Beyond warranty: The changing face of field quality

Warranties have a long - and some might say - interesting past.  But the future is even brighter.  New technologies and data sources are transforming our understanding of field quality, enabling deeper insights into product performance and customer preferences.  These breakthroughs are accelerating the quest to reduce defects and satisfy customers.

The concept of a product warranty has been around for centuries. The earliest record of warranty can be found in the Babylonian and Assyrian tablets of the twenty-first century B.C.[i] However, for most of that time, it was buyer beware. Following WWII, consumer pressure and legislative action like UCC in 1952 forced manufacturers to start consistently offering warranties on their products.

In the decades since, warranty has been largely viewed as a necessary evil, a cost of doing business. Sure, extended warranties and service contracts provided a little extra revenue, but still rarely are viewed as a strategic part of the business.Have Your Voice Heard

For years, the warranty claim has been one of the few windows into understanding the customer experience and product performance in the field.  Adopters of warranty analytics, like Sub-Zero Wolf, have dramatically shortened the detection to correction cycle, reduced costs, and increased customer satisfaction.

Now the hype is all about the Internet of Things, Social Media, Big Data Analytics, and The Cloud.  But these technologies are more than just buzzwords.  Read More »

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United Kingdom electoral battlespace: facts or fiction?

BigBenThe electoral battlespace for the upcoming general election in the United Kingdom is starting to take shape. Campaigners are busily debating the political landscape. They want to own the high ground that dominates areas that matter most to voters – the NHS and the economy.  With an ageing population and a declining share of global GDP – cutting services to balance the budget is a harsh reality.

For the politicians that seize control of Number 10 in mid-May, crunching the numbers in a bid to look for efficiencies will be a key priority. However, after five years of unprecedented budget cuts, it will be like trying to find a very few needles in lots of haystacks, each one guarded by its own farmers!

After the battle is over, tough decisions will need to be made. As the Spending Review dawns they will be faced with public scrutiny. Of course, people arrive at decisions differently – some act on ideology, others are led by a gut feel or instinct, while some rely on painstaking research.

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Big data and analytics demand a bigger skills commitment from the Federal Government

Despite an increase in the availability of data in the federal government over the past few years, data and analytics could be doing even more for federal agencies. A strategic approach to managing and analyzing the data is needed. And, like many technology challenges – that’s a people problem.

A new GovLoop report, Government Workforce in Focus: Closing the Data and Analytics Skills Gap, surveyed 283 public sector professionals and found that despite collecting, storing and managing volumes of data as they perform mission-critical activities, federal agencies fall short in turning the information into insight. This is due, in large part, to a critical skills gap.

GovLoop infographic-snip-outline Read More »

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Mobile World Congress, Hadoop and big data analytics - oh my!

Legacy Analytics vs. Big Data Analytics

Legacy Analytics vs. Big Data Analytics

Mobile World Congress is quickly approaching. Attendees and exhibitors are feverishly scheduling meetings, doing research, and determining their areas of focus to maximize their experience of the event. If you're hoping to learn more about big data analytics at the conference, here are some helpful insights and resources to help you prepare.

Big data analytics and Hadoop use cases in the communications and media industries are steadily growing, and include:

  • Improving customer experiences.
  • Making better pricing decisions.
  • Monetizing customer and IoT data.
  • Better predicting audience behavior and ratings.
  • Planning and optimizing networks more accurately.

A recent report on Using Next Generation Advanced Analytics to Harness Big Data produced by Heavy Reading provides compelling insight on these use cases plus includes market survey data on investment priorities for big data analytics.

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Award-winning SAS tweets of 2014

It's that time of year: Awards season. While we on the SAS Social Media Team will be happily following along this Sunday for the 87th Annual Academy Awards (via Twitter, naturally), we thought it only appropriate to use this as a time to celebrate our customers in social from 2014. From showing us the love to making us laugh to Star Wars, we love our Twitter followers. Today we roll out the red carpet for our top Tweets of 2014.

Best Feel-Good Tweet of the Year


Sometimes a story can move you. Marie Lowman shared her very personal story of how SAS saved her daughter's life.

