'You are modernizing. And SAS is modernizing as well.'

The screen at SAS Global Forum

Opening Session at SAS Global Forum

SAS Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Jim Davis welcomed the Opening Session audience at SAS Global Forumall too appropriately: by using text analytics to create a word cloud, based on CEO Jim Goodnight’s remarks just minutes before.

And he honed in on a word that stood out to him: “modernization.”

“We are in a phase where we have to modernize our infrastructure, modernize our analytic environment to take advantage of the advances that are out there so we can process large amounts of data and do so in a timely fashion.”

Underscoring his point, Davis went through a veritable laundry list of analyst reports from Gartner and Forrester recognizing SAS’ innovation.

He acknowledged that the company not only tries to address issues in its own business but in the marketplace as a whole.

Following ATM fraudsters (and their selfies)

What do you do when a network of criminals hacks two credit card companies, duplicate debit cards, and programms the cards to have unlimited balances and withdrawal limits on ATMs?

Next on stage, Stu Bradley, SAS Senior Business Director for the Security Intelligence Practice, answered this question by showing the audience how SAS® Visual Analytics could be used to track cybercrime with the real example mentioned above.

In this case from 2013, a total of $45 million was stolen, across 20 countries, in a matter of hours, he said. The criminals even had time to snap selfies in between fraudulent trips to the ATM.

“Imagine that you had an equally sophisticated and fast analytic capability to keep up with that level of [complexity] in an attack,” he posed to the crowd.

Bradley proceeded to pull up a geographic map of the US, indicating ATMs that were at higher risks of being compromised. He then accessed hourly data of ATM use, to look for suspicious activity and patterns.

Said Bradley: “The advancements at SAS and the ability to apply analytics across all of our data assets and do it very quickly is fundamentally changing how organizations manage their risk.”

SAS user feedback award

Rounding out the Opening Session was Vice President of Technical Support Annette Harris, who announced the 2014 User Feedback Award winner, Eric Helmer of T-Mobile USA.

Annette Harris presents Eric Helmer with The User Feedback Award

Helmer, provided consistent feedback about products like SAS® Customer Intelligence Studio,SAS® Marketing Automation, as well as chipping in pointers on data integration optimization and workflows, said Harris.

“I want to thank all of you, the SAS users,” said Helmer, accepting the award. “You’re here to make SAS better and you have a lot of suggestions … keep sending them in because they will be listened to.”

“The goal for all of us is to serve our customers better, and SAS is helping us do that,” he said.

Conference Chair Marje Fecht closed Opening Session by first shedding some light on how the groups of hexagons in this year’s SAS Global Forum logo resonated with her.

“Think about each of those hexagons as information that you’re going to gather or as people you’re going to meet at the conference,” she said. “Each individual one of those, turns into the power of your entire conference experience.”

She encouraged the group to find ways to hang on to what they learn at the conference, to keep it fresh and bring it back to their jobs.

“The impact of new knowledge and solutions has a ripple effect,” she said. “We are the ones that add value to our organizations with our SAS knowledge and experience.”

And with that, Fecht introduced the evening’s entertainment of Cirque Mechanics, a troupe of aerialists, contortionists and acrobats that swung from rings suspended in air and executed complex balancing acts.

tags: modernization, SAS Global Forum

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