Analytics for informed decisions - Innovation and insight in action

The digital ecosystem is the new normal of today. Data is everywhere. It can be viewed as O.D.E. or omnipresent digital entities reflecting the character, inclinations, aspirations, and needs of real people in the real world. Used right, data has life-changing applications. It can strengthen the possibilities to learn and mobilise real-life dynamics with digital solutions.

Take COVID-19 for instance. It’s one of the most challenging reality checks, humanity is facing today and the most imminent issue to be addressed in terms of tracking, prevention, and elimination. Little or no knowledge of the spread can only make this crisis a harsher reality. That’s where analytics plays a vital role- it helps study patterns, understand the trends, improves the quality of decision making and helps governments fight the pandemic & businesses serve clients better.

In testing times when industries across the world are facing operational and strategic challenges, the Virtual SAS Global Forum 2020, hosted by analytical software and solutions leader – SAS, brought collective insights into how data and data-based technology can create a better world with more efficient enterprises and empowered people who can make more intelligent choices and decisions.

The largest analytics flagship event that was held on June 16, was attended by SAS practitioners, industry leaders, technology experts, and partners.

Key Perspective

During the virtual forum this year, SAS executives shared their perspectives on AI, strategic partnerships and navigating uncertainty.

SAS 2ET Spotlight

The day-long forum that delivered keynotes and over 150 sessions by industry stalwarts from across industries, was kickstarted by an insightful and intriguing welcome address by SAS Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Jim Goodnight.

Beyond the immediate public health concerns, SAS saw the need for data and analytics across all industries as organisations started to respond to COVID-19, stated Dr Goodnight. “We have always relied on innovation and creativity to build analytics technologies that solve real-world problems. We can help our customers reimagine how they work and adjust to new opportunities down the road,” said Dr Goodnight at the forum.

SAS innovation on the frontline

Dr Goodnight shared SAS‘s vision on the importance of data and analytics to help companies find answers to their problems. While speaking to Cleveland Clinic’s Executive Director of Enterprise Analytics – Chris Donovan, Dr Goodnight spoke about how predictive modelling, forecasting and optimization played a role in critical decision making in the fight against the pandemic

The Global Forum also discussed how by using analytics to combine telecommunications data — which is turned into mobility information — with public health data of positive cases, health organizations & governments could use network analytics to better understand the spread of COVID-19 to make more proactive decisions on social containment policies. Data required for this application includes aggregated physical subscriber movements over time, provided by telecommunications companies, and confirmed cases by place over time provided by public health authorities. Implementing social distancing and containment policies can be made easier with the help of analytics. Medical resources can be best optimised at the right locations with the influx of data. Unlocking on the basis of data-driven results can help make informed decisions. Data analytics can also help evaluate the spread velocity and eventual risk, making it easier for the administration to make timely policy decisions.

Microsoft and SAS announce deep technology partnership

SAS Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Technology Officer, Oliver Schabenberger shared how the principles of analytics provide an internal compass to data and analytics for successful digital transformation.

SAS 3ET Spotlight

“Disruption is not unprecedented, but the extent and the suddenness of disruption caused by COVID-19 is unusual”, said Schabenberger. How an organisation responds to disruption and recovers from it depends on its preparedness, and it is a function of its agility, resilience and mindset, he added.

Schabenberger was joined by Microsoft Executive Vice President (Cloud and AI), Scott Guthrie, to discuss their new preferred public cloud partnership with Azure at the Virtual SAS Global Forum 2020. Schabenberger spoke how analytics and AI had helped the world move from technology-literate people to people-literate technology.

Microsoft and SAS announced a technology partnership that will see Microsoft’s Azure become SAS’s preferred cloud. This will include deep integration of SAS’s various products into Microsoft’s cloud portfolio, ranging from Azure to Dynamics 365 and PowerBI.

Scott Guthrie said Microsoft aims to bring SAS expertise to industries integral to it namely healthcare, retail and financial services with this strategic partnership. This would further democratise analytics and AI for their mutual customers and accelerate growth, he added.

Next-generation SAS Viya

The pandemic has accelerated the adoption of cloud computing among enterprises. And organisations are looking at cloud infrastructures to maintain business continuity with a reduced workforce on the field, encouraging most of the employees to work remotely.

