In my last two posts, Everything you need to know about R and Why Shiny belongs in your R toolbox, I built my case for using R and Shiny in your organization. To finish off the series, I’ll leave you with a “Cheat Sheet,” which I hope will guide your work – or come in handy in conversations with decision-makers at your organization.
4 reasons to use R and Shiny
It’s 100% free.
No catch: unlike most advanced modeling software, R is totally free.
It offers low-cost web application hosting.
If you have a server running Linux, you can even host your own app for free. If you don’t want to deal with that, you can have it hosted by Shiny Server, which includes loads of extra features.
It’s intended for advanced analytics.
Someone has created an add-in in R for just about any type of analysis you want to perform.
No special software is needed to view a Shiny app.
You don’t need to worry about having your users install special software.
4 things to consider before moving to R and Shiny
You need an R programmer to do any development.
R is not like Tableau or other applications that have user-friendly drag-and-drop interfaces. You need a programmer in order to do development in R and preferably someone with a background in advanced statistics.
Free hosting doesn’t include authentication services.
Currently, the most reliable authentication services are provided through R’s cloud hosting, which has a monthly fee.
Shiny is most effective for publishing data.
A Shiny application isn’t intended for users who want to perform their own analysis – it’s more appropriate for publishing findings and updating the data on a periodic basis.
R and Shiny are only worth the time and energy for performing advanced analytics.
If you’re calculating averages, sums, counts, and percentages, R is overkill. For advanced analytics, it is a perfect tool.