Analytics is an enhanced oil recovery process

You may have heard the phase that big data is the new oil.   Well (pun intended), if that is the case, then analytics should be thought of as the fracking technique used on data to improve the value you get from this new oil.  Fracking is actually just one of many enhanced oil recovery (EOR) techniques; there are other forms like CO2 injection. But fracking is probably the most widely known EOR outside of the oil and gas industry.

EOR is any process, or combination of processes, that may be  applied to economically increase the cumulative volume of oil that is recovered from the reservoir at an accelerated rate.   EOR is also sometimes referred to as improved oil recovery (IOR).  IOR processes target mobile oil or gas and EOR processes are concerned with trapped or immobile oil or gas within a well.   Basically, IOR and EOR are about getting more oil or gas out of a well, economically (at a profit).  If it costs you $100 to get a barrel of oil out of the ground, but you can only sell it for $75, no one would do it.

Read More »

Post a Comment

Retailers want insights, not data

8558922303_8bfec65ac2_z

What insights can be gained from the massive amounts of data that allow us to make decisions that deliver the best results? Data vs. information is an ongoing battle. Many people look for more data to make confident decisions. However, what most people seek is insight.

Retailers always have tracked what was sold, where it was sold and, in most cases, who it was sold to.  Since the advent of the bar code and modern POS and ERP Systems, more data has been acquired and stored in data warehouses. Now, retailers are adding third-party data, such as census information, to the mix. Read More »

Post a Comment

Why we need digital banks

Digital Bank Chris Skinner

We often hear from retail bank customers that they aren't satisfied with the revenue captured through digital channels. It was therefore with great interest that I embarked on the mission to understand Chris Skinner’s book Digital Bank.

Why we need digital banks

The book starts by painting the landscape of the digital natives. We need digital banks because there is this generation called Generation Z, generation D, iPops, or whatever you like to call them, that has grown up with the Internet. This is the generation that does not think about the Internet – it’s just there. They don’t think about branches or call centers. They see a world in which online, mobile, and other digital channels are seamlessly integrated into their world. They just think of these things as life.

The problem? While the world becomes populated by digital natives, retail banks are run by digital aliens, who do not get the digital life.

Read More »

Post a Comment

Has the Hadoop hype left you confused?

Perhaps you're a big data expert who is fluent in Pig, Hive, MapR and all the technologies associated with the open source big data framework. Or maybe your role hasn't yet been touched by the increasingly popular Hadoop system. It's certainly worth a few minutes of your time (or perhaps much more depending on your job) to have an unsderstanding of this cost-effective system that employs commodity servers to store huge amounts of data.

Allied Market Research says the Hadoop market was $2 billion in 2013 and is expected to show a compound annual growth rate of 58 percent between 2013 and 2020 when annual Hadoop spending will top $50 billion globally--about the same as the current market capitalization of Time Warner or General Motors.

So, if your knowledge of Hadoop ends at "something to do with big data," check out this three-minute video that provides an overview of this promising and emerging technology.

The Hadoop Ecosystem explained

Read More »

Post a Comment

World Cup: Complete; Data visualizations: Endless

We’re not sure about you, but we just had the most thrilling, suspenseful, and fun month we’ve had in a while. The 2014 FIFA World Cup may be over, but we’re still amazed by not only the game outcomes and level of athleticism, but also by the wealth of interesting statistics that comes along with a major international sporting event.

Here at SAS, we couldn’t help ourselves and had to take some of the World Cup data we found and throw it into SAS Visual Analytics. As you may know, SAS Visual Analytics provides deep insights into your data and advanced analytics on the fly. It literally takes seconds to load in your data and start exploring it. We took advantage of this speed to build some neat correlation matrices, line charts, bar charts, and geo maps. Do you think you know it all when it comes to the World Cup? Try answering these questions:

  • Do rich countries tend to win football games more often?
  • How old is Lionel Messi and how does his age affect his team’s market value?
  • Do home teams have an advantage? (Maybe not this year, but what about the previous World Cups?)
  • How does teamwork affect a game?
  • What affect do red cards have on the outcome of a game?

As you can imagine, we had a great time answering these questions and analyzing the results. Check them out in the SAS Visual Analytics community.

Read More »

Post a Comment

Can analytics improve elite athletic teams?

Rowing; GBR Media WRC Day.2013009050_v1 (Medium)When I started working at business analytics leader SAS, I had no idea I’d be helping the Great Britain Rowing Team plot their way to Olympic glory. While I haven’t, yet, got in a boat and started rowing, I have started working with them on how they can make better use of their data through their new partnership with SAS UK & Ireland.

