We can watch games on TV, rent a movie from Redbox, and Google our favorite SAS procedures when we’ve forgotten how something works. There are a myriad of ways to get entertained or educated in a second-hand way. But, whether it’s being at the ballpark, in a theater, or at SAS Global Forum – there’s nothing like being there in person. I look forward every year to being there at SAS Global Forum. There’s something about hearing and seeing someone talk about a project, solution or technique that you just can’t get from just reading about it. And, being surrounded by thousands of like-minded folks has a way of energizing me for long after the conference ends.
Once you’re there at SAS Global Forum 2014, with over 500 sessions in three days, the task of finding the things that you want to see might seem daunting. At my first conference more than 20 years ago, everything was on paper, and it was a time-consuming task to come up with a plan of attack. Now, you don’t have to look through pages of titles or abstracts to find the presentations that might interest you. The conference scheduler is a great tool for getting the most out of the conference. Log in and click on “My Schedule” and you can search on keywords, topics or names and find presentations that match your needs. And you can check the schedule on the SAS Global Forum 2014 mobile app too.
My passion is reporting, so I started my search with the obvious topics, such as ODS, Excel, PROC REPORT, graphics, and so on. This filtered down the 500+ to a manageable list from which I could peruse the abstracts and with just a click, put it on my personal schedule. I quickly added Cynthia Zender’s presentation on ACROSS in PROC REPORT, Scott Huntley’s presentation on PDF and HTML, Chevell Parker’s presentation on ODS and Excel, and a number of others.
You can also search on presenter name. I knew that Vince DelGobbo has always done a great job presenting on SAS and Excel. Lo and behold, a search on his name found “Ask Vince: Moving SAS® Data and Analytical Results to Microsoft Excel.” The abstract says that it will be “an open-ended discussion about techniques for transferring data and analytical results from SAS® to Microsoft Excel…and to come prepared to ask and get answers to your questions.” There’s even a web link in the abstract to submit your questions in advance. What did I say about how much better it is to be there in person!
It doesn’t matter what your SAS interests are – there will be something for you at the conference. And while you’re there, make sure to take advantage of another thing you can’t get any other way – the SAS Support and Demo Area. The room is filled with developers, technical support analysts and other SAS staff that are just waiting to talk with you. I’ve always been impressed that with the time they take, whether it’s answering your questions or listening to how you use SAS. It’s also the place to see “Super Demos” – short presentations focused mostly on new features you might not be familiar with.
There are a lot of reasons for “being there” when it comes to SAS Global Forum. I hope you can make it and that you’ll look me up if you do.