Analytics Experience 2016
Analytics Experience 2016: Analytics here and now
Held in Rome, this three-day educational and business event featured impressive keynotes, 52 breakout sessions and a variety of training courses. More than 900 professionals came from around the world to catch up with the latest analytics trends and technologies and dig deeper into SAS® solutions at the Innovation Hub demo area.
Rome, 7-9 November – The analytics landscape is changing rapidly. Analytics Experience 2016, a three-day European event in Rome, offered an opportunity to more than 900 business users and executives, IT professionals, and academics from across Europe and around the world to keep pace with the transformation.
Analytics in action is a reality
After a full day dedicated to training courses, Carl Farrell, Executive Vice President and Chief Revenue Officer of SAS, discussed the huge potential of analytics to build a better world during the welcome address. He highlighted rapid new technology from SAS:
- SAS Customer Intelligence 360 modernizes the way organizations interact with customers.
- SAS Expected Credit Loss addresses the IFRS 9 accounting standard for financial institutions.
- SAS® Viya™ is the new advanced platform for high-performance analytics.
Farrell also shared examples of how customers are using analytics: mapping the customer experience for a higher QoS (Telecom Italia); fighting fraud in government (AEAT, the Spanish Tax Agency); and managing airport passenger flows in near-real time (Fraport AG).
New cutting-edge technologies
Conference moderator and journalist Jon Briggs guided attendees through the first discussion with SAS executives Randy Guard, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer; Oliver Schabenberger, Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer; and Fritz Lehman, Executive Vice President and Chief Customer Officer. Together they explored how cutting-edge technology can help organizations to move from the promise of analytics to the reality of business value.
Because the way we consume analytics has changed, requiring access by a wider range of people, SAS developed SAS Viya, a revolutionary analytical platform built on four pillars:
- SAS Viya is open, to remove the barriers associated with data variety and different coding languages.
- SAS Viya is unified, able to centralize all analytics workloads in a single, consistent solution.
- SAS Viya is powerful, to support high-performance processes and advanced techniques such as machine learning and descriptive statistics.
- SAS Viya uses the cloud to flexibly scale up and down.
Schabenberger then talked about the potential of modern machine learning, a disruptive new technology that relies on systems that learn how to perform tasks by acquiring the required skills. This is an area into which SAS is putting a lot of effort.
Managing the change
Fritz Lehman covered the topics of change management and talent for analytics. His advice? Hire people who are curious and inquisitive, who want to learn, because you don’t know what kind of knowledge and competencies you will need in the future. And be sure to cultivate those who can communicate with both the IT and business sides of the organization.
Lehman also talked about the concept of data for good: how analytics can improve our lives, build a more sustainable world, and solve important health and social issues. SAS technologies have been used to provide information about victims and their conditions during natural disasters, and even to predict and prevent heart attacks.
After the conversation among SAS executives, Jim Zemlin, Executive Director of The Linux Foundation, explained how open source technology is revolutionizing the development process and collaboration across developers, vendors and users. Openness is a major focus for SAS and the most relevant key feature for SAS Viya.
As mentioned by Carl Farrell, the very word "open" evokes a sense of happiness and possibility. And when you’re solving a tough analytics problem, "open" is what you want and need your software to be.
Technology drives new marketing
The most impressive moment in the first day’s plenary session was the keynote by David Shing, AOL’s Digital Prophet. Shing talked about new ways to engage consumers:
- Marketers should create a more humanized experience, establishing a true conversation with customers and providing quality content.
- Pay attention to customers because their desires drive the market.
- Use analytics to understand customers and give them what they want, when they want it.
Butterfly effect on data
The third day’s plenary session opened with a keynote by Jon Briggs, broadcast journalist at BBC, talking about the “butterfly effect on data.” In chaos theory, the butterfly effect refers to a phenomenon in which a small perturbation in the initial condition of a system results in large changes in later conditions. Thanks to big data, it’s possible to use information about minimal changes to predict future outcomes in with analytics, making predictable the unpredictable.
Key issues in IoT landscape
During the last presentation, Tamara Dull, Director of Emerging Technologies at SAS, explored the most critical aspects of the new IoT world. According to her, the internet of things “is the bridge to move from analog to digital, from dumb to smart world.” Oliver Schabenberger, SAS Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, added that analytics should be wherever the data is to create real value.
Training courses and breakout sessions
In addition to great keynotes, Analytics Experience 2016 in Rome gave attendees an opportunity to learn about the latest IT and business trends and the latest SAS technologies. Training courses, breakout sessions and the Innovation Hub demo area offered a perfect combination to better understand the most critical analytics issues and emerging trends, improve technical skills and knowledge, network with colleagues and experts, and share experiences and best practices.