It was late April in Dallas, at the Omni Hotel, the venue of the 2015 SAS Global Forum. The hotel itself was connected to the Convention Center, and allows guests to move easily from one venue to another. The annual SAS Global Forum is the site of a pair of events, the Global Forum (User Conference) and the Executive Conference. The Forum is the premier worldwide event for SAS professionals hosted by the SAS Global Users Group. While the Global Forum is geared towards very practical and technical sessions, the Executive Conference sessions are more strategic and high level in nature.
It is this mix of strategic and technical/operational sessions that provides a fuller view of the direction and operation of the SAS product line. No conference would be complete without a way to see demonstrations and talk directly to implementers, designers, teaming partners, and other technically astute people who can help you navigate the waters of technology, innovation, and analytics (it is a SAS Event, after all).
The conference kicked off on Sunday evening with a large combined Global Forum Opening Session. Dr. James Goodnight, co-founder of the SAS Institute updated the audience on where he sees things headed over the next year and beyond as well as initiatives being undertaken by SAS.
On Sunday, Dr. Goodnight announced that a new product was being developed in support of cybersecurity which will use analytics in the cybersecurity environment. He calls this area “cyberanalytics”. Cyberanalytics uses analytics to develop models first to describe, then to predict, and finally to prescribe. It describes the attacks that occurred in the past, it uses that knowledge along with patterns of behavior for current attacks to predict coming attacks, and it uses both knowledge sets to prescribe actions to proactively deal with preventing future attacks.
Dr. Goodnight also spoke about SAS and its commitment to big data, their new Data Loader for Hadoop, data lakes, and fraud analytics. The product in support of fraud detection is Visual Intelligence, a new offering in the style of their previous “Visual” products, Visual Analytics and Visual Statistics. We will learn more about this as it moves out of Beta testing.
The new direction for SAS is one of collecting data at speed, streaming and doing analytics on data, using in-memory distributed processing, and producing results with data visualization. This is impressive, and all will include products either already there, being updated, or in beta and ready for release in the near future.
SAS is poised to move forward into the realm of big, medium, and small analytics, to take advantage of the Internet of Things, to work on cyberanalytics and security, and delve into fraud analytics. These are all areas where CNSI can benefit from their expertise, and they from ours. There are real areas of intersection where CNSI has in-depth knowledge of a given vertical market (Medicaid, health care claims, Decennial Census, and so on), and SAS has a multiplicity of tools geared toward analyzing data and producing information, knowledge, and insight. There is a natural fit there for both sides to benefit from collaborative efforts. Subject matter expertise teamed with full strength analytics can combine to provide results that would not be possible from either party on their own.
This blog entry was written by Jim Harbour, CNSI’s big data expert. He will be writing about the relevant aspects of using data to tell meaningful stories. This includes writing about why we tell (and listen to) stories, what makes a good story, data analytics, big data, data visualization, data science, and anything else that applies to being able to take data and weave a story from it that has meaning and value. Jim has worked in a variety of architecture, analysis, design, development, and operations roles at CNSI and throughout his career. He believes in sharing knowledge and mentoring at all levels, including these blog posts. Follow him on Twitter @JSilasHarbour.