[R] How do I get my IT department to "bless" R?

Greg Snow Greg.Snow at imail.org
Mon Feb 2 19:22:46 CET 2009

There has already been good discussion on this topic, but here are a couple of other things to think about:

1. is it your job to convince your IT department, or is it your job to convince your boss, and your boss's job to convince/dictate to the IT department (getting your boss on your side could be easier and very beneficial (or not depending on the boss)).

2. Why not do a simple cost analysis comparing what you do now using R compared to what it will cost if you do not use R, be honest in all the costs, but include how optional pieces will affect your productivity.  I would start with a cost for a single license of S-PLUS (most similar to R out there), then include the annual license fee for S-PLUS.  Do you only use R on your single work computer? Or do you use it at home/laptop/other computers? Include the cost for the additional licenses, or how your work would be impacted by only being able to use it when sitting at the one computer.

Next, what packages do you use in R that are not available in S-PLUS currently?  How often do you use them and for what?  Include this information in the cost analysis, because any tools not available will either limit your productivity, take time for you to learn an alternative, or will require time/money for someone to convert them to work with S-PLUS (either you estimate your time needed, IT (how much time would it take them to get up to speed enough to do the conversion), or hiring an outside programmer (cost?)).

List those things out with details, costs (needed and optional), and the effects of having or not having optional pieces.  Also include discussions on the concerns that Stavros has mentioned (and any other that your IT department is likely to have).  Present all of that to your boss and he/she may just become your advocate for blessing R (saving money can be more of a motivation than parts of the workflow that you see as important, but they don't understand).

3. Being a Microsoft shop, do they allow you to use MSExcel?, would they allow you to install a plug-in for Excel?  (An interface and full R implementation are available as a plugin, this could be a back door for installing R that does not need a policy change).

Hope this helps,

Gregory (Greg) L. Snow Ph.D.
Statistical Data Center
Intermountain Healthcare
greg.snow at imail.org

> -----Original Message-----
> From: r-help-bounces at r-project.org [mailto:r-help-bounces at r-
> project.org] On Behalf Of Daniel Viar
> Sent: Thursday, January 29, 2009 3:29 PM
> To: r-help at r-project.org
> Subject: [R] How do I get my IT department to "bless" R?
> I currently use R at work "under the radar", but there's a chance I
> could loose that access.  I'd like to get our company to feel
> comfortable with open source and R in particular.  Does anyone have
> any experience with their company's IT department and management that
> they would be willing to share?  How does one get an all Microsoft
> shop on board with allowing users to user R?  I know about the recent
> NY Times article and recent news.  I'm afraid I may need some case
> studies or examples of what other companies have done.
> Any help would be greatly appreciated.
> Thanks
> Dan Viar
> Chesapeake, VA
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