6月 022015

SAS Customer Contact Center

SAS Cares. That’s how we want you to feel once you become a SAS customer. How do we do that? By bringing all of the support resources together with one goal in mind – helping you become a better SAS user.

The SAS Cares experience involves everything from searching on the support website to receiving one of our e- newsletters, or maybe interacting with us on social media and the communities. This handy SAS Cares infographic contains everything you need to know.

The SAS Cares challenge

What is SAS doing differently? Last year, customer-facing teams at SAS challenged themselves to identify ways to improve your overall experience as SAS software customers and to solve your inquiries immediately.

As part of that challenge, SAS conducted its own research and met with national brands with a reputation of excellent customer service.  We wanted an external perspective from our business peers to better understand how they are actively engaging customers. The takeaways were clear:

  • Customers want to communicate in the channel of their choice.
  • Timely and consistent responses are expected from the first point of contact.
  • Subject matter experts and service levels need to be predefined to prevent roadblocks in customer service.

Here are some of the ways SAS is meeting that challenge and changing the customer experience.

SAS Customer Contact Center

On the front lines of the experience is the SAS Customer Contact Center.

The contact center is that one readily accessible resource for you to engage with SAS, have your questions answered and be connected with the right contact or place quickly.

SAS knows that whether you are inquiring about your software purchase, training or books, you want to decide how to communicate with us. The SAS Customer Contact Center offers all these options: social platforms like Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn, forms, phone, live chat, email or e-commerce.

What’s new in SAS customer support?

As a result of its research, SAS teams such as the Customer Contact Center and Customer Loyalty have added a number of options as part of their efforts to enhance our frontline support and meet  your demands for digital resources and support:

  • Streamlining the first point of entry for customers:
  • Expanding its e-commerce options to include free software for students, professors and individual learners and free trials for select offerings.
  • Resolving issues on first contact by opening SAS Technical Support tracks for complex installation and implementation issues, and leveraging the SAS communities for usage guidance.
  • Offering Ask the Expert, interactive sessions with SAS experts to get your questions answered.

There are so many ways SAS Cares about its customers. Learn more about how we can help you become a better SAS user.


tags: sas cares, sas customer contact center, sas customer support, sas users group,

The post From tweets to chats to learning - SAS is here for its customers appeared first on SAS Users.

3月 182014

Learning. Sharing knowledge. Catching up with colleagues. My favorite part of attending SAS Global Forum is connecting with other SAS users from around the globe. SAS Global Forum 2014 is run for SAS users, by SAS users and all of the content presented at the event is from users like you. That’s unique! More remarkable is that SAS users have been meeting like this since 1976.

Over the years, SAS users found ways to continue to share, collaborate---even maintain lasting friendships—long after the event was over. That being said, you don’t want to miss the Online Communities Meet-Up on Tuesday night. This convergence of six different but important online groups includes multiple international communities, SAS Support Communities, SAS-L listserve and in particular will be sharing new plans, including a call for motivated volunteers to help with developing and enhancing the site.

Like SAS Global Forum, is run for SAS users, by SAS users. It also contains over five years’ worth of technically rich, SAS-user-contributed content. Just browse the site’s longstanding Sasopedia to see what I mean. And if you want a glimpse into the history of SAS user content, check out their catalog of historical conference papers from 1976 to 1996. Conversely, you can subscribe to the Planet, a collection of progressive blog entries from the SAS user community. Other new features make it even easier to be involved and stay connected. recently announced a way for presenters to create a presentations index page for their work. This new feature makes it easier to create articles about your presentations, share your presentation materials and continue the discussion online after the conference has ended.

Whether we are talking about online communities, SAS users groups or SAS Global Forum, one thing is clear:  the fact that for so many years SAS users self-organize to connect, share and create value for themselves and others speaks to the rich history and bright future of SAS users worldwide.

See you soon at SAS Global Forum 2014!

tags: SAS Global Forum,
8月 232013
Call them tricks or call them nuggets of information. With a language as complex and versatile as SAS there are any number of small bits of knowledge that we accumulate and use – sometimes without even thinking about them.  Often we discover a gem of information, but what gems have we [...]
8月 032012
Writing a book (especially for SAS Press) is an incredible experience. If you are playing with the thought of doing so, I highly recommend that you proceed with this idea. You’ll get a much better structured view of your favorite topic, learn a lot about yourself, and enter a very [...]
6月 272012

For all of you whipper snappers (a loving term applied to generations younger than yourself) who haven't been around SAS since the beginning of time - like Phil Miller, Art Carpenter and Kathy Council have - you may not remember when SAS Users Groups conference proceedings weren't offered online. That's right - there was no Internet. During that unholy time (and for a short time after while our generation learned to use the new fangled Web stuff), SAS printed and bound the conference proceedings. Thanks to Lex Jansen, Rich La Valley and a score of other folks, most of the proceedings are now offered online. Most, I said.

