A technology company that places a high value on art.

Beyond SAS’ workplace culture, benefits and leadership in the analytics market, it was the company’s emphasis and appreciation toward the arts that first caught Jessica Peter’s attention.

Jessica first learned about SAS from the comfort of her living room. During a 60 Minutes television special, she watched news correspondents interview CEO Jim Goodnight on the surprising culture created around caring for people first.

“If SAS knew that buying an Andrew Wyeth painting or investing in a resident artist was a good thing, then I knew SAS was the place for me,” said Jessica. “A technology company that values the arts and uses art to inspire employees and customers is a rare find.”

Nearly a decade after her first encounter with SAS, Jessica landed her first job with the organization as a user experience designer. She knew the campus would be filled with beautiful art pieces, but she also assumed that a technology company would have data-driven art. That wasn’t the case.

This gap gave Jessica, who is also a visual artist, an idea. Rather than compartmentalizing her work life and her personal passions, she knew combining what she knew about data with what she loved about art, would be a way for SAS to reach a wider audience.

The curiosity of one inspires many

In a technology company like SAS, analytics, data visualization and artificial intelligence are common, every day phrases. But sometimes it is easy to forget that technical language only resonates with a limited and specific group of people — data scientists, programmers, analytics experts and those who are accustomed to making sense of complex, highly-technical information.

But what about everyone else? How do we help non-technical individuals connect to SAS and the story behind our datasets?

Over the last two years, Jessica has been able to partner with SAS’ resident artists to create a data-driven, artistic story that’s accessible to all. What started as a personal passion for Jessica eventually lead to the creation of SAS’ first data-powered art piece, which can be seen on the micro-tile wall installed at SAS World Headquarters. Through digital, abstract art, the data story of SAS’ solar farm is told, reflecting the energy being produced and the impact time and temperature have on energy levels throughout the day.

Allowing art to become the bridge to data

Because of the door’s art opens and the barriers it breaks down, Jessica believes art is the best way to connect individuals to the SAS story. By expanding the approach to data visualization beyond the traditional constraints of charts, box plots and correlation matrices, a wider audience begins to understand and connect to the power of SAS technology.

“Art evokes emotions through the memories and experiences it creates. If we allow art to become the bridge to data, we can simplify the complex and allow everyone to experience data in a way that is personal to themselves.”

The solar farm installation was the first, but it will not be the last data art installation for SAS. The opportunities to connect people to the power of data and analytics through art installations are endless, but it could not have happened without someone like Jessica who was willing to ask the questions others had yet to consider. Her curiosity to consider a different approach to data visualization has inspired the curiosity of others, creating the space for new ideas to be dreamed and visualized.

How can your personal passions begin to intersect with your work life? It is a question worth exploring.

In case you haven't heard the big news - we're thrilled to share that SAS has been recognized by Fast Company as a Best Workplace for Innovators. It's our amazing employees - like Jessica and so many others around the world - who are willing to unleash their creativity to fuel our innovation.

Here, your curiosity matters, and our employees believe in what we do and the power of our analytics.


About Author

Anjelica Cummings

Manager, Social Innovation Programs, Partnerships and Communications

Anjelica Cummings manages SAS' Social Innovation programs, partnerships and communications strategy. She is responsible for leading a senior team of experts who bring SAS' analytics and advocacy efforts together. The Social Innovation programs and partnerships apply SAS® technology toward the world's most pressing needs. Anjelica brings a decade of communications experiences to her role. Over the years she has developed, led and implemented strategic communications programs for dozens of national organizations. Whether it's a strategy designed for the media, customers, partners, employees or the community, Anjelica believes the fundamentals of communications remain the same: To bring greater understanding, visibility and connection to the issues that matter most. She is a guest lecturer for North Carolina State University and a former board member of the International Association of Business Communicators.

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