Whether you're an analytics neophyte or have been working in the data trenches for what seems forever and a day, the learning never stops -- or at least, it shouldn't.
That's something I always like to keep in mind for myself personally, and I hear it echoed from career-development professionals and industry thought leaders. I caught this same message just earlier this week, while chatting with Susan Johnson, director of corporate performance management at Northeast Utilities (NU).
New England's largest utility system, NU serves more than 3.6 million electric and natural gas customers in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire. Johnson came to NU via its 2012 merger with NSTAR Electric & Gas, where she had been in charge of performance management, as well. While we chatted mostly about the challenges and goals Johnson has at NU, we also got around to talking about her upcoming trip to Orlando, where she plans to immerse herself in the learning opportunities SAS has put together in its annual events, Analytics 2013 and Premiere Business Leadership Series (PBLS). I'll share a look inside NU's performance management strategy in a post next week, but for now, I'll stay focused on the learning topic.
As Michael Steinhart, our new executive editor, mentioned in yesterday's post, these SAS events bring together analytics, IT, and business professionals for jam-packed days (and nights) of learning and networking. Johnson said she's looking forward to being in the thick of it all.
At NU, Johnson and her team are looking to advance the use of performance management-related measurement and analytics. Company leaders are striving to take the utility to new levels of customer service and operations efficiency, so it's an exciting time. But it can be overwhelming, too, Johnson said. "I'm trying to figure out how best to support that effort."
Since NU uses SAS analytics software, heading to Orlando affords her the perfect opportunity to learn from analytics practitioners and thought leaders. While she may stop by a booth or two to scope out some products, her real motivation is learning from others. "My interest in next week is hearing how other people are using analytics to improve their businesses, and how are they're delivering value."
As Johnson looks to build her skills, she said, "I'll be taking in a lot more than giving next week." But I would bet, should you be in Orlando and bump into her, Johnson would be a great source of advice from her years of experience in corporate performance management. And the great thing is, her experiences at the utility will likely be applicable to whatever business you're in. As Johnson said, she's looking forward to hearing anything and everything she can about the advanced use of analytics, in any industry.
I'm with All Analytics blogger Tricia Aanderud, an author and independent SAS BI consultant, in sharing our disappointment about missing the events. We have conflicting commitments keeping us from these Orlando opportunities.
The good news is, we'll both be immersed in other learning-oriented confabs. I'll be attending and moderating sessions at The Big Data Conference in Chicago, and Aanderud wrote on our message board that she'll be elsewhere in Florida "giving a presentation about creating a stored process" to the Southern SAS Users Group. "I'm hoping to pick up some programming tips from other users," she said, "but I wanted to go to the Analytics 2013, as well."
Are you in or out for Analytics 2013 and PBLS? Either way, what analytics topics do you want to learn about? Maybe we can help!