearts was cited as as a key event during 2008. Out of the hundreds of solutions SAS delivered last year, the fact that Teragram's Natural Language Processing and advanced linguistic technology enhancements won top billing in the press release is a big deal!

Those who know how SAS has bundled text analytics as an add-on to SAS Enterprise Miner, the fact that organizations are implementing analytical solutions to retain current customers and win new ones -- you can conclude that seeds have been sown (Data Mining installed). For 2009 our challenge is to continue to pour water (to spread awareness) so Text Mining can indeed blossom .

Theodore Tanner blogged on predictions regarding the future of predictive analytics,semantic intelligence and vanilla BI applications made by industry analysts. I applaud Jim Kobielus who cites Text Analytics as key to staying strong (along with predictive analytics and Data Mining).

Last month when Sascom asked us for our 2009 predictions, you saw me jump in and add mine. For the past five years, we've seen Text Analytics sprout as an "emerging technology" attracting some interest by manufacturing companies for warranty solutions and occasional call centers. Many have no clue what steps to take to implement text analytics much less reap ROI. How about you ? do you think the time is ripe for text analytics to MAKE A DIFFERENCE ?
1月 252009
The 16 Jan 2009 Gartner Magic Quadrant report once again places SAS in the “Leaders” quadrant in the Global positioning of BI vendors with annual revenues of $20 million+ (see the full report for a comprehensive description of inclusion criteria).

In describing SAS’ qualifications for this honor the report authors noted: “SAS's recent acquisition of Teragram will not only serve to enhance its position by adding natural language processing and advanced linguistic technology to its text mining offering, but it will also enable SAS to add enterprise and mobile search to its BI offerings.”

This comment by Gartner is revelatory in light of the current trend to view unstructured data as the “dark matter” of the enterprise ( i.e. the evolving source of income and profitability). Text mining, text analytics, document search, term/concept retrieval and classification capabilities – such as provided by SAS® Text Miner and SAS® Content Categorization – were all missing criteria in the evaluation of the vendors. The only other vendor noted for text analytics ability was SAP.

In a symposium given last year by TDWI (The Data Warehouse Institute), entitled “The Shifting Data Continuum: Or Why Your Data Warehouse Needs Unstructured Data, Philip Russom shared results collected from a survey on sources of warehouse data. There he displayed a graphic that indicate huge, exponential growth in unstructured data sources in organizations today.
The huge red triangle in the TDWI report indicates all the unstructured sources of data that are likely to grow in the next three years. Given that – according to Gartner -- SAS has only one acknowledged competitor in this BI area -- SAP. Therefore this creates a huge opportunity to gain competitive advantages compared to the other acknowledged vendors in the report … as well as the other vendors that we meet in the market who do not appear in the Gartner report.

This growth in the “dark matter” of the enterprise will be enabled and facilitated by the kind of text mining/text analytics capabilities that SAS has built and which Gartner acknowledges in its “Magic Quadrant” report.

If the TDWI analysis holds true then it is likely that text mining/text analytics capabilities will soon surface as explicit qualifiers for “leaders” in the BI (not to mention Business Analytics) area.

1月 242009
I just received a news bulletin regarding SAS Global Forum. If you are planning to attend, check out these resources.

Agenda Builder Now Available
Your Personal Agenda Builder is now available to help you plan, build and save a personalized schedule for SAS® Global Forum 2009. Plan your days by choosing the paper presentation and activities you would like to attend. Start planning your agenda using this convenient tool.

Post-Conference Data Mining Workshop
This post-conference, half day workshop on data mining will be held Wednesday, March 25 at 1:30-5:00 p.m. It will offer another opportunity to expand your SAS data mining and predictive modeling skills. Stay later to take advantage of exclusive training opportunities. Find out more about the post-conference workshop.

Pre-conference Seminars & Statistical Tutorials
You can extend your educational opportunities in a number of ways at SAS Global Forum 2009. Sign up to participate in a Pre-Conference Seminar, Statistical Tutorial or one of the pre-conference SAS Training classes. (Note: Available with the Conference Plus Package). View the list of pre-conference seminars and tutorials.

Haven't registered yet?
SAS Global Forum offers a unique situation to network with fellow SAS users as well as SAS development and technical support staff. The 3-day conference is packed with learning opportunities. For more information, visit the conference Web site.

Updated Jan 27:
You can save 20% off training and certification testing at SAS Global Forum. Get more information at support.sas.com/training/sasglobalforum.