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SAS Visual Analytics: Design Versus Reality

2016-10-05 – 7:12 AM

Recently, Alan Hjemsted Muller from Denmark contacted me with some additional ideas about he had with solving dashboard issues. He provided a gorgeous dashboard that is used in the Elsinore Municipality.

This dashboard (in Danish) – it is about a kindergarten.  He offered to send it in English but I like it in Danish. It allows you to focus more on the design because your eyes are …

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General, User Conferences »

Seize the Day! Submit an #SASGF Abstract by Oct 3

2016-09-21 – 6:32 AM

Are you considering submitting an abstract for SAS Global Forum 2017? Maybe you have already read the posts about how it helps your career and the excitement of sharing ideas. What is holding you back? Maybe you don’t have an idea, maybe you fear presentations, or maybe you just are unsure of the process.

I don’t have a idea

Isgf_01 bet this is the number one concern most people have. But I also bet you have a passion for SAS! You may have a love affair with one of the SAS products like SAS Visual Analytics or SAS Studio. Maybe it’s a cool method for solving a problem using the new Data Step 2. Did you make a better looking report by learning more about color? Any of these would be an excellent basis for a SAS Global Forum paper.

Check out the topics at the SAS Global Forum site to learn which topic areas they want. Then start generating ideas. There are several places to get inspiration. Check out the proceedings from past conferences to see what content was accepted in the past – here’s the link to 2016 proceedings, the 2015 proceedings, and the 2014 proceedings that contains the abstracts.  You might see a topic that you can expand on. Perhaps you solved a similar issue and want to highlight another technique?

If you prefer to solve problems, check out the SAS Communities site. You can also read through the posts  to see confusion points from others. You may not realize that importing Excel files is such a mystery. Maybe you routinely explain macro quoting so it makes sense within five minutes. Or maybe you have analyzed data and want to show off how SAS helped.


I don’t know what to do next

There are many ways to present information, such as an e-poster, a break out session, or a quick tip. If you are a little shy about your presentation skills, maybe you want to try an e-poster. This format allows you to present some slides to a small group. Think of it more like having a conversation. If you enjoy presenting to an audience, then lead a breakout session.  Here’s a list of the session types.


Write Your Abstract

After you decide what session type you want, it’s time to write an abstract. Abstracts are about 5-6 sentences that explain what you are discussing. Stephanie Thompson, Datamum, had this advice: “The key to a good abstract is to ‘get to the SAS of the matter’ – meaning, your research, application, or whatever may be interesting but attendees want to know how did you use SAS to solve your problem/do something interesting.  Abstracts that hit that do well.”

An abstract should answer questions. If you are reading the conference proceedings, think about what catches your eye. Probably it is an abstract that answers questions like  “what will I learn from attending your talk”, “what skill will I learn or refine”, or “show me something geeky and cool”.  You abstract should help the reader understand what they will gain from listening to you.  If you need an example abstract – use the links to the proceedings above. All of those are examples of abstracts that were accepted.

Don’t forget the outline

With your abstract, submit an outline with your paper. It should give the person reviewing the abstract an idea about what you intend to cover. When I write an outline, I try to focus the subject to three topic areas. Then for each topic have a sentence or some bullet points that describe what you will discuss. Here’s two examples from outlines I submitted in the past: Topic 1 Outline (PDF) and Topic 2 Outline (PDF).

What If I Get Accepted?

After you submit your abstract to the SAS Global Forum committee (use this link), it goes through a review process. Each section team reviews the abstracts. They want to see new ideas, thoughtful ideas, and of course clever techniques. Plus they want to ensure there are not 20 papers on the same topic.[FAQs about presenting]

You will receive notice by mid-December. If your abstract is accepted, you can also ask to have a mentor assigned to assist you.  The mentor works with you through the presentation process. He or she is a topic expert and provides guidance about the preparing the content. You can ask for a mentor at this link.

What are you waiting for – Seize the day! Go for it! Let’s do this thing!  The deadline is October 3 – there is no time to waste.

Planning Your SAS Visual Analytics Dashboard

2016-06-06 – 6:41 AM

A dashboard starts with planning. In my last post, we talked about gauges and when you want to use them. In this post, we will apply the gauges to a dashboard. Gauges cannot live by themselves – they need supporting information. It must be clear how the information supports the gauges. I’ll use the same dashboard but with some different gauges. You can determine what worked …

Why Dashboard Gauges Aren’t as Bad as You Think

2016-05-22 – 2:57 PM

Dashboard gauges were once the darling of the executive suite. Some designer took inspiration from a car dashboard and its gauges. A gauge is useful because it tells us how fast we are going or how much gas is in the tank. My newer model dashboard still has gauges but it also states how many miles until empty. That information is more useful than knowing how much gas is in the …

SAS Visual Analytics: Bubble Plots for Less Toil and Trouble

2016-04-24 – 12:55 PM

You cannot research bubble plots from any data visualization expert without reading a reference to the Hans Rosling’s Ted Talk Let My Dataset Change Your Mindset. It may have been the first time a bubble plot gained a mainstream appeal noted Stephen Few in his Show Me the Numbers book. Rosling provided an intense amount of information in one data visualization and he changed my mindset. Here’s some …

SAS VA Data Builder: Add a New Data Item

2016-02-05 – 9:25 AM

The SAS Visual Analytics Data Builder allows you to prepare and load data to the SAS LASR Server so you can complete analysis or build reports and dashboards. It’s a little more tricky to use than some of the other parts of SAS Visual Analytics but can usually be mastered within a day. If you need to add a data item to your data table, …

3 Methods to Remove Data from the HDFS VAPUBLIC Directory

2015-12-20 – 3:53 PM

When working with HDFS, you are often loading data to the various directories to upload into SAS Visual Analytics. However, sometimes you want to remove that data. Here’s three different ways to remove the data.
Method 1: Use the SAS VA Administrator Tools
If you have access to the Manage Environment area, you can use the Explore HDFS tab to interact with the data in the HDFS. You …