SAS 4ET Spotlight

The Global Forum also witnessed the announcement of cloud-native, cost-effective and scalable SAS Viya 4 technology. Oliver Schabenberger and Bryan Harris, SAS Senior Vice President for R&D Engineering, discussed the next-generation SAS Viya and why the cloud is key to digital transformation.

In his conversation, Harris assured a seamless transition for customers migrating their workloads from Viya 3 to Viya 4 without any issues. Movements from on-premise to the cloud include workloads such as applications, websites, databases, storage, physical or virtual servers, or entire data centres. Over the next few months, SAS aims to bring the analytics tool for Viya 4 on Microsoft Azure first as part of the partnership.

Alliance with KPMG for faster cloud transformation

Even as operations of many organisations shifted to virtual in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, SAS and KPMG have expanded their alliance to support faster cloud transformation for customers. Oliver Schabenberger discussed the plans for the partnership with KPMG’s Christian Rast and Jen Rasloff at the virtual event.

“An accelerated move to the cloud has become a necessity for many organizations; optimizing and adapting business processes is a great opportunity to maximize the power of the cloud,” said Schabenberger.

SAS business solutions are being created with cloud in mind. “In the last few months, we have seen organisations all over the world, many of which are SAS clients, make a push to leverage power of the cloud to modernise their infrastructure and business applications in response to the challenges brought up by COVID-19,“ said Christian Rast, Global Head of Technology and Knowledge, KPMG International.

Global Head of Alliances, KPMG International, Jen Rasloff said the pressure to be more agile and digitalisation will become bigger.

SAS and Handshake connect

Some of the other very interesting sessions included SAS Connection that highlighted how SAS was partnering with users. The session “Friends of SAS” discussed how organisations and causes provide resources to the SAS community.

As part of this session, SAS announced its collaboration with Handshake, the leading career community for college students in the US, to help meet the growing demand for SAS analytics skills. With students from more than 900 US colleges and universities, Handshake makes it easy for SAS customers to find early-career analytics talent in their backyards and across the nation. [PV1]

The second session titled “SAS Directions” emphasised on passion and vision paired with forward-thinking technology, innovation leads to bold new discoveries. Another session named “Customer Connection” showcased stories from SAS customers on how they were changing the world using analytics to make the unimaginable possible.

The world’s premier analytics conference aimed at helping business leaders on the road ahead, keeping in mind the disruption caused by COVID-19. The session as part of the Respond phase focuses on achieving situational awareness. Subsequent sessions on Recover and Reimagine phase, look at ways to rebuild organisations to work in the changing environment.

Key Takeaways

  • As the world navigates through uncertainty in the fight against the fatal pandemic, digital transformation is indeed the need of the hour. For companies to capture knowledge and share it with the next generation, they need to relook their current data models to make informed decisions driven by data and analytics and not just intuitions and experience.

  • Real-time problems need real-time monitoring and reporting made possible with machine learning and artificial intelligence. The computer vision model developed by SAS helps reduce costs thus increasing efficiency.

Organisations around the world are moving to the cloud to innovate and move faster toward their business goals. As part of this transition, many SAS customers are migrating their SAS analytic workloads to Azure to improve performance and cost-efficiency. To help organisations accelerate their cloud transformation initiatives, SAS and Microsoft are working together to ensure that SAS products and solutions can be successfully deployed and run effectively on Azure.

·While enabling organizations to prepare for the new post-COVID reality and be future-ready through use of the cloud, the deployment of a cloud-based SAS infrastructure can also enable clients to benefit from a number of readily available solutions and managed services for an accounting change, anti-money laundering, continuous monitoring for procurement integrity and SAS Model Manager on SAS Viya.

·SAS’s collaboration with Handshake is aimed at meeting the sharp rise in demand for SAS skills across the globe.

You can learn more from sessions at Virtual SAS Global Forum 2020 available on-demand!

Analytics for informed decisions - Innovation and insight in action Analytics for informed decisions - Innovation and insight in action Reviewed by TechCO on 9/10/2020 Rating: 5

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