2024 Customer Awards: Holland Numerics Ltd - Curious Thinker

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Company: Holland Numerics Ltd

Company background: Holland Numerics Limited is a small software consultancy based in Royston, Hertfordshire, UK. Founded in 1992 it is primarily focused on SAS development and helping clients get the maximum value from their use of SAS software.

Contact: Philip R Holland

Title: Consultant

Country: United Kingdom

Award Category: Curious Thinker

Tell us how you are inspired by the work you do?
My aim as a freelance contractor has always been to help my clients to the best of my ability, but also to use my independence to highlight problems which my clients need to address, even if they have tried to ignore them in the past, and to make the best use of SAS software.

How has SAS played a part in your journey?
43 years working with SAS software has been my working lifetime. 43 years working with SAS software has been an achievement, which I have thoroughly enjoyed. The only part I am missing would be an award!?

What products do you use and how do you use them?
Over the last 43 years I have used the following SAS products: Base SAS, SAS/GRAPH, SAS/ACCESS, SAS/STAT, SAS Enterprise Guide, SAS Studio, ODS Graphics, SAS Grid, SAS/EIS, SAS/AF, SAS/CONNECT on the following SAS platforms: Windows, IBM mainframe (MVS, OS/390), OS/2, UNIX, VMS, Linux

What is your greatest lesson learned that you'd like to share with others?
I enjoy helping my clients and encouraging new SAS programmers, but what I still love doing is SAS programming. After over 40 years of programming I can now think in the SAS language, so, if I can sort out a solution to a problem in my head, I am able to write out a rough draft of an entire program!

Comments
  • I first used SAS 79.5 software at the University of London Computer Centre in 1981.
  • I became SAS Site Representative for Prudential Assurance in London in 1984, and installed SAS 82.3 and 82.4 on their IBM mainframes.
  • In 1988 I moved to Centre-file in London, a software house belonging to NatWest Bank, as a Capacity Planner, where I made heavy use of their pen-plotters with SAS/GRAPH on various releases of SAS 5. I was then made redundant from there in 1992, when the work NatWest Bank had been passing to Centre-file was being back in-house.
  • Almost immediately, as an interim measure, I started doing freelance IT and SAS contracts through my own company Holland Numerics Limited in Belgium, returning to contracts in the UK in 1994.
  • My aim as a freelance contractor has always been to help my clients to the best of my ability, but also to use my independence to highlight problems which my clients need to address, even if they have tried to ignore them in the past.
  • While in Belgium I did a short contract using SAS and DB/2 to analyse computer usage, and then spent the rest of my time there working on SAS 6 for OS/2 and MVS at a securities bank.
  • My first contract in the UK was the first of many at Glaxo with its evolving names. The first was in 1994 for Glaxo R&D using SAS for UNIX and VMS. This was followed a few years later by contract at Glaxo Wellcome, where I built a SAS for Windows front-end to a VB assay program that used SAS/GRAPH, SAS/ACCESS for ODBC and DDE. My last direct contract with GSK was in the WorldWide Epidemiology group in 2003, which followed a SAS contract at Barclaycard, where I was analysing fraud data. The GSK contract, albeit in a clinical environment, required exactly the same SAS programming techniques as at Barclaycard, so I was more than able to write efficient programs in my first week at GSK.
  • Between 1995 and 2005 I worked on a wide variety of SAS platforms and business sectors, including designing and managing a SAS UNIX server for a credit bank that extracted data from a mainframe, a SAS for Windows application for help centre team management for an assurance company and campaign management software for a marketing company, a SAS/EIS business management tool for an insurance software house, and performance tuning a mainframe SAS program suite at the European Patent Office in The Hague.
  • From 2005 to the present day I have worked almost exclusively in the pharmaceutical sector for both pharmaceutical companies and contract research organisations. The difficulties in the finance sector after 9/11 has made me realise that high rates and short contracts are unsettling, whereas drug development is a much more reliable source of work and income. While this sector may not be at the forefront of SAS technology, I have still been heavily involved with SAS Grid, SAS Enterprise Guide, SAS Studio and ODS Graphics implementations.
  • From 1995 I started presenting SAS-related papers at international conferences, beginning at SeUGI in Stockholm. My most recent presentation about SAS Enterprise Guide was at the virtual SAS Global Forum in 2021, where I was assisted by Peedy on the video, who had been included in version 1.1 of SAS Enterprise Guide in 2001, using a program I had written in VB.Net to revive him.
  • I have published 4 SAS-related books, plus 7 SAS-related course booklets, since 2007, and I am currently working on my SAS memoirs as my final book before I retire.
  • I enjoy helping my clients and encouraging new SAS programmers, but what I still love doing is SAS programming. After over 40 years of SAS programming I can now think in the SAS language, so, if I can sort out a solution to a problem in my head, I am able to write out a rough draft of an entire program!
  • In 2017 I won the first Lifetime Achievement Award from SAS UK, and my wife congratulated me by saying that it meant that I could retire then. It has taken me 7 years to agree with her, but until then I will still be doing my interim measure of freelance SAS programming!
  • 43 years working with SAS software has been my working lifetime. 43 years working with SAS software has been an achievement, which I have thoroughly enjoyed. The only part I am missing would be an award!?

Quite an amazing history of SAS usage and contributions to the SAS community @hollandnumerics ! I look forward to voting for you when voting opens.

Hi Quentin,

I have always used the following motto: "Never treat a problem as a problem, but treat it as an opportunity!"

Thank you...........Phil

Really impressing Phil. I also will vote for you.

Thank you Markus 😊

I'll vote for you as well Phil

Phil, I will vote for you.

Thank you @suksel_retired and @kiranv_ 

🤗

@gallina Feel free to Like my entry as well as commenting on it!  😉