Don’t throw away that data – it might be worth something!

We’ve all been there. You’ve knuckled down, cleaned out the garage, the attic, and that cupboard under the stairs, thrown away a ton of stuff, only to need it again the very next week. Until recently, that’s exactly what many businesses did with their data.

Garbage Truck

Don't treat your data like garbage and lose it forever

The data explosion has radically changed how and where we accumulate data, and the way we approach the tough decisions about what data to retain longer-term and what data is of value.

Businesses and consumers are producing data at levels never before seen. In fact, IDC estimates that enterprise data doubles every 18 months. It’s claimed that as much as 75 percent of that data is unstructured, coming from sources such as text, sensors, voice and video. This is exciting for businesses as all that data presents opportunities to unlock value.

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Visualizing your personal analytics with SAS

How do they know that?

How do they know that?

Have you noticed how your smart phone seems to know everything about you? Where you live, where you work, and even how long your daily commute will take!

A lot of that information is generated by your daily activities while using your connected devices. There is much to be found by analyzing the massive amounts of data generated by the Internet of Things (IoT), and smart organizations are starting to do just that.

Wouldn't it be cool if you had this power too? To collect your own IoT data and then to explore it to find patterns and insights? Well, you can! In this three-part series, you will find out how SAS Visual Analytics gives you the power to explore your very own Internet of Things!

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Retailers see checkout analytics pay off with Toshiba partnership

78771236On Monday, SAS announced the beginning of a new era with its Toshiba Global Commerce Solutions OEM partnership. This is the first time SAS has provided its technology for an equipment manufacturer to wrap into its solution  to help retail customers gain the benefits of advanced analytics.

We always ask the question, “Is this good for our SAS customers and prospects?” It has been and always will be important that retailers also focus on the needs of their consumers in whatever they do, so it’s only appropriate that we challenge ourselves with the same question.

The SAS-Toshiba partnership, which provides built-in analytics at the point of sale, is good news for retailers and their customers in a few ways: Read More »

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Early adopter bets on Hadoop maturity — and wins

Bob Zurek, Senior Vice President of Products, Epsilon

Bob Zurek, Senior Vice President of Products, Epsilon

Was it really just three years ago that an IT leader needed nerves of steel to commit to a business-critical application that used Hadoop? As Epsilon's VP of Products Bob Zurek can tell you: It was.

While the open source big data framework was considered a huge gamble for digital marketing agency Epsilon three years ago, the company couldn’t be more pleased with its bet-the-company technology choice. Consider Epsilon’s position today as described at SAS Global Forum 2015 by Zurek: Read More »

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May the 4th be with you (2015 edition)!

I'm a huge Star Wars fan. I got chills when I saw the trailer for The Force Awakens!  Last year for SAS Global Forum, I wrote a paper called Star Wars and the Art of Data Science.  I explored the scripts from the original Star Wars trilogy (A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi) using SAS Contextual Analysis and SAS Visual Analytics. 

Since it's once again May the 4th, an unofficial Star Wars holiday, I thought I'd revisit the topic. In the paper, I was mainly focused on overall trends from the three movies.  In this edition, I'll zero in on some of the characters.

For Star Wars fans, you'll already be familiar with the results because you've seen the movies often enough to have the dialogue memorized.  Validation can actually be a very positive thing.  It shows that your data processes are sound.

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Will technology replace the need for data scientists?

42-16777276I read an interesting article recently that suggested analyst and data scientist job positions may be on the way out. The author argued that analytics are being incorporated more and more heavily into operational systems, making “analytic capabilities” more readily accessible to business users without the involvement of a data scientist.

Being a data scientist and a manager of an analytics team, this insinuation definitely gave me pause.

It is true that operational systems, in an effort grow their business and stay competitive, are continuing to focus on added built-in analytics for their solutions.  Honestly, it’s been a while since I’ve come across an operational system that doesn’t offer some form of data visualization or dashboard capabilities.

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How to be a part of the data-for-good movement

It’s an incredibly exciting time for data science.

Just ask Jake Porway, former New York Times Data Scientist and now CEO of DataKind, who opened his April 28 SAS Global Forum keynote by asking busy conference goers to pause and reflect on the revolutionary times we are living in.

“Cell phones now outnumber the number of people on the globe. Almost every activity we take online is digitized and tracked…We’re starting to instrument our bodies as if they were machines,” he said. “Almost every interaction we now have with our world or between each other takes place with a digital interface in between, something that creates data…data that allows us to see things we’ve never seen before.”

Porway2

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What's the No. 1 barrier to analytics success?

DataScienceTeamAs the age old idiom goes, the early bird gets the worm and the early adopter gets the break. New technologies give clear advantages to those organisations that figure out before their early-adopting competitors how to use them effectively, an advantage that recedes as others catch up, and the technology becomes mainstream.

Whether it's the invention of the spinning machine during the industrial revolution, Ford’s adoption of the moving assembly line transforming car manufacturing, or city traders feverishly gaining computing speed for millisecond long advantages – being early can be the difference between success and missing the boat altogether. Consider Blockbuster Video, HMV, BlackBerry etc. ... just a few of the many sob stories from businesses that moved too little, too late.

Analytics, while still a significant source of competitive advantage, is showing signs of having peaked as a competitive differentiator. In short, the use of analytics has become mainstream. However, what we’re now seeing is a new kind of gap emerging. Not between the adopters and the non-adopters but in enterprises’ ability to apply what they’ve adopted. The distinction is in how effectively organisations can consume analytical insights.

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Use the right model to analyze library use

When it comes to library amenities, it’s tough to top those at North Carolina State University.

The Hunt Library bookBot (Photo courtesy of North Carolina State).

The Hunt Library bookBot (Photo courtesy of North Carolina State).

The historic D. H. Hill Library on North Carolina State University’s campus boasts an ice cream shop that whips up sundaes and milkshakes with NC State’s own ice cream.

But when the new James B. Hunt, Jr. Library opened in January 2013, it served up more than 31 flavors of modern collaboration spaces, electronic walls, recording studios, 3D printing and the ultimate robotic search engine: the bookBot, which stores books in 1/9 the space of traditional shelving.

In the bookBot, books are barcoded, sorted by size, and stored in over 18,000 bins. Library patrons browse and request materials through a computer interface and request for the book to be delivered via a system of robotic cranes and delivery locations.

The Hunt Library attracted plenty of visitors who practically salivated over the space in its debut year, but what effect did it have on actual book circulation – the long-standing bread and butter of college campus libraries?

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Data scientist as venture capitalist

Ravi Shanbhag, UnitedHealthcare, speaks at SAS Global Forum Executive Conference

Ravi Shanbhag, UnitedHealthcare, speaks at SAS Global Forum Executive Conference

We’ve all heard the old saw, “If you torture data long enough, eventually it will confess to something.” But when it comes to spurring real change, how about ditching the dungeon-master act and thinking like a venture capitalist instead? Wouldn’t that pay bigger dividends?

That was the tip from Ravi Shanbhag, Director of Data Science at UnitedHealthcare. The health benefits provider is one of SAS’ largest customers and partners, so Shanbhag joined the SAS Global Forum Executive Conference as a longtime user of SAS. In a presentation entitled “Visualizing the Customer Journey through Analytics,” he detailed two use cases for social media – one that provided a clearer picture of competitors, and another that explained how to help customers in trouble. Read More »

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