Upcoming SAS User Group meetings

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35 Years of SAS Communities

In 1975, five SAS practitioners came together for the first “user group” meeting in order to share best practices.  The following year the meeting was renamed the SAS Users Group International (SUGI)—and history was made!  Of course much has changed in the intervening 35 years as SAS user groups and communities have grown up around the world.  SAS conferences also grew significantly - even SUGI is now known as SAS Global Forum to reflect its international participation.  But we haven’t lost sight of the fact that it all started with five users interested in building a sharing, collaborative SAS community.  Maybe not quite at the same scale as the toppling of an Egyptian autocracy, but a revolution just the same!

In Canada, too, SAS communities have sprung up from Halifax to Victoria to Whitehorse.  Starting first as physical user groups, they are now complemented with online communities on LinkedIn and Facebook, with more activity through social media certain to come.  In fact, social media is perhaps the biggest boost SAS communities have ever seen— connecting users in a global, instantaneous fashion and allowing for free and easy discourse around all things SAS.  The real trick is figuring out how to make social media support communities, and not the other way around. 

Speaking of communities and social media, SAS Global Forum will once again be bringing fresh ideas as to how SAS users can make the most of social media in its new social media section.  Although if you’re looking for more of a bite-sized overview of What SAS® Pros Need to Know with respect to social media, you couldn’t do better than listen to the sage advice of Dave Thomas  a noted expert in the field.  Of course there’s much, much more to the conference, and for Canadians especially, there is also the ever popular SAS Canada Night Out to catch up with old friends as well as make some new ones.  For a summary of the best of this year’s conference, be sure to check out our SAS Global Forum issue of insights , due later in April!  

One Canadian customer who will be making his first visit to SAS Global Forum, compliments of SAS Canada, is this year’s Customer Value Award winner—Roy Finzel of the Government of Alberta.  A long term user and supporter of SAS, Roy started out using JCL in an MVS environment on green screen mainframe terminals, yet today he is pioneering text mining within Alberta Tourism.  Read more about Roy and his impressions of SAS Global Forum in the next issue of insights.

On the business front, SAS continues to solidify our presence in the analytics marketplace with global revenues growing by 5.2%.  Moreover, for the second year running, SAS ranked #1 on the FORTUNE ‘Best Companies to Work For’ list in America.  Locally, SAS Canada was ranked No. 4 on the 2010 Best Workplaces in Canada list and was also ranked No. 1 on the 2010 list of Canada's Best Workplaces for Women.  SAS’ success is reflected by the strong support of our customer community, and I would like to take this opportunity to say a very sincere thank you!

Finally, the Spring User Group schedule has been finalized; check the Events page for a group near you and an opportunity to register.  I urge you to take advantage of the Canadian User Group website  to find a group near you, or just browse the massive repository of previous presentations for tips, tricks and training.  You will also find the agendas for upcoming meetings here, once they are available.

On behalf of Matt Malczewski, Kerry Blanchard and I, we look forward to seeing you at SAS Global Forum or at an upcoming user group meeting.  Digitally, you can connect with us anytime!

Wally Thiessen
Manager, Customer Engagement Marketing

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