Monday, August 30, 2010

The Fall User Group Season Looms Ever Larger...

... and I couldn't be more pleased about it!

Within another few weeks, I'll be starting my semi-annual blitz of the regional user groups. This fall, I plan on attending and presenting at meetings in Toronto, Quebec City, Hamilton, Calgary, Edmonton, Montreal, Victoria and Vancouver. It promises to be a very busy - but very exciting - fall user group season.

Many of the meeting agendas remain open. We have a couple of keynote speakers booked - Marje Fecht, SAS legend, is set to present in Edmonton and Calgary... and the Executive Committees of VANSUG (Vancouver) and SUAVe (Victoria) will be taking my constantly repeated refrain around community-building to heart by travelling/presenting at each other's groups! I love the pro-active, energetic nature of these two groups, and I'm very much looking forward to getting together with them in November.

It occurs to me that I should explain the 'ins and outs' of a SAS user group for those of you who may not have attended one previously here in Canada. In essence, the groups are a support system for SAS users. It provides a forum for learning and discussion for SAS professionals from a variety of industry verticals, with SAS experience ranging from rudimentary to expert. It's a great place to get SAS tips and tricks, and to network with other SAS users from a whole host of backgrounds. They are a great resource for SAS users of any level of experience. We've produced a few videos to give you a 'sense' of what to expect at the meetings if you haven't attended one previously.

The full User Group schedule can be found here. To drill down into specific user groups, you can go the the SAS Canada User Group page. In addition to giving information about upcoming meetings, each group has a long archive of past presentations: yours to access, for free! It's an amazing source of knowledge.

Video content is becoming more and more important. In a few soundbites, you can get a sense of the style and content of a presentation and the tone of a specific meeting. Moving forward, we'll have lots of video on the SASSoftware YouTube Channel to point towards as resources for your use. Interviews with guest speakers, presentation excerpts and more!

So what's on the docket for the near future? Well, we have a few events in September which will kick off the new user group season with a bang! TASS, one of the largest groups, meets on September 17th. You can have a look at the agenda and register for as much of the full-day meeting as you would like here.

I'll be back a little later in the week with more news/views... for now, a question: are you enjoying the video content that SAS is starting to provide with more regularity?

Monday, August 16, 2010

Wide-Eyed & Wo(a)ndering at SAS HQ in Cary, NC

Hi Everyone.


It's been a little while since I've committed word to paper and pushed out the thoughts burning at the edges of my brain... or perhaps its just the extreme heat here in Cary, NC, which is giving me that impression! I can practically see my colleague Martha Casanova rolling her eyes: she generally doesn't get out of bed for any temperatures under 100F... Martha, I have new respect for you - and a little fear (you have to be a little crazy to thrive under these conditions!)

I've just completed three days of meetings and events here at the SAS head offices in Cary, and for those who haven't been before, I thought I'd try and capture a few shots of some interesting sights. Please forgive this, my first pass at 'in the field' video recording/editing! Normally I have a tripod, a microphone, and wonderful support through Kerry Blanchard at SAS Canada... but it's a small taste of Cary life that I wanted to share.

So what were my meetings about? Well, in a nutshell, social media. I now have some great insight into what my colleagues at SAS USA are doing, where they plan on taking things, and what resources they're leveraging to give as much support as possible to their SAS user community. This is extremely relevant as I continue searching for that 'magic bullet': what can I, and SAS Canada, provide to you, the SAS user, to make your life a little easier through social media? There are LOTS of resources for tech support, training, and beyond... so what can little ol' me do to add to these resources?? Where's the value for the SAS user within social media?

I can honestly say, the last few days have been enlightening and inspiring. I'm armed with fresh ideas, new energy, and a whole lot of excitement. For those of you who know me, this is perhaps not a good thing: I'm generally more excited that an unstable molecule in a cappucino... I'll be sure to report back on what I've learned once I've had a chance to digest it all, but for now, here's some quick hand-held shots of Campus Cary. Federico Fellini, I'm not... but with a little practice, I'll get better, I promise!

More soon...