Rich La Valley, SUGI 14 chair

Rich La Valley

Rich La Valley, chair of SUGI 14 and member of the Advisory Board, just gave me a call to ask a big favor of the SAS community. La Valley said that the SAS Library has copies of all SUGI, SAS Global Forum, regional users group and special interest group conference proceedings, but the process for scanning those proceedings would mean that the binders would have to be cut apart and then each page would have the binder section cut off.  Of course, the pages would be rebound once the scanning is complete, but these bound copies would forever be altered.

"I think those copies are the only complete sets of some of these proceedings," said La Valley. "But, I'm hoping that there are SAS users out there who have the missing bound copies and would be willing to donate them for this cause."

La Valley isn't just putting the conference proceedings online. He is also indexing the proceedings so that you can search using parameters such as author's name, title, keywords, conference and date. What an undertaking, but what a great resource! For instance:

  • SAS users looking for a mentor in PROC SQL could look through the ten pages returned for PROC SQL to learn about users in their region who present often on PROC SQL.
  • Looking to see if the paper you want to present at SAS Global Forum 2013 has ever been written about before? Search here for papers from 1976 to 2012.
  • Maybe you forgot the name of the great paper that you saw Toby Dunn present at SESUG in 2010. You can search on Toby Dunn or search in the SESUG 2010 proceedings until you happen across it. Maybe you only remember the topic - working with SAS date - you don't get Toby Dunn's paper right off, but you get great resources.

You get the point.

Here is the list that La Valley sent of the missing years and conferences that he hopes you will be able to donate:

PharmaSUG - 1990 -1997 and 1999 (Thank you to Rich Allen for 1998.)
WUSS -  1993, 1997, 1999 (Thank you to Diana Suhr for providing the other years.)
NESUG - (Complete - thanks to Ray Pass.)
SESUG -  (Complete - thanks to MariBeth Johnson.)
MWSUG - 1990, 1992, 1994 - 1999, 2002, 2003 ( Thank you to LeRoy Bessler for 1991 and 1993. )
SCSUG - 1990 (Thank you to Tom Winn for providing the other years.)
PNWSUG - All years prior to 2004.

"I have already recovered all of the papers from SEUGI in Europe thanks to Frank Leistner, from SAS, but have not begun anything on the proceedings in Australia/New Zealand," La Valley said.

La Valley and I talked a little about the future of the project, and he has grand plans. Using SAS text mining technology, La Valley will work with Denise Bedford from Kent State to create a semantic map of the proceedings that delves deeper than any 'search' engine can. As I understand it, this technology will search the content of the papers for its meaning. This will allow users to  search the database for papers about a topic. Since the technology understands the papers, users will get a cluster of papers that are meaningful. Remarkable! How many times have you opened a paper and realized that the title misrepresented the contents?

To help move this along, La Valley says the first step is locating all of the proceedings. "Please look in boxes in the attic or garage, or on book cases in your office for these missing proceedings," he said. "I would greatly appreciate your help, and I will keep you updated on the progress."

To contact La Valley with questions or to learn how you can donate and mail documents to him, email him at

tags: MWSUG, NESUG, papers & presentations, PharmaSUG, PNWSUG, SAS Global Forum,, scsug, SESUG, SUGI, US Regional Conferences, wuss
4月 282012

In some weird twist of fate, I have gone from being anti-social media to blogging on SAS Canada and now to blogging on the SAS Users Groups blog. Crazy world!

A little about myself first: I am married, been using SAS for about a year and a half, work for Canada's largest pediatric hospital as a database admin/data analyst, and I am a huge Star Wars fan. Now, to the important stuff.

I would guess there were about 40 people who came out to the SAS Communities Meetup: a lot of the "big" names in the various communities were there, from Matt Malczewski to Art (both Tabachnek and Carpenter), Ron Fehd (loved the getup!), Mike Raithel, Waynette Tubbs, and many, many others. I could literally feel the PROCs and DATA steps oozing from the room!

The moment Mike Rhoads welcomed everyone, I knew that this was not going to be a typical meeting - it was very relaxed, filled with humour and poking fun at one another, and just a wonderful sense of camaraderie.

SAS-L updates and news

From Mike, we moved to Tabachneck's presentation of the 26th edition of the SAS-L stats. Some of the highlights include: 379,763 total posts; 468 distinct email addresses posted 100+ times; and, according to Tabachneck's comprehensive and intense analysis, the rate at which people post to SAS-L is directly correlated to Florida's home prices (his version of statistics gives me a great deal of comfort, and I look forward to a Causal Relationships and Correlations for Dummies by him!).

