Ram Gopa


Celebrating SAS/OPIM Partnering and JMP Starting the Future of Analytics

The challenge was set. What could one analyst do with a laptop, 123,000,000 observations, and JMP pro software? The answer, provided by SAS co-founder and JMP guru, John Sall, was “just about any known statistical analysis” and all in a matter of seconds!

On Friday, April 6th, SAS and UConn’s Department of Operations and Information Management (OPIM) jointly hosted a gathering of local business executives and academic researchers. The focus was on the growing importance of analytics in the business world. But the spotlight was on how a partnership between SAS and OPIM has supported the successful development and launch of the new MS in Business Analytics and Project Management (MS-BAPM) and has helped demonstrate the business value in deep data analytics.

Following an interactive and lively lunch, Ram Gopal, Head of the Department of Operations and Information Management, kicked off Friday afternoon’s program with welcoming remarks, expressions of gratitude for all those in attendance, and a brief summary of the SAS/OPIM partnership and details on the new MS-BAPM program. Ram’s remarks were followed by a presentation from Peter Bothwell, Senior VP at the Travelers and a Founding Member of the MS-BAPM Advisory Board, who spotlighted the business value of competing on analytics using a compelling array of examples in the property and casualty industry. Pete also highlighted the growing partnership between The Travelers and the new MS-BAPM, emphasizing the mutual benefits of such public/private partnering.

After being introduced by Zhongju Zhang, Director of the MS-BAPM program, John Sall, or “Mr. JMP”, then took the podium for a live and real time demonstration of how a slightly souped-up (added memory) laptop could do deep analytics in seconds either on a 123,000,000 record data set or on a broad, flat data set involving hundreds of variables and millions of records. The demonstration of the power of JMP Pro was evident but what caught the attention of all was the sheer enjoyment John was getting out of this very powerful demonstration. He demonstrated and emphasized the growing power and speed of deep data analytics – most importantly, he caught the attention of Connecticut’s business community.

Radhika Kulkarni, VP R&D Analytics at SAS, noted how difficult it was to be the speaker following John Sall, but Radhika’s knowledge and presentation made it evident she was John’s parallel as the “analytics genius of SAS”. Emphasizing the enterprise-wide focus of SAS, Radhika walked us through the challenges facing the analytics community and advancements in enterprise analytics from SAS in responding to those challenges. Radhika’s clarity of examples and ability to demonstrate high-value analytics’ links across the enterprise gave the audience a variety of possible analytics use-paths to think about in their own business settings.

While the business attendees headed home after the early evening networking reception, UConn faculty and students along with our SAS visitors prepared for a full day of workshops on JMP 10 Pro and SAS Rapid Predictive Modeling (RPM) that took place on Saturday. JMP’s Mia Stephens handled the JMP 10 Pro hands-on workshop, while SAS’ Andre de Waal took our faculty and students through a journey on the RPM highway where traditional statistics and analytics collides with the need for virtually instantaneous model development and implementation in today’s e-world.

The two-day event gave all of us an exposure to the power of analytics and to how powerful new tools capable of rapidly analyzing massive amount of data are emerging. The two days gave us much to ponder, but one thing is clear. The SAS/OPIM-UConn partnership is yielding large benefits. Our students are being educated at the forefront of methods and analytics platforms. Our faculty have the benefit and power of tools that support innovative teaching and frontier research. The Connecticut business community continues to see the value of programs such as MS-BAPM, including interactive experiential learning projects and a growing high-quality job candidate pool. SAS has the opportunity to enhance use of its tools along with feedback that helps them continue to expand and enhance the analytics support tool set.

A great two-days – a great continuing partnership!

Photo: Ram Gopal, Head of the Department of OPIM & John Sall, SAS Co-founder and JMP Guru


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