For the first time in a decade, I have a new official role and title at SAS. But what's remarkable about my new role isn't how much of my job will change, but how much of it will remain the same. I'm giving up my role as a software manager, but I get to expand my role as a customer-focused liaison between R&D, technical support, SAS consultants, and SAS customers. My domain focus remains in the SAS BI offerings, including SAS Enterprise Guide, SAS Add-In for Microsoft Office, SAS Web Report Studio, and more. I still sit on the same hallway as most of the development team members, so geographically, I'm not going anywhere.
I'm proud to join the ranks of people who have "customer advocate" in their official job descriptions. If you know me from this blog, the support.sas.com discussion forums, SAS Global Forum, or regional user group events, you probably won't notice much of a change. I'll still be here, there, and everywhere that I can be, to share information with customers and to gather their feedback.
I've spent 10 years as a software manager, primarily facilitating the work of the SAS Enterprise Guide team. If you're to be an effective software manager, a big slice of your attention is focused on the internal matters that affect the team and the larger organization as a whole. Your job is to keep developers productive, and provide what they need to grow in their careers. You help to create the environment that allows software to be built on schedule, with the right features, and with high quality.
All SAS employees are expected to keep a certain focus on customers. After all, being "customer-driven" is one of our corporate core values. But when you're developing, testing, and trying to ship software, it's easy to got bogged down in the process of writing code, fixing bugs, and validating features. You need someone who stays in touch with customers to "keep you honest" and grounded in the customer perspective. I'll endeavor to serve in that role for my colleagues in R&D.
We have lots of people who already do this at SAS. Of course, we have our award-winning technical support department. We have trainers, who not only share information with you in their instructor-led courses, but they also bring your questions and ideas back to us in R&D. We also have many people who cultivate customer loyalty by connecting customers with the information and services that they need, and these people work across all of the disciplines at SAS. And we have you, who reach out to us with your suggestions and ideas.