We will be striving for marginal gains in performance that ultimately could be the difference between success and failure. It promises to be an exciting and hugely rewarding journey together!

At the moment, we’re just setting off on the road to Rio for the next Olympic Games in 2016. The team hope to emulate or even build on the stunning success they had at London 2012, where they topped the sport’s medal table with nine medals in total, including four golds.

Read More »

Post a Comment

Why standard ETL tools are not designed to support analytics

IT folks love SQL (Standard Query Language). Once you know how to program in SQL, you can work with almost any database because it is a standard.  However, SQL is NOT a standard for doing analytics. The SAS programming language pre-dates SQL and even though SAS does SQL, SQL does not do SAS.

SQL is a programming language designed for managing data held in a relational database management system.  SAS is a programming language designed to access data stored in any format, prepare it for analysis, perform analytics, and deliver insights and results based on this analysis.

Why is this important? Because when you move into the analytics world, SQL alone will just not cut it.

The decision to use "standard" ETL tools (which are SQL based) to support analytic environments and analytically derived data sources causes many headaches for IT, for business and ultimately for the organization as a whole. It can also limit what type of analytics can be used effectively and raises the overall risk of failure for analytic based initiatives or projects. In fact, one of the reasons "shadow IT" programs crop up in business units is because the data scientist types understand analytics preparation and exploration means more than what SQL has to offer.

Why is the typical ETL tool not the best choice for preparing data for analytics exploration and analysis? Let's look at a typical scenario.

Read More »

Post a Comment

Women in Hollywood IT, start your analytics engines!

sashollywoodI had the privilege of attending the inaugural Women in Hollywood IT Society (WHITS) meeting this past week in LA. The meeting was hosted by the Media and Entertainment Services Alliance (MESA) with lots of organization from two female IT executives from Sony Pictures. Sony Pictures already has a Women in Technology group and initiated expanding this to their peers. In attendance were 130 plus IT executives (primarily women) from the various Hollywood studios plus participants from technology vendors and systems integrators.

Read More »

Post a Comment

At SAS, healthy employees = healthy business

For 38 years, SAS CEO Jim Goodnight has run this company by a simple philosophy:  Treat employees like they make a difference and they will. It was with that philosophy in mind 30 years ago that SAS opened the doors to its on-site healthcare center – with just one employee!

Celebrating its 30th anniversary this week, the SAS Health Care Center (HCC) now has a 53-member staff – including 10 family nurse practitioners, four family practice physicians, three nutritionists, 11 nurses, five medical lab technologists, one psychologist and three physical therapists – all committed to keeping employees healthy, happy and productive.

happyemployeesFor three decades, the SAS Health Care Center has strived to make it as easy as possible for employees and their families to have their health care needs met and get their job done without sacrificing either. Its focus has always been to change lives for the better in a relaxed family-friendly atmosphere that focuses on building strong, trusting patient-provider relationships.

And, trust is apparent – as evidenced by the 90% of SAS global headquarters employees who use HCC services. Seventy-five percent of employees and 50% of their family members currently designate the HCC as their primary care medical home.

SAS is consistently recognized as a leader in workplace culture, and people continue to be surprised at the environment we provide for our employees. What actually surprises us is why more businesses don’t do the same. Not only is it the right thing to do, but it also just makes good business sense.

Read More »

Post a Comment

Wake me up before you go (go)

If you recognize this 1984 Wham! hit then you also recall girls in ties and blazers, guys in leisure suits, gas for $1.10 a gallon and seeing The Karate Kid at the Cineplex for $2.50 (at night!).

Jimmie_Bldg_D

SAS Health Care's first FNP Jimmie Butts in 1985

If you think music and fashion were suspect thirty years ago, consider SAS’ (then) novel idea to open an onsite health care center with—gasp!—a nurse practitioner. Nurse practitioners were pretty new to North Carolina in 1984, but an increasingly recognized and popular health care provider across the country in a movement that swept from Colorado to the east coast. FNP Jimmie Butts was hired in April 1984 and spent the first 3 months planning for and outfitting the space allotted on the ground floor of Bldg. L and chatting up the 200 or so employees who came to Bldg. B for lunch. From that elementary market research came the soil and seed from which our current Health Care Center grew and flourished. Jimmie was an excellent grower of people and ideas.  She worked her special magic for 10 years and retired in 1994.

Read More »

Post a Comment