Advice on Promoting Shiny vs Tableau or PowerBI - Excel -> R Q&A

A Question from the meetup Meetup: Making the Shift from Excel to R: Perspectives from the back-office

Kaveh: Quick question, Tony mentioned Shiny. I’ve started some things in Shiny, it’s wonderful. I’m trying to promote it with clients and what comes back is oh we’re going to use Tableau and PowerBI because it’s so user friendly. What would your answer be to that?

  • Mandip: I haven’t had too much experience with Shiny in product, so maybe Tony you could talk about this a bit.

  • Tony: It would be interesting to find out what are the specific requirements from your client for something like Tableau because with Tableau you could process the data in R and feed it there and that’s ok. It’s a business information tool which is not actually the same capability. The benefit of Shiny is that it allows you to use your R skills to directly communicate the information without having to learn a new tool like Tableau. If someone wants to put something into production, I’ll say please go ahead, if you have resources to go through and you think that particular application is valuable enough to deploy resources to have someone program in a Tableau interface, that’s great. That means I’ve done my job and I provided you a lot of value but if you don’t know if the value is there and you’re trying to figure out what the interface should look like and what’s the right way to deliver the message, you’re able to do that yourself in Shiny. You don't need a second person who has Tableau skills and a Tableau license to do that, so it's serving a different market. If you have the resources, please go ahead, I guess that’s my answer. You can have a much faster turnaround cycle with Shiny.

  • Tori (in chat): Kaveh, one point I've made is that the users of tableau and someone that would build a shiny app are often quite different users with different skills. There's never going to be one solution that will fit the needs of all users/analysts. Also, agree with Tony that the fast turn-around is key for fast sharing and iteration.

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