Over the wires and through the cloud

It's that festive time of year again, so you may want to build yourself a fire  and grab a cup of hot chocolate as you prepare for a rousing round of holiday/IT joy.

Grab your co-workers and gather around the water cooler while singing along to this post and others from years past like: "Twas the night before big data"; "Rudolf the red-nosed Baysenian network?"; "Big data is coming to town!"; and of course who could forget (you can't, even if you want to!): "The twelve days of big data analytics."

Over the wires and through the cloud
To Grandmother's smart house we go.
The GPS knows the way to guide the car
Through white and drifted snow.

Over the wires and through the cloud
Oh, how the data does blow up.
Text streams and bytes get stored
As sensors send data all around as we go.

Over the wires and through the cloud
The connected car throws off a full day's worth of data
Oh, hear the streaming data ringing ting-a-ling-ling,
For it is a cloud IoT day

Over the wires and through the cloud
Trot faster my Nifi way
We love the sound of music as its streams o'er the ground
For it is a cloud IoT day

Over the wires and through the cloud
And straight through the smart grid we go.
We seem to go so dreadfully slow when our wifi fails to connect
Waiting on fiber to be installed is so frustrating.

Over the wires and through the cloud
Now Grandma's hotspot I can connect to.
Hurrah for IoT; the streaming movie is almost done;
Hurrah for the spark that helps run our connected car.

Enjoy the holidays!!!
NOTE: Soundtrack will soon be available on 8-track as well as cassette (Google these if you aren't familiar with these terms :).

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Rise of the CDO reflects the rising role of data

609179193As technology evolves, so do the c-suite roles related to technology. In particular, the roles of Chief Digital Officer and Chief Data Officer – both referred to as CDO – have seen rapid changes.

This post will document the changes I've observed in these two roles, and answer questions I've heard as our customers have been navigating the changing technology landscape. Read More »

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Cybersecurity: A conflict of old and new

660495267The cybersecurity challenge exemplifies how global threats have evolved and how governments must combat them. For all the complexity of the Cold War, the United States defense officials knew the nations that posed the biggest threat.

The world is much different today. As General Michael Hayden (ret.), former Director of the National Security Agency (NSA) and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), explained at the SAS Government Leadership Forum, the biggest threat to the United States no longer comes from conquering states – although that's still a concern – but from failing countries or individual actors.

Technology has created a lower barrier of entry for those looking to do massive harm, and cybersecurity is at the battlefront.

New world, new threats

“The industrial era tended to aggregate power toward the center,” Hayden said. “But we're no longer living in that era. We're in a post-industrial era, which pushes power to the edges and down. In other words, the things we used to fear coming at us from malevolent state powers are now within the reach of sub-state groups, gangs and even individuals.”

This dynamic creates a complex world that's difficult for defense organizations to navigate. With a range of attacks from different actors, government needs to know where these attacks come from. Advanced analytics can provide this information so agencies can not only see what's happening on their network, but who's causing the problems.

How analytics can help

Tom Sabo, a solutions architect at SAS Federal, gave some insight into how analytics can help fend against attacks. As Tom explained, we live in a world of people with different digital experiences. Everyone born after 1980 is known as a “digital native.” They grew up with technology as a major facet of their life. Those born before 1980 are known as “digital immigrants” who became immersed in technology later in life.

Attackers tend to be digital natives, while the defenders tend to be digital immigrants. That's especially true inside government. Advanced analytics, Sabo said, can help narrow the gap between the two sides.

Fritz Lehman, EVP and Chief Customer Officer for SAS, echoed this statement. He said with the increase of data, cybersecurity has become more difficult than ever. He said everyone, including government, needs a way to make sense of this data.

“Data is coming at us in bigger and faster ways than it ever has before. So we're constantly trying to figure out a way to take this flood of data and give you faster insights,” he said. “We're in a point in time where there's so much we need to know immediately, but data is getting bigger.”

The key for government is to equip a wide range of employees with data monitoring tools, and not limit data monitoring to a handful of data scientists. The world is getting more complex, but advanced analytics can help reduce the noise and provide for better cybersecurity defense.

Please check out these on-demand presentations and others from the SAS Government Leadership Forum.

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How do you feel about analytics?

People say that the world has changed, but I think it'd be more accurate say that people that have changed the world.

Social media, big data, big analytics, internet of things … whether you're an executive, a data scientist, or a student, when you hear these buzzwords, you have an emotional response. That emotional response shapes your approach to analytics and how you see this new world we're in. Read More »

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The Common Reporting Standard: an opportunity and a challenge for tax authorities

Cooperation and information sharing between tax authorities around the world can help ensure that taxpayers pay the right amount of tax to the right jurisdictions. The Common Reporting Standard (CRS) is an agreement between countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development to collect and share data from their financial institutions annually.

