Thursday, September 23, 2010

Quebec City Analytics Forum: What A Launch!

I'm sitting here at Lesage airport in beautiful Quebec City, as Lady Gaga's 'Pokerface' - the Muzak version - wafts gently out of the Duty Free store. And as I look around, I see a few others with raised eyebrows as they recognize the tune and the STRANGENESS of this version! I mean, a harp: really?

I truly do have magpie-like tendencies sometimes. Easily distracted by the music, I've now wandered off on a tangent. Where was I? Oh yes...

I sit here in the beautiful sunshine a mere 90 minutes after one of the most successful SAS user forum launches that I've seen. What a meeting! There were just over 30 attendees for the new 'ville de Quebec forum analytique de SAS'. Building on the incredible success of the existing 'club d'utilisateurs SAS de Quebec', the creation of this group represents a commitment to supporting and celebrating the wide diversity of SAS users. The 'club' has done a phenomenal job of supporting base SAS coders and programmers for many years now: yet as SAS has continued to develop and new solutions have hit the market, new types of users have also emerged. Data miners are using Enterprise Miner to plumb the depths of their information. Analysts are using Enterprise Guide to leverage powerful analytics in a visual setting and report on it with confidence. DataFlux users are up to their elbows in dirty data, trying to make sense of it all.

The meeting I just attended featured legendary SAS instructor Sylvain Tremblay (OK, a legend to his students, and to me). Sylvain showcased JMP for a very intrigued audience. He was followed by Sylvain Haince of the Ministry of Health and Social Services, who connected to his environment and demonstrated how SAS was being used at the Ministry to slice data, analyze and report. Powerful stuff! The audience was very engaged, asking many questions of the presenters and validating the importance of this new forum. No further proof is needed than the fact that 2 indivduals immediately stepped forward as volunteers for the new group's executive committee! Amazing!

I have to take a moment to comment on QC itself. What an unbelievable city. An opportunity to practice my French skills in the Paris of North America? Sign me up, anyday. In fact, why don't you join me? If you're in QC or Quebec in general, the next opportunity to engage with the SAS user community will come on November 1st with the semi-annual 'club d'utilisateurs' meeting. Also coming up in Quebec: MONSUG on November 8th and the Montreal Business Analytics Forum on December 1st. I hope to see you at one, if not all, of the meetings!

So what's next on the list? Well, you may see a surprise celebrity blogger shortly! One of my colleagues is going to the Saskatoon and Winnipeg groups in a few weeks time, and I'm curious to get his feelings. As for me? I'm looking forward to the Golden Horseshoe SAS Users Group meeting on October 15th in Hamilton...

I'll have more coming your way soon, SAS users! Until my next post, I hope all is well with you and yours, and hope to see you at a meeting in your area..

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