SAS Global Forum 2015—start your journey today

Hello, I’m Dr. Tyler Smith, your SAS Global Forum 2015 conference chair.

SAS Global Forum 2014 ended a few short days ago. What a wonderful conference—a breath-taking venue, record-breaking registration and exciting announcements from SAS for the Academic Community.

SAS Global Forum is the premier worldwide event for SAS professionals. Every year since 1976, the conference brings together the best and brightest SAS users and experts. It’s always focused on giving you the ultimate conference experience by offering the best quality and most relevant content possible – and, of  course, ensuring you have fun doing it. After all, as I tell my children, we are in a rare field where we are paid to solve puzzles! That same sense of fun and spirit of discovery has really come in handy as we’ve worked to shape the 2015 conference. Read More »

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Opportunity…Share, Present, Win!

Editor’s note:  Bob Whitehead has been a SAS user for 30 years and won his first trip to SAS Global Forum! Both Michelle and Bob Whitehead are members of Western Australia SAS User Group (WASUP). This excerpt from Michelle Homes’ post on the SAS blog Left of the Date Line tells the story. 

Headshot of SASGF 2014 trip winner Bob Whitehead and Michelle Homes

Bob Whitehead, Bankwest, with Michelle Homes, Metacoda, at SAS Global Forum 2014

The New Year brings fresh opportunities, and 2014 is an exciting year for SAS users in the Australia New Zealand (ANZ) region to form connections, share ideas and get inspired!

At the start of 2013, Hanlie Myburgh, SAS Customer Advocacy Manager for ANZ, announced a new incentive to encourage SAS users to present at their local SAS user group: the Best Presentation Award. This award is given to the presenter with the best presentation content determined by attendee feedback in the evaluation form/online survey. The winner receives an Apple iPod and the chance to win the MAIN PRIZE – a trip to SAS Global Forum 2014 in March, with flights, accommodation and registration expenses all covered by SAS Institute Australia.  In 2013 there were 15 best presentation winners who were placed in the random draw for the MAIN PRIZE and on Friday 17thJanuary 2014

Bob shares his experience in being a presenter at WASUP as follows:

“I have always enjoyed presenting new topics at these events. The opportunity to learn something new and impart that knowledge to other SAS customers is a great experience. The unexpected surprise of winning a trip to the SAS Global Forum in Washington DC this year is obviously fantastic.  After almost 30 years of being involved with SAS, I have yet to attend a SAS Global Forum.”

Bob would also like to “Thank SAS Institute Australia for supporting the various user community groups around Australia and providing such a great incentive for people who choose to present papers.”

Keep an eye out for Bob’s presentation on his experience at SAS Global Forum 2014 at the Q2 2014 WASUP meeting in June.

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SAS communities: The power of all

SAS Global Forum 2014, included a meetup of SAS users who are active in various online communities. During the meetup I was struck by the tremendous opportunities that these communities provide. All year long, the online communities demonstrate the conference theme: "the potential of one, the power of all." This article highlights these SAS communities. As you read, consider whether participating in these communities might help you become better in your job as a SAS programmer.

SAS Support Communities

The biggest and most active online community is also my favorite: the SAS Support Communities. At the Support Communities, you can ask questions about using SAS software or share your knowledge and experience by answering someone else's question. The graph at the left (click to enlarge) shows recent activity in the SAS Support Communities. The number of posts in 2013 is plotted against the 2012 traffic on a log10 scale for various subcommunities. Each subcommunity serves a specific industry or SAS product. You can see that some subcommunities, such as the one that discusses SAS Macro and DATA step issues, had 10,000 or more posts in 2013. Other communities had less traffic. For example the SAS/IML Community had 500 posts, which represents a 67% increase over the 2012 traffic. Overall, there were more than 36,000 posts in the support communities during 2013. Anyone can read the threads in the SAS Support Community, but you need to register in order to post a question or an answer. Read More »
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SAS hits sweet spot at SAS Global Forum 2014

My husband is a life-long golfer so I’m no stranger to the term “sweet spot”. So when I heard the applause after Dr. Goodnight announced free software for students and faculty, my first thought was SAS has hit the sweet spot with this one.

At WUSS in November, I attended a panel session on SAS in the Cloud, which was largely a discussion of SAS OnDemand for Academics, the software offering for the Academic Community. There were two recurring themes among panelists and audience:  students with Apple devices having no access to SAS and students often frustrated with installing SAS on their devices.

In the few short months since the Las Vegas conference, SAS has made good progress in expanding access to SAS software. For many, the highlight of SAS Global Forum 2014 was the launch of SAS Analytics U and the announcements of the SAS University Edition that will be released later this spring. Read More »

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Catalyst Cafe--sharing a passion for the product

Well, if I were asked to name the most intriguing spot in the SAS Support and Demo Area, it would probably be The Catalyst Café sponsored by SAS R&D. This exciting new area at SAS Global Forum 2014 is aptly name:  a informal meeting place dedicated to jump-starting  ideas for how SAS can enhance your user experience with SAS software.

Talking to SAS users one-on-one and hearing your enthusiasm for the software is why SAS Global Forum is so very powerful for SAS employees. Here in the demo hall, you can see the “Potential of One, Power of All” in action—not only within the SAS user community but also among the SAS staff who develop, test and support the products you work with every day.

I snapped a couple photos for a little taste of the area--each station is a creative way to capture your feedback.

“Just Tell Us” Feedback Forum. SAS  is making your feedback more personal through videos. Do you have something you want to say to SAS developers about your product? If you’re still at the conference, come on down and chat with the folks in Catalyst Cafe! Read More »

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New SAS division enhances customer support

In December, Kathy Council gave us the scoop on the consolidation of several divisions at SAS into a single organization focused on customer support. At this morning’s 2014 Technology Connection, Fritz Lehman, Vice President of SAS Customer Engagement and Support, shared his vision by responding to some of your requests and questions about support.

