It’s not breaking news that SAS Institute has mastered the art of giving customers the power to know. Being an employee of this leading software company, I find it easy to be sucked into my computer exploring SAS’ inner workings to see how code works or inquire into the latest innovations of the R&D division.
As my internship continues, one thing becomes more and more prevalent: SAS is so much larger than my computer screen.
Every line of code, every small task, every document is a small piece in the overall success of SAS.
Not how, but why?
When I first started here, I always asked myself, “how to do I complete [insert task here]?” I had a few simple goals: learn new things, stay out of trouble and get my work done. I never really thought about what impact my documentation had on IT as a division.
A couple summers ago, I presented my technical writing at the SAS Intern Expo. After I displayed my polished version of raw server procedures and diagrams, other SAS employees came up and commended my work. I actually got to meet a couple people whose procedures I wrote and people who actually used my documentation! It was amazing!
As an intern, I used to wonder if my work actually makes an impact, but since that moment at the Intern Expo, my views changed. Every small task affects something or someone here at SAS and the question of “how” changed to “why?” Why am I creating this project? Why is it important to SAS? Why is my work crucial to solving a problem?
My big picture as an intern
My internship experience, thus far, has consisted of several different roles, including technical writing in IT, technology enablement and digital marketing.
Working within these varied organizations has allowed me to create connections between otherwise separate entities within SAS. When faced with a task, I realize that there is so much more than what’s directly in front of me.
Read between the lines and try to answer the not-so-obvious questions. What infrastructure is my project impacting? Who’s involved? What workflows are affected?
SAS is an enormous company. How is the project on my computer screen impacting SAS as a whole?
Innovation vs. invention
Exploring beyond a certain task or project can foster innovation. And one small change can make a big difference.
Looking at a project as a puzzle piece in SAS’ overall growth can allow you to adopt a new perspective and find new ways to tackle problems. Solutions that were invisible before can come into light. New teams, new individuals and new resources are at your disposal if you create connections between your workflow and those of other employees.
How to engage in the big picture
Read blogs. Good job! You’re already doing great if you’re reading this. Blogs are an amazing way of interacting with other areas of the company and your customers (if it’s an external blog). Read more SAS blogs.
Stay up to date with industry. Wherever you work, there are lots of sources for the latest trends and innovations in your industry. Stay current and see how you can connect those to your own work.
Stay social at SAS. Executives host numerous town halls, video series and podcasts that contain useful information for learning company-wide news. Social media is another way to stay connected to customers, professional development events and global innovations.
Defy boundaries. Apply creative thinking and embrace new perspectives when faced with obstacles. The next time you sit down to type at your computer, or grab your laptop to attend a meeting, remember that there’s so much left for you to discover beyond the width of your computer screen.