455069151This remarkable achievement offers significant opportunities to eradicate financial crime and tax fraud. For example, if the standard is properly adapted by the tax authorities it will minimise risks involving non-residents tax evading on taxable assets and activity in non-residence countries.

OECD has proposed a timetable for when the agreement will become binding by each country, and it has published comprehensive guidance for the implementation of CRS. Current OECD guidance explains what information will be exchanged between tax authorities and the format with which the information should be exchanged.

Whilst the guidelines are very helpful and offer sufficient flexibility, the tax authorities need to decide how they will use and integrate the exchanged information in analytics solutions for detecting fraud. Although this might sound obvious, in practice is not. At least this is what the experience has shown from similar initiatives such as the use of third party bulk information by many tax authorities across OECD.

For example, the common reporting standard will make matching exchanged data with the internally held information easier. However, unaddressed challenges may delay the implementation of a working solution and the realisation of the benefits that CRS can bring.

Read More »

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Three steps to modernizing your marketing organization

marketing-ebookAt SAS, we've worked hard to transform ourselves into an analytical marketing organization. And it's an ongoing journey. As new tools and data sources appear, we'll continue to grow, change and improve.

As the leader of this effort, I wish there had been a how-to guide available when we started searching for answers at the beginning of our journey. I hope you can use our experience as a shortcut to modernizing your own marketing organization.

So here's some practical advice -- three things you can start to do tomorrow (or Monday morning) to begin your own transformation into an analytical marketing organization: Read More »

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Event inspires students with disabilities to pursue STEM careers

There are no limitations for what you can accomplish.

That’s the message Keith Poston from the Friends of the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences imparted to 300 middle and high school students, teachers and parents assembled this week at the museum for the fourth STEM Career Showcase for Students with Disabilities. The Showcase also was livestreamed to reach even more students. (STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and math.)

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Keith Poston, Friends of the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences Officer encourages students to study STEM.

Poston set the stage for a morning of inspiring and motivational stories told by STEM professionals and college students who live with different disabilities.

SAS and JMP sponsor the event, which was the brainchild of Ed Summers, Distinguished Technical Leader in the Accessibility and Applied Assistive Technology Department at SAS. The event was also sponsored by the museum, IBM and the Bresler Foundation.The Women's Initiative Network from SAS supplied 18 volunteers who helped out at the event.

“The goal of the STEM Career Showcase for Students with Disabilities is to raise the student’s expectations of their own potential by providing concrete examples of adults with disabilities that are performing at the highest levels in STEM fields,” said Summers, who moderated a panel of NC State University students who discussed their disabilities.

Read More »

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From fraud detection to fraud prevention: working towards optimal audits

A focus on fraud can create optimal auditsCurrently, most fraud detection solutions for financial crime and tax fraud are focused on risk assessing entities. That is to say, they evaluate the risk of each individual or businesses separately. While this helps prioritize risk-based investigations by alerting investigators to the likelihood of fraud, it does not necessarily maximize deterrence. Therefore it does not always lead to optimal audits.

The current process for fraud detection almost always requires the use of hybrid analytics for scoring businesses or individuals. This typically involves a combination of methods such as business rules, predictive modeling, anomaly detection, social network analysis and other tactics.

Each entity is scored taking into account a wide range of attributes. These attributes include information about financial transactions (volume, frequency and parties involved), socioeconomic characteristics (such as income and profession) as well as information about direct and indirect associations with known fraudsters. Once a score for each entity has been established, alerts are generated for entities with a high risk score. The alert then forms the basis for opening a case which requires the involvement of an investigator. However, the process does not always facilitate optimal audits. Read More »

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4 hottest trends in retail analytics

565973017Retail isn't an easy place to be these days. The environment is omnichannel and ever-changing. Competition is rising and retailers are struggling to understand how to best meet customers’ merchandise preferences.

Fortunately, analytics are driving profitability and market share for smart retailers. Let’s take a look at the four hottest trends in retail analytics: Read More »

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Fighting tax fraud at the Iowa Department of Revenue

fighting-tax-fraudThe Data For Good initiative is all about using data and analytics to improve the lives of citizens around the world – however most people wouldn’t immediately think about tax collection as a humanitarian effort. But that’s exactly how Courtney Kay-Decker, Executive Director of the Iowa Department of Revenue sees the work of her department.

“Our mission is to collect all tax due – and no more,” said Courtney Kay-Decker, IDR’s Director. “Eliminating fraud, waste, and abuse – and using tax revenues responsibly -- benefits all citizens of Iowa.”

Iowa reports about 1.5 percent of filed tax returns are fraudulent – a fairly low percentage. But it can add up to millions of dollars in fraudulent refunds. That’s why fraud analytics sit at the core of the Iowa Department of Revenue’s (IDR) operations.

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