BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee
Harold Klagstad grew up in Indiana and Colorado, a self-proclaimed "faculty brat." He holds a bachelor's in linguistics, a master's in finance and a PhD in financial economics. After a brief stint in academia as a professor at a business school, he joined BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee (BCBST) in 1996 as a research analyst. He spent 10 years in IT and is now in medical informatics. He is currently building a clinical data warehouse and preparing for his new job as data steward and master data manager.
How long have you been using SAS®?
More than 16 years.
What SAS products have you used in the past? What products and solutions are you currently using?
Base SAS; SAS/STAT®; SAS/GRAPH®; SAS/ACCESS® Interface to ODBC, DB2, Teradata and PC Files; SAS/QC®; SAS/ETS®; and SAS High-Performance Forecasting. We're using all of these currently. I was a SAS administrator for several years – where I used SAS Integration Technologies and others.
What is a problem you have solved using SAS?
One shining moment stands out – that was producing, in four days (!), from scratch, a list of insured account groups and amounts for a pharmacy rebate program. It was an all SAS solution, and our finance department loved it.
What is the most innovative way you have used SAS?
Two things come to mind: getting SAS to work well with some databases and introducing BCBST to MP CONNECT. We have some pretty cool MP CONNECT programs running now.
What is your most memorable SAS moment?
For me personally, it was finding my first real SAS bug – an odd result with DBSLICE and DB2. You know you've made it when you find an arcane bug! There are others though. I will always remember creating the beta for SAS Scoring Accelerator for DB2. Also high up there on the list – when I discovered how to run SAS/ACCESS against an RDBMS (this was years ago with 6.12 and 8.1 under Windows).
How has SAS changed in the time you have been using it?
Well, the guts are as strong as ever. The UI work has gotten much stronger (but we still have a few folks wishing for Display Manager – we run under AIX now). The documentation is still the best in the business. But the biggest change is how SAS has begun approaching IT departments trying to bridge the gap between the wild frontier (SAS analysts) and the citified IT folks.
Have you ever attended a SAS users group meeting or SAS Global Forum? If yes, please list them.
SUGI in 1984, the last SAS Global Forum in Seattle and in Orlando in 2012.
Has your work with SAS been influenced by any other members of the SAS community?
Yes, but not enough. We are a home-grown outfit, and we rely on folks from outside (new hires, SAS itself and folks we meet at conferences) to keep us in the know.
If you could point a new SAS user to one resource, what would it be?
The online documentation – and read the manual!