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WINTER 2012

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IN THIS ISSUE:

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Upcoming SAS User Group meetings

SAS Education Update

Techie Tip

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TRIVIA

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social media

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SAS Canada

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Description: \\sashq\root\dept\www\corp\test\offices\NA\canada\newsletter\insights\Winter12\images\Globenew.jpgA message from SAS Canada

Hello insights subscribers!

A new year has arrived, and with it a host of predictions, promises and prognostications – both personal and professional. For SAS customers, this can mean anything from increasing return on investment to leveraging their existing assets for business advantage and everything in between. For myself, it’s fitting into last year’s pants – I suppose we all have our challenges.

The one phrase that I’ve read over and over while trying to get a handle on what the year to come means for the technology industry is “big data.” The concept is simple: data, data, everywhere is not being leveraged as a viable source of insight. In this article, Deloitte indicates that while the knowledge of the untapped power of big data has always existed, it’s only recently that the tools required to handle the analysis of petabytes of information have come into their own.

Some authors have offered a technology-based perspective on the tools which will help make sense of the mass of unstructured data that organizations have been safeguarding in data warehouses and data marts for a rainy day. SAS, for instance, recently launched a high-performance computing application that will allow massive jobs to run in a fraction of the time it would have taken previously. This allows for faster, more accurate information and near-real-time decision making as well as the ability to run and re-run fraud , risk and profitability models for greater accuracy and to take into account many different variables and contingencies. The importance of this to an organization, as well as to the individual consumer, is well-stated here by SAS Canada’s own Wes Gill.

Some authors have taken to video interviews with industry experts to try and define exactly how big data will affect business in 2012. Such is the interest in big data that live events are even focusing exclusively on this broad topic. Our own Laura Lima Wilson recently ran a large Conquer Big Data event at the base of the CN Tower here in Toronto focused on the challenges – and opportunities – that this concept will engender in almost every organization.

This particular issue of insights will deal with this extensively; we have pointed to many news articles that should help explain the concept of big data, as well as a feature post which puts our own field marketing experts under a spotlight with their predictions and observations of what this concept means to the industries they support. It remains a hot topic on the AllAnalytics website as well as the Knowledge Exchange.

One of the principal sources of big data is the enormous volume of information generated by various social media outlets. Sentiment can now be accurately measured through Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn conversations. Brand reputation management is a viable strategy through blogs, discussion forums and video offerings on YouTube. For organizations that have the right strategy and the right tools to listen, the potential insight to be gained on brand perception, threats and opportunities for growth is staggering. Further, the benefit to the customer is tremendous. Whether it’s gaining new insight into a brand, receiving instant customer support and accessing valuable content, or growing one’s knowledge in a safe, unthreatening environment, the potential payback is tangible.

Speaking of unstructured data, we’re looking forward to continuing the early success of the SAS Canada Community. I always mention to all new members who join that it’s a great place to grow both your SAS knowledge and your SAS network – and in 2012, I expect this statement to ring more true than ever. We have more and more SAS Canada thought leaders and industry experts who have committed to offering you, the SAS user, great content in this space. All the contributors to the big data article in this issue will be leading industry discussion groups focused on offering content, connections and discussions about specific challenges within their areas of expertise. I’m looking forward to big things in 2012 in this space, so if you haven’t yet joined, consider doing so now.

In closing, I hope that each and every one of you finds 2012 to be a year of challenges met and goals exceeded – whether that means conquering big data or fitting into that old pair of pants.


Best,

Matt Malczewski
Communities Manager

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