Every fall (fall in the US, that is), I try to attend as many SAS Users Groups events as humanly possible. This year, I’m starting with the MidWest SAS Users Groups conference in Minneapolis, then SouthEast SAS Users Group conference in Durham, NC (my home base) and finishing the season at the NorthEast SAS Users Group conference in Baltimore.
Before each of the conferences, I make a list of all of the presentations that I plan to attend and write about (I want to make sure that those of you who have to miss the presentation get a little flavor of the conference.). Trouble is – I always bite off more than I can chew. That means I always plan way more presentations than I can possibly write about.
This year, I decided to try something different: I’m still attending as many as possible, but I’m going to write quick synopses of some of the sessions. This post will be a trial run of that idea. Here, I’ve taken a quote or two from two great sessions and quickly summarized as many of the points as I could to give you a flavor of Tuesday morning at MWSUG 2012.
New Vs. Old – Under the Hood with Procs CONTENTS and COMPARE
Patricia Hettinger, a long time SAS professional, thinks SAS Enterprise Guide is the best product SAS has ever developed, but she says she has been doing a lot of work in some older procedures – PROC CONTENT and PROC COMARE – lately. According to Hettinger, these PROCs “make testing easier and the results more understandable.”
Hettinger’s presentation took a quick tour of what testing with PROC CONTENTS and PROC COMPARE will reveal to you and then showed the output that she prefers.
“These are really powerful testing tools,” said Hettinger. “COMPARE has many options, but just a few should handle the vast majority of your testing needs.”
A human side of BI implementation
If Business Intelligence gives you the information you need, when you need it, and in the right format as SAS says on their web page, and IT will spend less time responding to requests and business users will spend less time looking for information, then why isn’t everyone using it?
According to Arlen Harmoning from Minnesota Management & Budget, the consensus is that implementation is critical. It requires a remolding of your organization, including performance management. “But humans aren’t wired for change for change sake,” he said.
Harmening used his decades of experience to present an implementation plan that could be – would be adopted broadly throughout the organization. He said that the most important steps include:
- Build a strategy map. The humans in the organization need help to understand how this technology will be good for them – a strategy map will show what drives the business (see his paper for a graphic to get you on your way).
- Focus on the future rather than the past. Social change is driven by understanding the purpose and enhanced by sharing.
- Focus on breaking down barriers and building trust. Everyone needs to understand their role in contributing to the mission. Collaboration is important and this cannot work if these groups see one another as advisories - particularly business users and IT.
- Understand that leadership is a key ingredient. More progress is made when the executives articulate and communicate the vision to the lower levels. Communication needs to be explicit and nonverbal.
“The most effective organizations have everyone pulling in the same direction. The strategy map can help do this,“ said Harmening.
Download these and all of the MWSUG 2012 papers, now.
Let me know how you like this format.