Joining SAS as Cloud & Architecture Lead

2021-09-01

I’m very happy to share that I’ve joined SAS as Cloud & Architecture Lead for South West Europe.

images/jim_sas_apollo

Dr. Jim Goodnight during his time at the Apollo programme. This would be a relevant factor in the founding of SAS in 1976.

What I was after

When some time ago I was considering what could, professionally, the future hold for me I came up with these points to guide me:

  1. It should be around Cloud computing and Kubernetes

    That’s a substantial part of what I’ve been doing in recent years, and that’s something that plays to several strengths I have, if nothing else the fact that Linux is everywhere (so I can fallback on my technical knowledge), there’s a substantial community involvement (and I can make use of my participation in the FLOSS community), and that cloud computing is not going anywhere soon.

  2. It would be centered on Analytics, AI, Data Science

    I think that we are undergoing a period where the ability to understand and act on data is reaching new heights. Solutions that address this are particularly interesting to me (and, again, this is what I was also doing).

  3. I should be able to use what I’ve learned and done in terms of Enterprise Architecture, architectural methods, and solution design

    It’s not very “sexy” today to mention Enterprise Architecture, TOGAF, etc, but I feel that the fundamental aspects of architectural governance are just as important for cloud solutions as they were before, with the necessary adaptations.

  4. The company should have a strong culture and ethical culture of dealing with clients and workers

    This is always a difficult topic since I do feel that corporate branding whitewashes everything, and “ethical culture” has obvious limits under any system where profit is the driving force, but it’s still a signal about the internal culture.

images/sas_campus

The SAS Campus in Cary, NC. SAS was one of the first companies to offer daycare to employees, and the campus famously feature a swimming pool.

Any list like this has its limitations, especially when considering leaving a place where I was working for more than a decade and where I was mostly free and trusted, which is something that has a kind of value which is hard to put into a scale.

Why SAS

Nonetheless, I must say that I was extremely fortunate to be able to check all those marks in some way. Only time will tell if it plays out as expected, but the job role screamed at me to a point where I was refreshing my email after one day because it seemed to me that I was so blatantly the right person that nobody else could miss it – fortunately, I was not far from the truth.

Starting a new job comes with a lot of uncertainties, certainly even more than usual considering that we are still heavily affected by the changes in social interaction put in place by the pandemic, but the process so far has been flawless and the role itself impossible to turn down.

The importance of role

I’ll have to find out the link, but one interview I’ve read not long ago made a case about titles and how they shouldn’t be downplayed: they mean something, and can impact one’s perception of direct responsibility – and that of others. While not a critical factor, the role and responsibilities associated with it were an important factor for me: being Cloud and Architecture Lead for Western Europe comes with an implicit number of things to do that I have found appealing, especially in the way I can use my existing strengths and use them for growing in different areas.

That’s the plan, anyway. Looking forward for the ride, no place is perfect but there’s a lot of interesting things to look forward to in having a regional leadership role around Cloud and Architecture in a company which is a pioneer and leader in analytics, so I’m understandably excited.


This document was generated on December 29, 2023 using texi2any.