Well, SAS Users, I continue to recover from what can only be described as a roller-coaster of a week! 2 major user group meetings, a SAS-sponsored charity soccer tournament and a wedding: all in the span of 6 days.
The Toronto Management Exchange meeting took place last Tuesday. This invite-only event has become a real incubator for frank, open discussion by executives around SAS enterprise-wide solutions and services. The most recent meeting featured Aiman Zeid who works for SAS Global Practices in the Business Intelligence space. Aiman's particular gift is quite remarkable. He and his team will assess an organization's BI strengths, assets, shortcomings and requirements and suggest insititutional changes which might help realize an improvement in overall business processes. A small but engaged group of individuals from the financial services industry were able to learn through Aiman thanks to a Business Analytics Competency Centre mini-workshop. It was extremely exciting to listen to the robust discussion which took place!
The first TASS meeting of the year was held last Friday. I must admit, this event is a little more up my alley than the Management Exchange. I have personal relationships with many of the users in the greater Toronto area, and TASS is always a wonderful opportunity for me to get together with all of them. This meeting was no exception! Around 150 people attended over the course of the day, enjoying incredible presentations from a variety of presenters. Some were quite technical, like Dragos Capans' talk on 'Using the Descriptor Portion of a SAS Data File'. Others were incredibly in-depth examinations of front-to-back processes, such as Debbie Weisensee's amazing talk on how they used stored processes to make life easier at McMaster University. This was a truly amazing presentation. Debbie spoke about the business reasons behind building their environment, as well as acknowledging some of the roadblocks they had to overcome. Both technical and business-oreinted, this was really fascinating stuff!
Finally, the hit of the morning TASS session had to be Wayne Levin's presention entitled 'JMP & SAS: 1+1= ∞'. I've been fortunate enough to see Wayne present a few times, and I'm always floored. He's a naturally gifted speaker and is without question the greatest authority on JMP (in my mind) here in Canada. Wayne's breakout session was absolutely overflowing, a testament to the audience's interest. Wayne was also good enough to leave behind some information which might benefit you as well! If you're curious about JMP, Wayne has offered - for a very limited time! - free JMP e-learning. I can tell you that more than a few people wrote down the information Wayne provided, and I'm happy to pass it on to you as well. Simply go to http://predictum.com/elearning/ and click on the 'buy now' link. At this point, enter the following coupon code: 4A49E0D7D4. That's it! I hope you enjoy it as much as the good folks at TASS...
On a related note, I'd like to take this opportunity to single out a member of the TASS executive committee for recognition: Shan Ali Rasul. Shan has been an enthusiastic and indispensible member of the TASS Interfaces Executive Committee, and has also taken on the role of webmaster for the entire TASS group: no small task! Shan has earned my undying respect. With little java and .html background, Shan has created a fantastic website for the TASS group. You can see his handywork here at www.torsas.ca In building this site, Shan has taken time out of his evenings and weekends - in a volunteer capacity - to try and help out the SAS community in Toronto and beyond. It's this kind of selfless action that characterizes the SAS users in my world. You'll find all the presentations from the most recent TASS meeting and an archive of past presentations here.
Finally, on a cheery note, the annual King St. Kicks soccer tournament was held last week. Featuring 8 teams, a rainstorm of biblical proportions and starring Carl Farrell playing goal to rave reviews - if not stiff joints afterwards - the tournament was a great success, raising over $5000 for a local school. Carl was definitely the surprise of the tourney: he can really move!!! Watching him dive for well-struck soccer balls - and getting to them in time - is an image I won't soon forget.
That's all for this quick update. I'll have LOTS more to write a little later in the week, as I prepare to fly to Quebec City for the first meeting of a brand-new initiative in the city: the QC Analyics Forum! I'll be sure to have an update on that and other upcoming events shortly...