Explore the SPSS universe at IBM Insight 2015

Independent Consultant

Thirty-six sessions at IBM Insight 2015, scheduled for 25–29 October in Las Vegas, will deal with SPSS in some way. Including workshops, that’s almost 50 hours of sessions. Of course, between eating, sleeping, meeting colleagues and listening to keynote talks, you won’t be able to attend them all. Accordingly, as an SPSS event veteran of long standing, dating back to before IBM’s purchase of SPSS, Inc., I’ll help you navigate the busy Insight schedule.

In this first post, I’ll focus on sessions presented by IBM employees. In future posts, I’ll provide overviews of IBM partners presenting about SPSS, then overviews of IBM clients doing so.

Keep current on SPSS software

Every year at Insight, I seek out sessions that will be announcing the latest and greatest versions for release during the next year. Sure, they conflict with other sessions I want to attend—but I go anyway. After all, the advance notice helps me prepare for changes to my books and to my training events.

This year, Jane Hendricks and Darlene Oordt, both of whom have been SPSSers for many years, will be presenting about IBM SPSS Modeler in the session “What’s new in IBM SPSS Predictive Analytics.” If their presentation is anything like last year’s, they will go beyond SPSS Modeler to include SPSS Collaboration and Deployment Services and other such applications. You can find me there on Monday at 4:00 PM.

I’ll also be attending “What’s new in IBM SPSS Statistics,” presented by Murali Prakash at 1:00 PM on Tuesday. The session title may not indicate a specific version number, but most years, this talk introduces next year’s version.

Make time for workshops

Scheduling a three-hour event during a busy conference is never easy, but you can’t beat the hands-on experience provided by putting down the scratch pad, getting on a computer and trying out new techniques. This year, you can choose from three such workshops.

Jos den Ronden, a SPSSer of two decades’ standing, will be discussing automation in “IBM SPSS Modeler using Python and R.” SPSS Statistics introduced Python integration with version 14, almost a decade ago—so if you can’t believe that you haven’t learned it yet, here’s the perfect chance to get up to speed. You’ll have two chances to attend Jos’s presentation: Tuesday at 2:00 PM and Wednesday at 2:00 PM.

Listen to prolific blogger Armand Ruiz take up the mantle from Jon Peck—who is retiring this year after 30 years with SPSS—on Wednesday at 10:00 AM, popularizing programmability concepts in the workshop “How to create extensions for IBM SPSS Modeler using R.” Armand will be co-presenting with Richard Cohen, another longtime SPSSer.

James Mott, who has been with SPSS for decades—for many years, he worked in the training department at SPSS, Inc., world headquarters in Chicago—will discuss a similar capability of SPSS Statistics in the workshop “Using IBM SPSS Statistics and the R programming language together.” This workshop, like Armand’s, is scheduled for 10:00 AM on Wednesday, so you’ll have to pick between the two, deciding whether to emphasize Modeler and R or SPSS and R. The skills you learn will transfer between platforms to some degree, but you’ll need to start thinking about which product line is more important to you.

Meet big data head-on

Because big data isn’t getting any smaller, it’s no surprise that very large data sets are well represented in the schedule this year. Apache Spark is a hot topic these days, so take care not to miss Mike Spicer, Dakashi Agrawal and Michael McRoberts speaking about Spark, IBM Streams and IBM SPSS in “An architecture for best of breed analytics,” scheduled for 2:30 PM on Tuesday.

On Wednesday at 1:00 PM, Steve Barbee and Jane Hendricks will be co-presenting “Unlock the secrets of big data with IBM SPSS.” After the session, follow Steve from Mandalay Bay North to Mandalay Bay South for another session on big data, this one co-presented with Bhupinder Juneja: “Unleash the power of scalable data mining algorithms on big data.” Underscoring the emphasis on SPSS Modeler and big data, Steve will be presenting these topics six times. However, he’ll be presenting with Jane only once, so work out your schedule ahead of time. the SPSS universe

The remaining sessions come in all types, including several “tips and tricks”type talks. In other sessions, you’ll have the opportunity to interact with product managers and even influence future versions. In particular, keep an eye out for other talks involving some of the long-term SPSSers I’ve already mentioned.

Be sure to leave time in your schedule for talks about using IBM SPSS in conjunction with other applications such as Esri and IBM Cognos. And let’s not forget IBM Watson. Two key players of long standing in the SPSS community, Stuart Torzewski and Kyle Weeks, have recently moved over to Watson, and they’ll be co-presenting with George Makovic on Wednesday at 12:30 PM.

That’s only the beginning of what you’ll find waiting for you at Insight 2015. Stay tuned for future posts in which I’ll discuss IBM partner and client presentations, including my own talk.

Meet me in Las Vegas

If you’ll be attending IBM Insight 2015, be sure to catch “Best practices: Implement IBM SPSS Modeler and overcome shortages of budget, skill and time,” a talk hosted by Ram Himmatraopet and me. You can also catch me between 1:00 PM and 2:00 PM on Wednesday, when I will be signing the IBM SPSS Modeler Cookbook and SPSS Statistics for Dummies and chatting about my third and fourth books, forthcoming in early 2016.

Stay tuned to the IBM Big Data & Analytics Hub for daily blogging about IBM Insight 2015, and follow @KMcCormickBlog for live tweeting from Las Vegas. Additionally, to learn more about predictive analytics and statistical analysis, be sure to check out our informational IBM Analytics resource page.