As part of the “Meet” series that started by introducing Michelle Homes, I recently spent some time getting to know another active community member, Peter Wijers. You’ve likely “seen” Peter in many discussions lending a helping hand, or perhaps read the SAS Global Forum 2014 paper on his data visualization work at Euromax. Here’s what Peter had to say about his role, experience and what he does when not using SAS Visual Analytics.
Tell us about what you do and your favorite thing about it.
Currently, I am functional manager ICT at Euramax Coated products BV located in Roermond, the Netherlands. In addition to my responsibilities for the functional ERP set-up, I continually prepare improved processes and related customizations for our fully-integrated, multi-company ERP system. After expanding the system to another location in the United Kingdom, I started a project on data consolidation and warehousing with SAS Base. For the visualization piece of the project, I used SAS Visual Analytics, which became our corporate analytics and reporting tool as of early 2013.
Besides these SAS-related activities, I run projects on product-configuration/quoting and the replacement/upgrading of our ERP system.
My favorite part of all my responsibilities is seeing the transformation of general data entry to strategic reporting. I particularly like achieving one of my primary goals: to translate data and information needs into strategic processes of improvement that exceed user expectations.
What are the top three things SAS users should consider when it comes to data visualization?
What’s the most exciting project you’ve worked on and why?
I want to mention two projects that stand out for me. First, solving for the millennium problem. This took more than one year of intense, key member teamwork within our Competence Centre and resulted in a successful new ERP implementation. Even after 14 years, the basics still stand and have been successfully rolled-out to a sister company in the UK.
Secondly, I am excited about my data consolidation project. In cooperation with the sales, purchase, logistics and finance managers, we’ve defined generally-accepted multi-company business rules for all critical information. With most of the data derived from ledger accounts tables, we now have one central reporting system that covers all areas, and is based on the same unique data source. Having a single point of truth helps us not only avoid endless and never-ending discussions but also provides the basis for companywide strategic reporting. Senior management has been supportive of this new data set-up, and as such, departments have stopped using their own creations.
Everybody prints out a cheat sheet and pins it up for reference (or has a favorite bookmark online). What’s yours?
Generally I am a Lean/SixSigma fan using the DMAIC method for most of my projects. No cheat sheets for me on SAS, knowing there is so much SAS info on the internet. Besides the extensive documentation of SAS itself, there are a lot of technical reports and papers from SAS users. Always interesting are the SAS Tech Report emails with extra tips. Last but not least I have to mention the SAS customer support and communities via email or during user events.
Say you are at a networking event and someone asks if you’re active in any online forums. What would you say about the SAS Visual Analytics Community?
As one of the first active users of SAS Visual Analytics (VA) in the Netherlands, I would strongly advise to start using the VA Community for several reasons. Besides useful basic tips and tricks, users can get info regarding more difficult problems or even not covered solutions yet. (Or get a work around.) Given the huge expansion and improvements during the last releases, as a user you can contribute to improvements by mentioning them at the community.
Any ideas for improvements to the community?
For now it’s not clear which ideas will be covered or not. Polls stay open suggesting action, but that’s not always the case. Consideration should be given whether to actively ask for improvements and deal with them, or just stop doing this. Here in the Netherlands, we are setting up a VA user group that will meet several times a year. Our plan is to demo VA usage and tricks to other users and actively discuss open issues and/or workarounds. We know that SAS is open to support and embraces this.
Absolutely, we are most interested in supporting user communities both on and offline! It’s very exciting to hear about the VA user group in the Netherlands. Also, thanks for the feedback about this community. Indeed, taking action from poll results is an area for improvement. We will post demos on topics of interest based on a couple of polls regarding predictive analytics and mobile BI. Stay tuned for those.
In terms of ideas for product improvements – know that those are being heard. Whether ideas surface within discussions or through the SASware Ballot Ideas section on the community, they are seen and considered as part of the development process. We will work to do a better job of communicating their status. Again, really appreciate this input.
Now, another question for you – what can you be found doing on a Saturday morning?
Besides my gardening/painting and fixing jobs at home, I actively run distances from 10-15 km several times a year with our company team. I try to find a good mix between fitness and running to keep in shape. I try to watch as many of my son’s soccer games as possible and have a small career as a referee. Furthermore I enjoy my daughter’s music and rescue swimming practice, as well as her involvement with the regional lifeguard team. Together with my wife, we like to walk in the woods and bike in the region.
Lastly I should not forget our cat that expects “royal” treatment. As they always say, cats do not have a boss, they have servants.
What’s your “pick” – from technology to movies to music, what are you into these days?
Generally, I am interested in anything related to mechanical technology. Especially when something is broken and I try to fix it.
Movies have a wide interest for me. Besides classic thrillers like “The Fugitive” and “Don’t say a Word,” I can enjoy drama like “The Fault in Our Stars”, the humor in “Shrek” and the action/fantasy of “The Hobbit.”
Music varies from U2, Dire Straits and The Eagle’s to more recent Coldplay. I always enjoy the top 2000 all times on the radio during Christmas time.