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Meet Michelle Homes

Started ‎11-12-2014 by
Modified ‎10-05-2015 by
Views 2,838

MH-Jacket-square-250-shadow.jpgThis community is meant to serve as a useful resource and conversation hub for all things SAS Visual Analytics. You, the community members, are at the heart of it and make it oh so valuable to new and experienced SAS users alike.


No doubt you’ve seen or heard from one particular member, Michelle Homes, Co-Founder, Business Development Management, Consultant and Trainer at Metacoda. Not only does Michelle respond with helpful answers to many of the questions posted, but she also shares community activity with other networks such as Linked In and Twitter. She chairs the SAS Queensland User Group (QUEST), has been featured as part of the SAS Circle of Excellence program, and can be found in the hallways at Australia and New Zealand user forums, European forums and SAS Global Forum.


Let’s get to know Michelle even more. I asked her a few questions to learn a bit about her background, partnership with SAS, and general interests.

Tell us about what you do.

I do so many exciting things that revolve around SAS software. My primary role as the co-founder and business development manager of Metacoda means I get to speak to SAS customers about their environments, offering value-add with our software. Having worked for SAS Institute Australia in the late 90’s I enjoyed teaching SAS courses and still continue to do so. I teach a range of SAS Visual Analytics, Enterprise Guide, statistics and programming courses and occasionally do consulting/mentoring work. I also keep my teaching hat on in my mum role to a preschooler.

I understand Metacoda is a SAS Silver Alliance member. Can you describe that relationship and how it helps SAS users?
Sure. Metacoda specializes in the development of software add-ons helps organizations get even more out of their SAS software investment. We focus on maximizing productivity through enhanced visibility of SAS platform metadata. We’ve been in operation since 2007 and currently have customers in 9 countries. We offer 3 products to SAS customers:

  • Metacoda Custom Tasks: free-of-charge Metadata Table Finder and a Metadata Column Finder. These custom tasks can be added to existing SAS Enterprise Guide® and SAS Add-In for Microsoft Office installations to help users locate the data (tables and columns) they need.
  • Metacoda Security Plug-ins: add-ons to the SAS Management Console which significantly improve the productivity of administrators when working with SAS metadata security implementations. Also includes an optional testing framework enabling administrators to build or export a metadata security test plan, which can be run against one or more environments to verify an expected implementation of metadata security.
  • Metacoda Commutual: a web-based application to help organizations search and collaborate on business and technical metadata within their SAS platform installations. Some of the features include an activity stream, search, discussions, role-based access and metadata-driven authentication and authorization.

You can learn more about how we help SAS customers get more value from metadata in an interview I did with SAS last year.

What are the top three things SAS users should consider when it comes to data visualization?

  1. Understand the underlying data. What are the business rules? Are there data quality issues? Missing values? Outliers? I believe an understanding of the data context is needed to be able to comprehend and appreciate the visualization. Without context, what are you looking at?
  2. Select the most appropriate visualization. If it takes you more than 5-10 seconds to interpret the visualization then perhaps it isn’t the right one to use. I LOVE the automatic chart visualization in SAS Visual Analytics! It allows end users to focus on the data items they want to analyze, regardless of type, with the software determining the best visualization. This creates more time to focus on interpreting the data visualization rather than building it. Also when selecting the visualization think about your audience. For example, some of my SAS Visual Analytics students know that I find boxplots to be a fantastic data visualization to gain quick insight. However, this visualization may not be appropriate for executives.
  3. Attract your audience! Similar to point 2, you have seconds to entice your audience to view the data visualizations and reports, so you want to have a good design. Plan your content: the layout, navigation paths, etc. and have it visually appealing with an appropriate color scheme or even corporate colors.

What’s the most exciting project you’ve worked on and why?
The most exciting project I’ve worked on was helping Queensland Police achieve their business goals using SAS software. I was engaged to help transform an extremely manual process to produce operational reports to an automated one using SAS software. The Queensland Police needed to produce operational statistical reports for different regions every two weeks and could take four days to generate (or longer if the operator forgot to make a change to the SAS code).


By automating it, it now takes two hours to run! This empowered the team to be able to provide other services to the organization. What was exciting was helping them in their journey and guiding them to understand the amazing capabilities of SAS software. I find it challenging and exciting in projects like this where I’m asked “Can SAS do this?” and my reply is more often “Of course, there are 3 ways to do it… what’s your preference?” To find out more about the project and Queensland Police’s journey using SAS software, have a look at Peter Conroy’s presentation he gave to our local SAS user group, QUEST.

Everybody prints out a cheat sheet and pins it up for reference (or has a favorite bookmark online). What’s yours?
I don’t have one! I tend to remember places to go for reference when I need them. My main collection of resources is from the SAS website and I shared this in a blog post I wrote a couple of years ago.

What’s your favorite thing about the SAS Support Communities? Ideas for improvements?
My favorite thing about SAS Support Communities is that it brings the world of SAS users closer together! I think it is fabulous to have the facility to search, share, collaborate and lurk with SAS users across different time zones and to have the generous support and guidance from SAS staff. It’s a fabulous platform that’s evolved as the SAS community grows it’s wealth of information, tips and resources.


As an idea for an improvement, I’d like to be able to get to know the people on SAS Support Communities a little better. It’s great to meet up with people at events like SAS Global Forum but that only happens once a year and not everyone gets the opportunity to go. I’d be interested to know if other people think about the potential of online meet-ups/hangouts.

I love the idea of meet-ups! It’s definitely in our thinking as we plan content and activities for communities in 2015. Other community members, would you be interested in putting a face to the usernames of some local SAS users/community members?

Back to you, Michelle. What’s your “pick” –
from technology to movies to music, what are you into these days?
Technology has always been an interest to me. I remember being a young child seeing an ad on television for a fax machine and quizzing my parents about it. My inquisitive nature has continued and with a geeky husband (Paul Homes) as well as our son, who’s full of questions, we live in a network of technology. And as for movies and music, as any parent can appreciate, the sights and sounds in our household tend to be dragons, monsters and super heroes, with a dash of educational technologies including some SAS Curriculum Pathway apps. Smiley Happy


Thanks for the post . I hope to meet members of the community in person at  SAS Global Forum 2015. Metacoda will be a sponsor again and you'll find me in the demo hall giving away Metacoda koalas Smiley Happy. Drop by to collect one! You can see some videos at Metacoda at SAS Global Forums

and I are also planning to have a SASGF15 TweetUp again on the Saturday night before the conference on 25APR2015. You can read about the SASGF14 TweetUp at

Oooh, sounds good on the TweetUp, Michelle Homes and Patricia Aanderud, what a great way to make connections with those who will be attending in Dallas. Hope to see many of you there!

I ❤️ VA! A photo taken by an attendee on the SAS Visual Analytics Fast Track this week.


At SAS Global Forum 2015 I was interviewed by on my involvement with this community. Check it out and share your experiences with SAS Visual Analytics and the community: Online Communities & User Groups with Michelle Homes - YouTube

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‎10-05-2015 04:29 PM
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