“Over last year to eighteen months, SAS has been gathering information about your experience with SAS”, said Lehman. “In response, SAS has been reorganizing to try address some of what we’ve learned. In particular, we’ve brought the divisions that have a lot of customer contact together into one larger Customer Engagement and Support Division. By merging and sharing information, we hope to get to know each one of you better and can be more proactive in the services we offer.”

Lehman used this opportunity to address some of the questions or requests SAS hears most often: Read More »

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SAS Global Forum 2014--live on your desktop

Yesterday, I was on a phone call with a disappointed SAS user who won't be attending SAS Global Forum 2014. Like many others, her organization is facing another year of reduced travel and conference budgets.

While there's no substitute for attending in person, live webcasts from SAS Global Forum make it possible to hear first-hand from conference leaders, SAS users and select SAS staff. It's like having a mini-conference right on your desktop!

You'll find a daily playlist of live webcast events on the SAS Global Forum Live and On Demand site. Here's an overview of some of the great content you can take advantage of:

  • Opening Session:  Join us at the main stage for some of the biggest announcements and presentations during the conference. You will hear from Marje Fecht, this year's conference chair as well as key members of the SAS executive team, including SAS CEO Jim Goodnight.
  • Technology Connection: Hear more about what's new in the world of SAS technology. Plus, SAS will review the results of this year's SASware Ballot®.
  • Keynotes:  There’s an exciting line-up of keynote speakers for SAS Global Forum 2014.
  • Session Presentations: Hear SAS staff and experts from the SAS community share tips and best practices for SAS products and tools. Check the daily schedules for topics of interest.
  • Live Reports: Each 30- to 45-minute report features several brief, informative interviews with key thought leaders at the conference on a wide range of SAS topics.
  • Tech Talks: Chris Hemedinger will be “Talking Tech”. Every day of the conference, Chris will take you on a tour of the technology and solutions that created a buzz on the conference demo floor.
  • Inside SAS® Global Forum: Tune in to this video series, where our hosts Chris Hemedinger and Lisa Arney will be interviewing SAS executives, SAS developers, paper presenters and others, giving viewers a look at hot topics that were discussed at this exciting conference.

And don’t forget—stay tuned to your SAS Global Forum social media channels to follow #SASGF14 for up-to-the-minute announcements from the conference.

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SAS user community—making things happen!

Learning. Sharing knowledge. Catching up with colleagues. My favorite part of attending SAS Global Forum is connecting with other SAS users from around the globe. SAS Global Forum 2014 is run for SAS users, by SAS users and all of the content presented at the event is from users like you. That’s unique! More remarkable is that SAS users have been meeting like this since 1976.

Over the years, SAS users found ways to continue to share, collaborate---even maintain lasting friendships—long after the event was over. That being said, you don’t want to miss the Online Communities Meet-Up on Tuesday night. This convergence of six different but important online groups includes multiple international communities, SAS Support Communities, SAS-L listserve and sasCommunity.org. sasCommunity.org in particular will be sharing new plans, including a call for motivated volunteers to help with developing and enhancing the site.

Like SAS Global Forum, sasCommunity.org is run for SAS users, by SAS users. It also contains over five years’ worth of technically rich, SAS-user-contributed content. Just browse the site’s longstanding Sasopedia to see what I mean. And if you want a glimpse into the history of SAS user content, check out their catalog of historical conference papers from 1976 to 1996. Conversely, you can subscribe to the sasCommunity.org Planet, a collection of progressive blog entries from the SAS user community. Other new features make it even easier to be involved and stay connected.

sasCommunity.org recently announced a way for presenters to create a presentations index page for their work. This new feature makes it easier to create articles about your presentations, share your presentation materials and continue the discussion online after the conference has ended.

Whether we are talking about online communities, SAS users groups or SAS Global Forum, one thing is clear:  the fact that for so many years SAS users self-organize to connect, share and create value for themselves and others speaks to the rich history and bright future of SAS users worldwide.

See you soon at SAS Global Forum 2014!

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SAS Global Forum--3 ways you're lucky to attend

Today is St. Patrick’s Day, and classrooms all over the US are decorated with shamrocks and the green top hats of the mythical leprechaun. According to legend, if you ever catch one, the leprechaun has the magical power to grant three wishes in exchange for its release (not to mention the pot of gold they guard). Anyone who catches one of these creatures is lucky indeed!

In seven short days, many of us will be gathering in Washington, DC, for SAS Global Forum 2014. Although conference planners can’t grant magical wishes like leprechauns, they have found three ways to make attendees feel really lucky:

  • Haven’t registered yet? You don’t have to catch a leprechaun to have your wish granted. This year, online registration is open through March 23, and discounted day passes are still available for SAS users in the DC area. Arrive early, and you can take advantage of the parking passes too. That’s better than finding a lucky clover.
  • Fun, meals and giveaways—participation at SAS Global Forum includes all of these. If you join in the gaming from your smart phone, you could win prizes (no pot of gold but still very cool prizes!) And don’t forget to post some pics on Instagram.
  • There’s no rainbow, but you will find gold at the conference—gold in the form of valuable SAS content and support. Don’t miss the more than 70,000 square feet of software demos, problem-solving clinics and SAS staff, sponsors and partners in the SAS Support and Demo Area. And for the first time, pre- and post-conference tutorials are open to the public. Seats are still available.

I’ll be at SAS Global Forum this year! Hope to see you too. We can talk about all the presentations, people and activities that make us feel lucky we attended.

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