Calculate a moving average using periodic operators in SAS Visual Analytics Designer

Calculate a moving average using periodic operators in SAS Visual AnalyticsThumbAnalysts often use a simple moving average to get an idea of the trends in data. This is simply an average of a subset of time periods, and the size of the subset can differ depending on the application. The technique can be used with data based on time periods, such as sales data, expense data, telecom data, or stock market data. The average is called ‘moving’ because it is continually recomputed as more data becomes available. This type of average is also called a ‘rolling average’ or ‘running average’. In this post, I’ll share a little bit about how to use the periodic operators in SAS Visual Analytics Designer to calculate a simple moving average.

The report below, created in the designer, shows the summary of the Amount column by month. The Three-Month Moving Average column displays the average of a month and the previous two months’ Amount sums. The 3-month sum is simply divided by 3.

Calculate a moving average using periodic operators in SAS Visual Analytics

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Steps to visualize cell phone data in SAS Visual Analytics: Can you hear me now?

For many people, building something from scratch, no matter how simple or complex, is fascinating. That’s why programs similar to How’s It Made are so appealing and, for me, addicting. And thus, the inspiration for this blog; I will walk you through building a set of graphs and how to improve each visualization through my own personal iterative process. Like all forms of art, a visualization is never complete, as constant improvement, tweaking and alterations are required to accommodate the constant influx of data and the ever changing needs of our audience.

These graphs use telecom data about cell phone network service including call duration and data usage.

Example 1: Calls versus Drops

In this first example, I noticed that the data contained the number of calls and the number of dropped calls. Like most analytics, audiences are interested in the outliers. In this case, we look at the poor performing occurrence of a call being dropped. This data would prove useful if a company wanted to research poor performing cell technology either of the handset itself or of the cell towers. It could also be used to find any dead zones, where additional towers may need to be added. In this example, I decided to plot the data against the 24-hour day to determine if volume of calls impacted the number of calls dropped.

Example 1: Iteration 1
Naturally, I started with a bar chart visualization. I plotted the hours of the day (24-hour scale) on the x-axis and the number of calls and the number of dropped calls on the y-axis. At first glance, it looks like there is some variation in the number of dropped calls and the hour of the day.

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A quick way to update to SAS Studio 3.5

update_to_SASStudio_ 3.5Update-in-place supports the ability to update a SAS Deployment within a major SAS release. Updates often provide new versions of SAS products. However, when using the SAS Deployment Wizard to perform an update-in-place you cannot selectively update a machine or product. As a general rule if you want to update one product in a SAS Deployment you have to update the whole deployment. With the latest version of SAS Studio, that’s not the case.  You can now update from version 3.4 to version 3.5 of SAS Studio without updating any other part of your SAS deployment.

SAS Studio 3.5 contains some interesting new functionality:

  • A new batch submit feature.
  • The ability to create global settings for all SAS Studio users at your site.
  • A new Messages window that displays information about the programs, tasks, queries, and process flows that you run.
  • A new table of contents in results.
  • New keyboard shortcuts to add and insert code snippets.
  • Many new tasks for statistical process control, multivariate analysis, econometric analysis, and power and sample size analysis. For more information, see SAS Studio Tasks.

For my purposes, I was really interested in using the batch submit feature. Using “Batch Submit” a user can run a saved SAS program in batch mode, which means that the program will run in the background while you continue to use SAS Studio. When you run a program in batch mode, you can view the status of programs that have been submitted, and you can cancel programs that are currently running.

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Improve matching results with suggestion based matching in SAS Data Quality

Suggestion based matching in SAS Data QualityHave you ever had problems matching data that has typographical errors in it? Because of the nature of arbitrary typos and incorrect spelled words a specific matching technique is required to tackle those cases. SAS Data Quality, with its traditional, in nature deterministic matching approach is by nature not best suited for correctly matching typos such as character transpositions and missing or additional characters in words. But SAS provides a feature called suggestion based matching in SAS Data Quality especially designed for matching data with typos. Suggestion based matching provides a more probabilistic alike way towards matching. With suggestion based matching, SAS Data Quality will output multiple matchcodes based on alternative “suggestions” for a data field. Each suggestion also includes a score that reflects the closeness of the suggestion to input word.

Let's dive a little deeper.

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Present at SAS Global Forum 2017 – Call for content now open

SASGF2017_globeEditor's note: This blog includes the Call For Content Announcement and Frequently Asked Questions.

SAS Global Forum is the premier event for SAS users to learn, teach, and network with each other and SAS experts. SAS Global Forum 2017 takes place April 2-5 in Orlando, Florida, where you can join more than 5,000 SAS users from nearly every country imaginable. Although SAS Global Forum 2017 is several months away, the first milestone is upon us: our Call for Content!

By October 3, 2016, submit a topic of interest that SAS users like yourself will want to learn about. Maybe you have a new idea, technique or best practice you want to share. Perhaps you just figured out something cool or unique you can do in SAS. Submit it! It might just be the perfect solution to a question a fellow user has wrestled with for years. The continuing success of SAS Global Forum is due to users like you sharing their great ideas. The User Program at SAS Global Forum 2017, like Forums previous, will remain true to the program’s promise of being wholly designed and executed by SAS users, for SAS users.