Other highlights included announcement of June Genis winning the longest running sas-l thread award, namely 25 years-3 days.  Tabachneck sort of assisted on that one by responding to the first ever SAS-L post three days shy of the listserv’s 25th anniversary, namely a survey about how everyone used SAS in 1986.  He also announced the highest average number of lines per post (an astounding 2,759) and the most popular subject as "Out of Office" and, of course, himself as the list’s most frequent poster.

Finally, Tabachneck mentioned that the award winners’ pictures, and the powerpoint (with the analyses), could be found at:

As a very occasional poster to SAS-L, I am impressed at the sheer volume of posts. Being involved in SAS in general, the dedication and willingness to share doesn't surprise me in the least.

Later on in the meeting, Joe Kelley spoke about future enhancements to SAS-L, including RSS Feeds (yah!) and the possibility of moving to,a new platform.  Very exciting indeed!! briefly

Third in the line-up of speakers was Don Henderson presenting on the website. As he described, the site is a Wikipedia for SAS users but not controlled by SAS institute.

There is a Tip of the Day of the section (which is in need of submitters and reviewers. I will be looking at adding this to my list of involvement in the World of SAS). There has been a recent addition to the site, which allows members to watch pages, meaning they will be notified when a change is made to the page. The other change is that the site is now customizable by hiding/showing certain areas and the site will remember it for next time on a per user basis.

The site has 6,000 confirmed users, with almost 8,000 pages overall. There have been more than 43 million views, 8 million of which have been since April 2011. There are a significant number of pages and users, and people are strongly encouraged to post, edit and comment on pages.

The other feature of the site, which I was completely unaware of, is that all papers from every SUGI/SAS Global Forum since 1976 is now available on the site. They are OCR-enabled and therefore searchable, and although I am sure many people were involved, Nat Wooding was mentioned as the main engine behind the whole thing - thanks Nat, I for one will certainly make use of all your hard work! grows by leaps

As we moved on with the agenda, Art Carpenter got up to enlighten us about the SAS discussion forums.  With over 22,000 posts, 4,700 threads, 2.1 million views and 12,000 users, is giving SAS-L a run for the money.  In fact, the plan is to eventually move the original post and the final response from SAS-L to the discussion forum.  This will further enhance the repository of information, ensuring high quality information will be available for many users (volunteers needed, contact Art Carpenter for information).

It is no surprise that Art Tabachneck is in the top 3 posters; however, once again I wonder when he has time to eat, sleep or do anything not related to supporting SAS users! The really cool thing is that one of the other top posters is from SAS, which once again proves that SAS is not just about providing high quality software - they want to ensure we are using the software to the best of not just our ability, but to SAS's ability as well.’s video preso

Philip Male, from United Kingdom's, gave a pre-recorded video presentation on his community. Briefly, the site was created in April 2008. In one year, 6,700 users joined; 39% identify themselves as novice; and there are 160 new users a month on average.

Male’s recommendations on forming a successful site include:

  • Know Your Audience
  • Offer Incentives and Competition
  • Identify Key Contributor
  • Have a Memorable Name
  • Engage Others
  • Measure and Report on the Site Activity

SAS Canada Community traveled far

The SAS Canada Community was modeled after The only significant difference is that the UK group sends out a monthly newsletter, updating its user base with news from the site.

The last of the community presentations, the SASCanada community is the one that is nearest to my heart. My good friend (and rival blogger) Matt Malczewski gave the talk, highlighting that after 9 years of User Groups, it was felt that interest waned in the times between meetings.

The website launched in April 2011 with the intent to augment the support that already exists from the SAS community (but with a Canadian slant). This has succeeded in connecting users from the Maritimes to British Columbia. Being highly active on the site, I really enjoy the chance to chat with users in an informal setting, and then meet with many of them face-to-face in the Toronto area meetings.

To highlight this success, there have been 2,462 unique visitors with a total of 540 members (68% returning users). There have been a total of 7,515 visits, resulting in more than 33,000 page views, which is very impressive in my opinion!

Joke of the Day is the most popular group, and the blogs are the most frequented area of the forum. It is my goal that in the coming year to not only increase my regularity of blogging, but also to engage more fellow Canadians to join in and participate on the site.

The meeting was about two hours long, and I hope I have successfully captured the key points and conveyed the informative, but very relaxed nature of the meeting.  The last couple of points I wanted to mention were: Rick Wicklin is the first-ever SAS employee to win the SAS-L Rookie of the Year; Nat Wooding won the Most Valuable SAS-Ler;, Art Tabachneck won the Nomination Commenter of the Year Award, and Ron Fehd, auctioning off his purple top hat, raised $60 for the book drive (with an additional $51 being donated by attendees of the meeting).

