Need An Advanced Statistics Solution? Use R.
I feel when it comes to statistics businesses can be classified into three categories:
- Businesses that do not use statistics at all except for basics that can be done in Excel and do not see the need in going any further.
- Businesses that use statistics and have made an investment in statistics technology.
- Business that want to use statistics but do not feel they can afford an advanced solution.
This article seeks to help the last category of businesses find a solution. I feel many business leaders would like to add robust statistics capabilities to their businesses, but they may think their options are limited to solutions such as SPSS, SAS, Minitab, and others which can cost thousands of dollars for the software license alone not to mention the staff needed to use it. Such costs can be prohibitive for small-to-medium sized businesses in particular that would like more firepower than Excel but cannot afford the hefty price tag for the above-mentioned products. For these businesses I would like to introduce you to the R project.
What is R?
R is an open-source project created for advanced statistical graphics and computing. It is a powerful statistics software, one that I feel is a real threat to the well known yet expensive statistics products.
The #1 reason I recommend R for your business is...it’s free! There is no need to tie up your limited resources in an expensive piece of software. You can implement the software for free and save your money for hiring a great analyst or other investment. The #2 reason is it packs much of the same punch as the expensive solutions. Whether you want to do data mining, segmentation, predictive modeling, decision-tree analysis, correlation analysis, etc., R can do it at no cost for the software. Here is a comprehensive list of the packages that can be added to R to accomplish whatever you are trying to do. Compare it to SPSS and the other products and see for yourself.
Is It Complicated?
I will admit that there is a learning curve for using R, especially out of the box. The default interface is code based, which requires knowledge of the R coding language. But there are packages that will add an easy to use graphical user interface (GUI) to your R installation. This means you will not need to touch the code, the GUIs allow you to point-and-click your way to statistical greatness. My favorite GUIs are Rattle and R Commander. These offer most of the statistical techniques that I use.
How Do You Get Started?
You can download R for your operating system at this link. You can have it saved, installed and ready to use in minutes. Of course you will need to have somebody use it. Help and support documents are available on the R project website and in online forums if your or someone on your staff will be managing the statistical analysis. We at d2i Analysis can also support your implementation and statistical analysis needs. Feel free to contact us to discuss your needs and how we can help.