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MWSUG preview: When ANY Function will just NOT do!

mwsug-2016-logoWhen I attended my first SAS conference in 2003 I was not only a first-timer, I was a first time presenter.  Needless to say I was a bit nervous.  I did not know what to expect.  Was my topic good enough for these savvy programmers and statisticians?  Well my first time was an experience I will never forget.  I gave my presentation to a relatively full room and I thought it went well enough, but I was shocked when I found out I got best paper in the section.  Ever since then I have been actively involved with SAS conferences, whether presenting or helping as a conference committee member.  After years of presenting and helping, I was asked to be the Academic Chair.  I was beyond thrilled. But I won’t let the position stop me from actually presenting some material that I have found to be very helpful at this year’s Midwest SAS Users Group.

One of the things I do in my job is I look for functions that can help make my job easier.  Once I find these functions, I like to research them and see how I can incorporate them into my programming to make it more efficient.  This year at MWSUG I will share some of my findings via an e-Poster, “When ANY Function will Just NOT Do.”

The e-Poster illustrates the concept of what I like to refer to as the “ANY and NOT Functions.” Some of the functions in this group are ANYALNUM, NOTALNUM, ANYALPHA and NOTALPHA.  Below are some snippets of code that show how some of these functions can be used to determine if there is an alphabetic character, a number or punctuation in the variable.

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Managing Server Access for SAS Mobile BI Users

Managing Server Access for SAS Mobile BI UsersTablets, phablets, smartphones.

These mobile devices not only travel to different corners of the earth with their owners; they participate in certain adventures that can result in an unexpected turn of events.

Thanks to their mobility, these devices can be misplaced. And they could be found later. In rare cases, they can get lost. In the event that a user is separated from his or her mobile device, there are security mechanisms in place for protecting access to your organization’s server where data and reports reside.

Whether mobile devices accompany their SAS Mobile BI 7.33 users to the Himalayas or to the Sahara Desert, they certainly need to be tracked and managed by administrators. In my last blog, I talked about how an app-specific passcode protects access to the SAS Mobile BI app by preventing anyone other than the SAS Mobile BI user from accessing the app on the mobile device. Now, let’s take a look at how your administrators manage and protect access from the SAS Mobile BI app on your devices to connect to servers in your organization.

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Working with dates in SAS Visual Analytics: Comparing to the previous year

After posting a couple of blogs on the subject of dates and date formats in Visual Analytics Designer, I got a question from a user who wondered how to compare data for a selected date to data from the same day of the previous year. Here’s one way to do this.

The example report enables a user to type in a date value in a variety of formats and displays the sale amount for the specified date, along with the sale amount for the same day of the previous year.

Working with dates in SAS Visual Analytics

The data source includes information on thousands of orders. Irrelevant data items have been hidden, with the items of interest shown below. Transaction Date has an associated MMDDYYYY format and Transaction Weekday is simply a duplicate of the date with an associated Day of Week format.

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ProblemSolversIf you are using the second maintenance release of SAS 9.3 (TS1M2) or later, you might have noticed that you have several map-related libraries that are defined for you.

  • The MAPS library contains the old map data sets that have been provided with SAS/GRAPH® software for many years.  The source for these data sets was mainly freely available data or purchased data. As a result, it became difficult or impossible to provide updates to this data.
  • The MAPSGFK library contains new map data sets that are licensed through GfK Geomarketing and that are provided as part of SAS/GRAPH software.
  • The MAPSSAS library points to the same location as the MAPS library.

Determining which library to use

You should use the MAPSGFK data sets to produce your maps.  There are several advantages to using the MAPSGFK data sets:

  • The older MAPS library data sets contain outdated data, and this library will not be updated.
  • The MAPSGFK data is updated more frequently.
  • The MAPSGFK data sets standardize the variables in the data set. For example, the X and Y variables always contain the projected values, and LONG and LAT always contain the unprojected values.

Each of the data sets also contains the ID variable, as shown in the following example, to enable you to create a map without knowing about the boundaries that are contained in the data set.

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Use Percent of Total and Reference Lines to ask better business questions

Reference lines on a visualization are used to help identify goals or targets, acceptable or unacceptable ranges, etc; basically any metric that puts a frame of reference around the values on the visualization.

The Percent of Total of a metric is used to help identify a part-to-whole relationship. It answers the question, how much of the whole does this piece represent?

In this blog, let’s take a look at how you can use both the Percent of Total metric and Reference Lines  to enhance your data visualizations using SAS Visual Analytics.

Example 1

In this section, we are reporting on the Percent of Total for Revenue. First, look at the single select List control object. You’ll see I have displayed the available Product Lines and their corresponding frequency percent. This allows the report viewer to quickly understand the number of rows associated with that Product Line when compared to the whole of the data.

Next, under the List control object, we have a Stacked Bar Chart graphing the Revenue (Percent of Total) which allows the report viewer to understand the part-to-whole relationship of the Products that make up that Product Line. While we can clearly see that the Board Product, colored in blue, is outperforming the other two Products, it may be difficult to tell which remaining Product is pulling in the higher Revenue.

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