Data Integration: Blistering ETL Performance Using the Intelligent, Dynamic and Parallel Capabilities of SAS


For all our SAS Global Forum connoisseurs, welcome to this series - Snapshot of the Best Papers of 2010.
Despite running for more than three decades, there’s always something new and exciting cooking at SAS Global Forum. Through this series, I will be sharing some of those vibrant flavors from our current tracks and section descriptions, as well as interesting aha! moments from our 2010 paper winners.

The last post in this series featured Ian Healy and Rocket Wong, the paper winners from the Business Intelligence and Analytics section. This week’s signature dish is presented by David Logan in his Blistering ETL Performance Using the Intelligent, Dynamic and Parallel Capabilities of SAS. It won the best paper under the Data Integration section. This year, the section is chaired by Sue Douglass, who works as an independent consultant. The track focuses on the latest processes for efficiently transforming data into accurate user information. You can become a star by giving a presentation that best demonstrates the basic features of SAS Data Integration Studio and techniques for implementing ETL, along with robust methods for integrating data.

I reached out to Logan, the star presenter winner of 2010 to find out how he prepared for his paper. Logan is the principal consultant at the PBT Group, South Africa.

VI: Why did you pick this topic: Blistering ETL Performance Using the Intelligent, Dynamic and Parallel Capabilities of SAS? Was there a particular business problem you were trying to solve?
DL: I was trying to solve the problems of data quality and ETL processing time in a multibillion row telecoms environment; that kind of volume requires a bit of thinking “outside the box.”

VI: Is there anything you’d like to share that’s not in your paper?
DL: The paper pretty much outlines the approach to be used, which we had considerable success with. The approach is then refined depending on the exact nature of a particular ETL environment and problem.

VI: How did you prepare for the presentation? Do you have any tips and advice for future presenters?
DL: I presented the paper locally and then basically rewrote the paper from scratch. It’s important to put yourself in the audience’s shoes and consider how (if you were hearing the concept for the first time) and what you need to show and say to communicate the message most effectively. I think that’s the most important thing I’ve learned about presenting - to constantly “view” yourself, your message and your content from the audience’s perspective when preparing.

VI: What was your experience presenting at SAS Global Forum 2010?
DL: I really enjoy presenting. It’s an interesting challenge trying to translate and condense something technical, which can involve a lot of detail, into a concept or idea that an audience would “get” in a short time.

VI: What kinds of feedback and comments did you receive after your paper presentation? Did you submit a paper this year?
DL: I got some really good feedback and reviews after the paper. A good tip I got from the post-conference review was to repeat questions that the audience member asks you during the Q&A part. At times, people ask questions that are not always audible to the entire audience, so the presenter should ideally repeat the questions such that everyone understands the question and the answer. That helps, since many a times the same questions are often in the minds of other people in the audience. It was a bit tight on time for what was quite a “big idea” paper, but getting a best paper award really created some great feedback for me and my company.

I wish him the best. While he may not be able to attend this year’s conference, we look forward to seeing him again in 2012!
You can read other papers written by Logan on as well as check out the other paper winners of 2010. Have you been finding this series useful and resourceful? If so, please don’t hesitate to drop me a line and share your thoughts! You can also stay tuned on any updates by subscribing to this series. All you need to do is, click on the orange Snapshot of the Best Papers of 2010 XML button in the right nav or paste this URL into your browser ( My next post will showcase the best paper under Coders' Corner.


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Viji Iyer

1 Comment

  1. Thanks Viji,
    It was a great experience. The paper explains a dynamic ETL process which modfies itself every day for best performance. One possible improvement I've been working on is for the process to automatically adjust for past performance i.e. self-teaching as currently its based on some static principles. Enjoy the 2011 forum, wish I could be there

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