IFSUG kicks off with a bang!


This week I attended the inaugural Insurance and Finance SAS User Group conference at the SAS Headquarters in Cary, NC. The two-day conference was well attended by 80 members of our insurance and financial services customer community, and attendees were treated to a variety of presentations focused on these industry verticals. Our own CEO, Dr. Jim Goodnight, CTO Keith Collins, and Sales Executive David Macdonald gave keynote presentations highlighting SAS’s development efforts in support of business (and high performance!) analytics specifically benefiting these industries.

IFSUG is joining a growing number of special interest SAS user communities that are vertically or horizontally aligned. These groups are extremely complementary to existing geographically based SAS communities and help supplement general content with industry or topic relevant thought-leadership.

I enjoyed the conference particularly because it addresses an underserved population of the user community – front-line leaders. These people aren’t getting into the Proc Weeds or developing McKinsey-type business strategies – they’re the leaders who are responsible for executing on analytic business strategies and managing end-users.

The conference featured four tracks across banking, risk management, insurance and credit cards, exploring diverse topics such as telematics for insurance, marketing optimization, loss modeling, portfolio backtesting, and my own personal favorite presentation on leveraging Lean Six Sigma to improve analytic processes (okay, this was my presentation – I’ll talk more about this later).

Since its official kickoff in mid-2011, the IFSUG community has grown to 500 members. They’re already scoping out locations for their next venue. In the meantime, you can visit them on the SAS Community site, join the LinkedIn group or follow them on Twitter at @IFSUG. The conference presentations and papers will be available in the next couple of weeks, so if you weren’t able to attend, you can still enjoy the great content!


About Author

Rachel Alt-Simmons

Business Transformation Lead - Customer Intelligence Practice

Rachel Alt-Simmons is a business transformation practitioner whose expertise extends to operationalizing analytic capabilities vertically and horizontally through organizations. As the Business Transformation Lead for customer analytics at SAS Institute, she is responsible for redesign and optimization of operational analytic workflow, business process redesign, training/knowledge transfer, and change management strategies for customers. Prior to SAS, Rachel served as Assistant Vice President, Center of Excellence, Enterprise Business Intelligence & Analytics at Travelers, and as Director, BI & Analytics, Global Wealth Management at The Hartford. Rachel Alt-Simmons is a certified Project Management Professional, certified Agile Practitioner, Six Sigma Black Belt, certified Lean Master, and holds a post as adjunct professor of computer science at Boston University’s Metropolitan College. She received her master’s degree in Computer Information Systems from Boston University.

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