How do you get buy-in transitioning from Excel to R? [Excel -> R Meetup Q&A]

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

How do you get buy-in from people once you show them that you can automate tasks and not have to use Excel? How do you convince people that this is the future? I find that getting the buy-in from individual stakeholders is a little harder.

That’s a good question. The initial project that I had presented, I made it a point to show the amount of time that I had saved myself and what that equaled in terms of dollars to the company. The second piece was, I also tried to convince them that it would make sense for them to give me some time to teach a few people in the organization so that we could work together on this. Again, yes the first one was showing the actual dollars and amount of time that was being saved. This particular excel process took me about 35-40 minutes every day just with the amount of data that was coming from different places and I shrunk it down to about 3-4 minutes after everything was said and done and that’s how I got the buy in.

Copying this over from a LinkedIn thread: Rachael Dempsey on LinkedIn: #buildingeffectivedatascienceteams | 17 comments

Helpful perspective from Javier Orraca (@Javi), Data Science & Strategic Forecasting at Health Net:

"If there is reliance on Excel (as there always will be in business), what has really helped us demonstrate the value of R + RStudio Connect has been automating ETL and reporting processes (I'm preaching to the choir here, but instead of an analytics team spending the first week of each month collecting and manipulating data and distributing Excel reports via mass emails, we've fully automated several ultra time-consuming processes and developed Shiny apps as the replacement). Using {openxlsx} to develop super professionally styled Excel downloads from a Shiny app, you can help bridge the gap for those individuals that require (or simply prefer) Excel. Looking at opportunity cost of employee time alone, Connect more than pays for itself.

This was a roundabout way of getting to your Q of "Excel for data capture" (and maybe data entry that pushes back to servers), but we've really been leveraging the {DT} package and various modeling packages to take reporting tools to the next level by deploying reporting + forecasting + scenario testing web apps (with actionable insights). To quote an actuarial Director that I often collab with, these Shiny apps have his team and Finance counterparts "foaming at the mouth" with excitement. :rocket:"

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