The message from Opening Session: “What if?”


SAS Global Forum 2010 kicked off in Seattle with an Opening Session that showcased award-winning customers, an update on high performance computing , a pretty cool demo of SAS’ new solution, Social Media Analytics, and phenomenal results from LA County. If you missed the 90-minute extravaganza, here are the highlights:

Asking: "What if?"
Conference Chair Lauren Haworth from Genentech welcomed the more than 3,000 participants saying, “We are the ones in our organizations who know how to crunch the data and turn the ‘What ifs?' into meaningful outcomes.”

Award-winning customers
The Enterprise Excellence Award, given annually to customers who are using SAS in new ways to excel in their business, was presented to GE Rail Services, which operates in the US, Canada and Mexico; Canada Post, the primary postal operator in Canada; Lloyd’s, the largest retail bank in the UK; and Telstra, Australia’s leading telecommunications services company.

In presenting the User Feedback Award to Monika Nauroth from Santander Consumer Bank, Vice President of Technical Support Annette Harris said Nauroth’s suggestions and feedback about SAS Credit Scoring provided “reliability and expanded functionality to the solution. “Monika is a shining example of someone who doesn’t complacently accept what is, but asks ‘What if?’” Harris said.

Breakthroughs in high performance computing
SAS CEO Jim Goodnight turned the discussion to high performance computing. Last June in Singapore, a customer mentioned to Goodnight how long it took – in some cases 18 hours – to compute certain risk calculations. In the past year, SAS has worked on that problem in its Advanced Computing Lab. The results? Those same computations can now be done in minutes -- two minutes and 15 seconds as Goodnight demonstrated on stage.

A new solution: SAS Social Media Analytics
Only 5 percent of data today is structured and there are now more Twitter and Facebook users than e-mail users. Businesses need a way to harness the data from social media networks like blogs, discussion forums, Twitter and YouTube. Jim Davis unveiled a brand-new SAS solution that meets this need: SAS Social Media Analytics.

Mike Keppler, Senior Vice President of Sales, Marketing and Revenue Systems for Marriott International, and Mark Chaves, Customer Intelligence Support Product Manager, demoed the new SAS solution, showing how Marriott was able to determine brand sentiment over time, drilling down on specific attributes of Marriott. The company was also able to identify major influencers and found some surprising results in influencers who they'd never heard of, but who were having a powerful effect on the conversation about Marriott.

"Social media is obviously the next revolution in the customer experience," said Keppler. "You have to have social media connected to your marketing plan."

Fraud detection results from LA County
Manuel Moreno, Director of Research for the Chief Executive Office of Los Angeles (Calif.) County took the stage to share how SAS Social Network Analysis gives them his team the ability to detect fraud rings. ”With SAS Social Network Analysis, we anticipate annual savings of $21 million. This is a huge cost savings for county and taxpayers,” Moreno said.


About Author

Anne-Lindsay Beall

Senior Editor

Anne-Lindsay Beall is a writer and editor for SAS. Since joining the company in 2000, Anne-Lindsay has edited print publications, Web sites, customer success stories, blogs and digital publications. She has a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a master’s degree in English from North Carolina State University. You can find her on LinkedIn at:

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