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Why SAS joined the Open Data Platform (ODP) initiative

ElephantsAs the point person for SAS joining the new Open Data Platform (ODP) initiative, I want to make it clear why SAS is involved with ODP, and why we think it’s important to our customers, and the Hadoop and big data ecosystem as a whole.

SAS is not in it to choose sides on Hadoop distribution vendors.  We support all five major distributions -- Cloudera, Hortonworks, IBM, MapR and Pivotal -- with our applications, and requests continue to pour in for more support of region-specific distributions.  SAS will continue our collaboration with all Hadoop vendors.

Anyone else working with multiple distributions of Hadoop will understand the challenges involved.  Here are three revealing examples from the last few months, each from a different (unnamed) vendor:

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If it's not broken, why fix (or change) it?


Is this the best time to discuss implementing change?

How many of us have heard or even said the phrase, "If it's not broke, don't fix it."  While on rare occasions this may be the correct approach, it is a statement that stops innovation and creativity in its tracks.  You might as well say, "Because we've always done it that way."   (Read about an experiment with five monkeys that proves my point.)

When is the last time you heard about someone accomplishing something noteworthy simply by leaving the status quo alone? Analytics challenges us to improve existing processes regardless of whether they appear to need fixing or not.

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Government Chief Data Officer? We need an army of data analysts

The UK government is such a great candidate to benefit from better analysis and use of data both internally and externally, given the volume of data available to it. So it was pleasing to see this article by Eddie Copeland, Head of Technology Policy at Policy Exchange, where he argues that the government needs to “fundamentally redesign how it works” to make better use of technology and data. I wholeheartedly agree that it can’t just be about “bolting new technology on to old ways of working.” We need a bit of a revolution!

TechP Report

What are the challenges facing the UK economy when it comes to filling data-driven positions?

Eddie suggests one key factor holding back these improvements is implementing new open standards for data – indeed the government has raised the prospect of a Government Chief Data Officer. This role could have a great impact, but what worries me, is whether the government or public sector overall has the foresight and skills to a) make this happen, and b) make the most of this data to effectively improve systems and services. For both requirements, we need data analysts working throughout government organisations.

Last year, we launched a report with the Tech Partnership that highlights the challenges facing the UK economy when it comes to filling data-driven positions. By 2020 there will be 56,000 jobs across the UK for big data specialists, yet over three-quarters of big data positions are currently described as difficult to fill. Crucially, using data in public services is about achieving efficiencies, and that is key for any future government. But whether there is a Government Chief Data Officer or not, those efficiencies will only eventually be achieved by ensuring the data and analytics skills gap is addressed.

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Big data meets open standards

166539242Imagine choosing one application for Linux that worked on the version you currently use. You choose another program but find that it doesn’t work on that version of Linux. A third application? It works with another version of Linux.

Luckily, that rarely happens. In 2001, the Linux Foundation established Linux Standard Base (LSB), which provides a set of open standards that helps software developers create more compatible applications on the Linux operating system.

Standards like these are critical for emerging technologies. From ASCII to USB, these standards have become part of our computing lexicon. More than that, they help vendors develop and test on the same code base – and users get technologies from across the spectrum that integrate and interoperate.

Hadoop is emerging as a popular new platform due to its relatively low cost for high-capacity storage and high-speed processing. As companies like SAS build technologies to work with Hadoop, this rapidly growing and expanding platform gives us a ton of options.

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Peaks and troughs ... and the smallest of margins

KG-BGrowKatherine Grainger paid a heart-felt tribute to the support staff who have been a pivotal part of her success in her opening speech ahead of last month’s World Sport Science and Medicine conference. The event was hosted in the UK jointly by British Rowing and FISA, the international rowing federation.

“My career has been longer than I planned and more successful than I ever expected”, she said. “A lot of that is down to the sports science and medicine support I have received. These people have helped me go out and realise my dreams,” she said.

Grainger talked with passion, during a speech delivered at Bisham Abbey, about how the sport’s knowledge of the role of data and science has grown since her international rowing career began back in 1997.

“One of my early coaches was concerned about the limitations that science might impose on us as athletes, but over the years I have seen that rather than creating limits, science actually does the opposite, it expands the possibilities”, said the London 2012 Olympic gold medalist.

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