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SAS Employee

What is your site number?

Year 1997 Merja was changing career and at the time learning Java was the hottest skill in IT. Instead Java, she was persuaded to learn some SAS and start to work in SAS technical support in Finland where she became a key person to build foundation to one of the highest scoring technical support team in IT field in Nordics.


Few weeks ago I invited Merja Korvenaho join me in a discussion, 1 year after her retirement when we had Teams meeting with Sugif. I have found out that when people are near retirement or a while after retirement, they have clear perspective into things. Everyday problems have been forgotten and the core of working is clear. Merja was one of those people behind the scene, doing awesome job and helping our customers the best possible way we can. I just had to get the final thoughts of Merja and show this person once more to the SAS community.


"1997 you didn't google. There was no global system for tracks. But luckily there were SAS manuals and when customer called in the land-line, we helped them." A lot has changed since then but the most important thing has been the same. Communication.


"What is your site number?" - This might be the most common first question we ask and also a critical one. One customer can have 10+ different SAS sites and there can be 10+ tracks under investigation at a time. Site number will link all the tracks into right customer, tells what SAS components there is and some more technical information. This and some other questions, some probably very familiar to most of you, is checked every time you open a track. 


"Solving technical issues is first and foremost information exchange challenge". Are we talking at the same level? Are we talking the same language, a SAS language? "Being a good solution finder is most thanks to you, our customers. At the end of the workday, it is you who can help us to solve these problems together." 

Our dialogue in the meeting is ending and surprisingly many people like to share some of the experience and positive feedback about the help that Merja has provided in her many years at SAS. These kind of comments and praises would melt everybody's heart. "I would probably be still solving that one issue without your help, Merja." Just to highlight one.


Merja was great at helping customers, she truly loved the work she did and I think it was because she was helping and caring for those near to her.


Most of us is working again at home office with limited contact outside working life, less discussion outside work topics. And it's busy time of the year too.

Let's not forget our fellow SAS users, try to find time for "How are you doing", "What are you doing when you are not working" questions and also for the answers. I try to do the same, like Merja always did. Let's take care of the SAS Community here in the Nordic.

Super User

I have always appreciated the help from SAS Tech Support.


One case that I talk with people about when comparing support stories involved SAS 6 for OS/2 back in 1994. I worked at the time for a very large organization with offices all over the country. Our SAS "distribution" pattern was mail a set SAS supplied 3.5" floppy disks (around 40) with instructions for each office to make local copies for install and pass on the disks.

I updated my install and apparently had no problems. Until I ran a data step. I could use Proc Contents to examine existing data sets; Proc Freq and similar to examine data and generate output data sets. But every single Data step failed with an error text I can't remember 27 years later.

I called Tech Support. After about 2 hours on the phone we found out the cause was a single DLL file after install that was 7 bytes too small.  Apparently the person buying our diskettes had "saved some money" and the quality of the disks was not quite what it should have been. Tech Support sent me a fresh set of diskettes as by that time we had no idea where the original organizations set was to redo the copy and install process.


I wish I could remember the techs name for credit but knowing the product well enough to isolate where this type of error might be was impressive. Of course we didn't start at that level, there were several other code submissions and items examined as we worked down a tree of some sort (I suspect).

SAS Employee
Thanks for sharing! I would love to hear more stories like this. Who's next?


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