4-5 June 2014, we attended SAS Analytics conference in Frankfurt, Germany. The two-day event offered pre-conference training; four keynotes; 40 presentations covering a range of topics, including text analytics, visual analytics and social media analytics; and an exhibition hall with demonstrations.
The Conference programme included fewer ‘how to’ sessions compared to the one in London last year, with the focus being shifted towards SAS advanced analytics updates. However, there was just as big a range of case studies in the areas of finance, retail, insurance, fraud prevention, telecommunications and marketing as before. Such approaches as text mining and sentiment analysis received a lot of attention during both days, highlighting both the growing appetite for extracting insight from the unstructured data and the technological advancements making it possible. Thus, according to one of the speakers (Prof. Goutam Chakraborty, Oklahoma State University), sentiment analysis not only provided “a deep and actionable insight about how people think and feel”, but could also “improve ones’ existing models of customer behaviour”.
Many talks also involved big data and big data analysis, explicitly, or implicitly, e.g., by discussing the advantages of combining different large datasets, both internal and external. Thus, one of the keynote addresses (‘Advanced Analytics in the 21st Century’ by Christoph Morgen, SAP and Sascha Schubert, SAS) referred to the current ‘era of abundance’ in terms of data volumes and availability.
One of the most interesting talks was keynote address ‘The Analytical Company: Ready for Take-off’ delivered by Dieter Steinmann and Christian Wrobel (Fraport). Theirs was a case study of the use of integrated real-time analytics, applied on data streams coming from different sources, including sensors, boarding-pass scanners and metal detectors. Such data analysis allowed Fraport to optimise their operations and to enhance customer satisfaction.
Overall, the event demonstrated the growing interest in, and reliance upon, insights generated using advanced analytics, along with the ever increasing ability to leverage different data sources for analysis with a view to building detailed pictures of human behaviour and making predictions about the future.
Further details about the Conference sessions are available from the official website: