Why every decision scientist needs to check out R Shiny

Blog Posts:Mu Sigma
Published On: 03 April 2015
Views: 995

“Clutter and confusion are not attributes of data – they are shortcomings of design,” said statistician Edward Tufte, of Yale University. Any decision scientist that’s ever tried to use a visualization tool might echo that sentiment.

While modern BI and visualization tools have improved in the past few years, most dashboards we see are on one end of the spectrum: either overstuffed with so much data that it’s hard to tell what is important, or have pretty pictures that say little. In either case, it can be hard for companies to consume analytics in this manner – most of the focus appears to be on their creation.

Fortunately, a new tool called R Shiny is helping decision scientists fill the gap by creating cockpit-like control panels that provide actionable insights and are shareable via any standard web browser.

R Shiny combines the statistical functionality of R with the interactive web application framework of Shiny. Backed by an open source foundation, it presents an effective and efficient way to turn analyses into interactive charts that can be hosted on the web.

R Shiny is different from other interactive web application frameworks such as D3JS and Canvas JS since the latter frameworks still require separate tools for analyses. They plot data that has already been analyzed, and require knowledge of HTML5, CSS and JavaScript.

R Shiny requires only knowledge of R. The Shiny framework is itself written in R, making it easy for users to create visualizations. And all one needs to access the finished visualizations is a web browser, making the output highly consumable.

From an organizational perspective, R Shiny is also great in terms of scalability. Decision scientists can create Shiny apps post-analysis and share results with anyone and everyone in the company. No extra costs. No extra client software. No trips to the IT department for license issues or software installation. No need to outsource the visualizations to the designers.

Is your organization leveraging R Shiny yet?

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