OK, so that's wishful thinking. The truth is that the Forum analytique d’affaires SAS de Montréal happened to coincide with the victory parade for the back to back champion Montréal Alouettes. They were wending their way through the heart of downtown to the joyful cries of fans braving the wet weather in order to salute their heroes. As a native Torontonian whose team was handily eliminated in the preceding round by said Alouettes, I suppose I can take some cold comfort in the knowledge that at least we were beaten by the champs. Félicitations, Montréal: bien fait!
This final trip to a host city was bittersweet. Perhaps it's because I know I won't see many of my friends and colleagues for months, if not a year. Or, perhaps it's because I find travelling the country and meeting such interesting people so invigorating: my next opportunity may be as far away as SAS Global Forum in Las Vegas in early April! It's hard to imagine. However I still had this final trip to take and I was looking forward to enjoying some of the fine dining for which Montréal is reknowned. I had a more-than-willing collaborator in Rick Miller of CIBC.
I've known Rick for a few years having first met him through former TASS President Rupinder Dhillion at a user group meeting early in my SAS career. A long-time SAS supporter and even longer serving CIBC employee, Rick is currently the Vice President of Credit Risk Data Solutions within the Risk Management division of the bank. Approachable and knowledgeable about business and technology, I was thrilled when he accepted my recent invitation to present at the Forum analytique d’affaires SAS de Montréal. His presentation had been seen at SAS Global Forum 2010 by the group's President, Loretto Chiovitti of Desjardins: not surprising as Rick has presented three times at Global Forum. Entitled 'Supercharged Analytics', the talk is a compelling look at the rationale, requirements and ramifications of going to an in-database processing structure for increased performance and productivity. You'll be able to find a copy at the group's website within the coming weeks, but if you can't wait simply email me: I'll be happy to send you an advance version.
Rick's presentation was extremely well-received and inspired quite a few questions. Next, Ronald Allard of SAS Canada took the talk to a more technical level by showcasing some of the in-database processing options available through a variety of SAS tools and applications. As SAS' Jean-Francois Michaud joined the two presenters for an open-room panel discussion, it was clear the audience had saved many of their inquiries for this moment and that the presentations had stimulated some curiosity. Questions and answers filled the room over a half-hour's time and it we actually had to curtail discussion a bit in order to fit in the prize draw! All in all, a very successful meeting.
If I may, a word or two about the amazing hospitality and friendliness of Montréalers. From the amazing cuisine and conversation at Cavalli the evening before or the delicious lunch following the meeting, SAS staff, user group executives and attendees alike were amazingly gracious and hospitable. Thanks for making my last road trip one I'll remember!
There's only one more meeting this calendar year: two weeks from now, the TASS meeting takes place at the SAS offices. We'll be celebrating the 25th anniversary of the group so if you're in the area and haven't registered, please do: it's a great way to close out the year.
I'll have more for you about TASS in the next few days... until then.