Thank you to Waynette Tubbs for the opportunity to blog about this meeting; I had a lot ofof fun and look forward to helping out with blogging about future meetups!

Feel free to email me at, or check out my page at!

~ Chris Battiston

tags: art carpenter, Art Tabachnek,, Mike Raithel, ron fehd, SAS Global Forum, SAS-L, SASCanada,, sasProfessionals
4月 172012

Have you ever selected File->Schedule Project or Schedule->Process Flow in SAS Enterprise Guide? Are you curious about what magic these actions will trigger?

Here's what happens:

  • SAS Enterprise Guide creates a VBScript program that contains the instructions to start SAS Enterprise Guide, load your project, run your project or flow, and save the results.
  • SAS Enterprise Guide launches the Windows Task Scheduler interface, so that you can specify when and how often to run your project/flow unattended.
  • The scheduled task contains the command (CSCRIPT.EXE) and a reference to the VBScript (VBS file), which Windows will run at the appointed time. (Learn more about this mechanism at "Using SAS Enterprise Guide to run programs in batch".)

The VBScript instructions drive the SAS Enterprise Guide automation API, and that API is capable of much more than simply loading and running your project. And you aren't stuck with VBScript -- you can access the automation API using Windows PowerShell and Microsoft .NET.

As the following diagram shows, the automation interface is a peer to the main user interface for SAS Enterprise Guide. Like the happy gentleman pictured at the top of the diagram, most users will interact with the main windows of SAS Enterprise Guide. Users gain access to this user interface by using the primary executable (SEGuide.exe), often by way of a desktop shortcut icon. With automation,you forgo the SAS Enterprise Guide user interface entirely, and you instead script every action using the automation API.

These are the concepts and examples that are the subject of my SAS Global Forum 2012 paper, Not Just for Scheduling: Doing More with SAS Enterprise Guide Automation. I will present this topic at the conference on Wednesday morning at 8am (with coffee in hand, most likely).

Check out my summary page on for links to the paper, blog posts, and several examples. The examples include:

  • A VBScript example that can extract all of the SAS programs and SAS logs from your project file.
  • A PowerShell example to create a simple listing of all of the tasks and input data within your project file.
  • A Microsoft .NET example (implemented with C#) that allows you to search for any text within your project file.

That last one is of special interest (and worthy of a separate blog post later). Even if the automation API isn't your thing, you might enjoy the EGPSearch example, which allows you to search a collection of SAS Enterprise Guide project files for any text within your SAS programs, logs, notes and more.

tags: .net, automation, PowerShell, SAS global forum, SAS GloFo,, scripting, vbscript
11月 192011
This week's SAS author's tip comes from Gerhard Svolba, author of Data Preparation for Analytics Using SAS and the upcoming book Data Quality for Analytics Using SAS. Gerhard is a product manager and pre-sales consultant at SAS in Austria. Gerhard wrote his first book on analytics about five years ago and [...]
4月 032011
While talking to fellow SAS users at SAS Global Forum 2011 this week, I'll be discussing how SAS programmers can "play" with social media data that they can access on Facebook and Twitter. I always refer people to my blog for more information, and so I've prepared this blog post to make the information easy to find.

If you heard me talk about this topic at the conference and you're visiting the blog to learn more, Welcome! Here are the links to the additional materials that I've prepared.

Social Networking and SAS: Running PROCs on Your Facebook Friends (the paper):
Written with the help of Susan Slaughter, this paper describes how you can access different types of social media data, and provides some ideas for the analysis that you can perform with it.

Example Facebook application for gathering data (Windows application):
This application can be run standalone or as a custom task within SAS Enterprise Guide. You can use it to connect to your Facebook account, gather your friend data (names, education history, relationship status, birthdays, and more), and then save all of the information as a SAS program. You can then run the program in SAS (or via SAS Enterprise Guide).

An example of what the application looks like

The application generates some simple reports, but I'm confident that the creative SAS user community will be able to come up with even better results than I did.

Example SAS program to gather/analyze Twitter content (SAS program):
This program uses the XML LIBNAME engine, FILENAME URL, SGPLOT procedure, and a simple PROC PRINT to create a report of recent Twitter activity around a specified hashtag.

All of this information is also linked from this page on

I owe a big Thank You to Pete Lund, the section chair for the Social Media section at the conference, for inviting us to present on this topic. And also thanks to Susan Slaughter, who helped me to shape and validate the content for this paper and presentation.