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Fast Company explains why R is good for business

In a new article for FastCoLabs, journalist Tina Amirtha has published a follow-up article to last month's piece on R's impact on open science. In her latest article, the focus is on how R is used at companies and displacing legacy statistics software like SAS: SAS is no match for the open-source language that pioneering data scientists use in academia, which is simply known as R. Tina interviews R users from companies Facebook and DataSong (as well as me and data scientist Casey Herron from Revolution Analytics) and discovers some cool applications of how R is used: Facebook, for example, uses a technique called power analysis in order to figure out whether it has collected enough relevant data when it studies how users interact with new features on the site. It is all thanks to research data scientists who have developed the appropriate statistical tools in R and made them available to everyone. The article points out the obvious reasons why R is good for business: it's open-source, it's great for data visualization, and because new research in statistics is done in R, it has far more capabilities (especially new and powerful algorithms) compared to proprietary tools. I wanted to point out one often-overlooked but, I believe, extremely important reason why R is good for businesses: people. “I think the number one value to businesses [in using R] is access to talent,” says Smith. “So many businesses now are doing much more with data, especially with the big data revolution and doing much more with analytics. And because they’re hiring people coming out of school. They know R already.” The data science talent shortage is a real problem for data driven businesses, but those companies that have adopted R as their platform have a supply of ready-trained R users graduating from academia (and who likely already know other cutting-edge open-source technologies to boot). In other R-in-the-media news, Revolution Analytics' new program providing technical support for R was covered in Datanami, Computerworld, insideBigData and ZDnet. FastCoLabs: Why The R Programming Language Is Good For Business

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More Stories By David Smith

David Smith is Vice President of Marketing and Community at Revolution Analytics. He has a long history with the R and statistics communities. After graduating with a degree in Statistics from the University of Adelaide, South Australia, he spent four years researching statistical methodology at Lancaster University in the United Kingdom, where he also developed a number of packages for the S-PLUS statistical modeling environment. He continued his association with S-PLUS at Insightful (now TIBCO Spotfire) overseeing the product management of S-PLUS and other statistical and data mining products.<

David smith is the co-author (with Bill Venables) of the popular tutorial manual, An Introduction to R, and one of the originating developers of the ESS: Emacs Speaks Statistics project. Today, he leads marketing for REvolution R, supports R communities worldwide, and is responsible for the Revolutions blog. Prior to joining Revolution Analytics, he served as vice president of product management at Zynchros, Inc. Follow him on twitter at @RevoDavid