SAS users arriving at the SUGI 31 conference in San Francisco were greeted with the announcement that it would be the last SUGI conference to be held.
Starting with next year, SUGI will give way to SAS Global Forum. In announcing the change, SUGI 31 chair Kim LeBouton emphasized the importance of distinguishing the annual conference from the hundreds of SAS user groups all over the world. Although "users group" will no longer be part of the name, future conferences will still emphasize the same kind of content and value for SAS users, LeBouton said. The first SAS Global Forum will be held in Orlando in April 2007.
The final SUGI conference, held in March 2006 in tech-savvy San Francisco, can boast the largest official attendance number of any SUGI conference, initially cited as 4,185. Unofficially, though, some say the largest group of attendees was seen at SUGI’s previous appearance in San Francisco in 1989.
Two themes at the conference were scalability and rapid implementation — important issues for enterprises wanting to process billions of observations without waiting years to get results.
SASware Ballot results were announced at the conference. The top vote-getters included text-editing features, a feature for labeling a data step, and many proposed data-management features. SAS was able to announce that they have already completed development for some SASware Ballot items for inclusion in future SAS releases. The SASware Ballot enables SAS users to vote annually on priorities for SAS research and development.