SUNZ National Conference 2017 – Open Minds

by | Jun 2, 2017

SUNZ 2017 at the Michael Fowler Centre, 11th May 2017

Once again, I have been fortunate enough to be able to attend a SUNZ conference, this time the national conference titled ‘Open Minds’ held at the famous Michael Fowler Centre in Wellington. This is my take on the day, however, unfortunately, my phone had died the night before so I was unable to do my usual photo and twitter notes as per previous SUNZ blogs.
First the venue and food assessment. Thumbs up for both. The Michael Fowler Centre was much more suitable than the split-level setup at Te Papa in previous years, and it was much closer to where I was staying. The food was not too flashy and there was lots of it. The best bit was two, yes two, coffee stations; Needless to say, I may have overdosed on caffeine that day.
So now to the actual conference.
First the format and schedule; I think the committee have got the balance right. There was one stream for the first couple of sessions (Keynotes and etc) then the conference was split into Business and Technical streams. Finally, the streams were merged back into the single closing stream after the afternoon break. The timing between the Business and Technical streams could be a better synchronised, I missed the start of one presentation dues to the other stream over running.
If you want more information on the presentations, most have been loaded here on the official SUNZ website.
As with all conferences, there are good and bad presentations. Overall the presentations I attended we of a high standard. There are two that stick in my mind. Firstly, I always enjoy presentations by Milo Davies (from SAS). This year his Global Forum Recap didn’t let me down. It was humorous but informative as always. The second was Kylie Reiri’s ‘Reducing the Time to Insight for New Zealand’s Most Challenging Questions’, what a slick presentation from the delivery to the professional-looking slides. Kylie spoke of four principles to ensure an efficient analytic/insights process these are:

  1. Reuse,
  2. Automation,
  3. Teamwork, and
  4. Mindset shift

One of the reasons I went to this year conference was to see the direction and changes (if any) of SAS’ new flagship platform, Viya. If you read my SUNZ Auckland 2016 – Awesome Brains blog SAS have been pushing a SAS 9 (and beyond) AND SAS Viya strategy. Has this changed? I am not sure, however looking at the investment SAS are making into porting functionality (Wessel de Meyer’s presentation ‘Data Management and Analytics Update) into Viya one can only wonder; will SAS 9 share the same fate as WRS has with SAS VA?
Well done to the organising committee, these events are growing and getting better each year. I look forward to the next one.

SUNZ 2017 at the Michael Fowler Centre, 11th May 2017

One final note to the outgoing chair Rohan Light, it has been a pleasure seeing you take this leadership role with SUNZ committee and running with it – You have done well and SUNZ will miss your style. Good luck with your next endeavours.
Oh and the Official Photos from the Day.
You learn something every day
Barry, Preventer of Chaos
Barry blogs about how to stop chaos in your systems
Want to read more? Try … SAS Viya – What is it? How can it help me? or more from Barry
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