How do I get my IT department to "bless" R?

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How do I get my IT department to "bless" R?

Daniel Viar
I currently use R at work "under the radar", but there's a chance I
could loose that access.  I'd like to get our company to feel
comfortable with open source and R in particular.  Does anyone have
any experience with their company's IT department and management that
they would be willing to share?  How does one get an all Microsoft
shop on board with allowing users to user R?  I know about the recent
NY Times article and recent news.  I'm afraid I may need some case
studies or examples of what other companies have done.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks
Dan Viar
Chesapeake, VA

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Re: How do I get my IT department to "bless" R?

Erik Iverson
This is a very broad question, and the answer is going to depend on your
particular situation, which we are not privy to.

I'll say two things.  First, you should try to figure out why they would not
want you to run R, so you can address those reasons specifically.  Second, you
might take a particular problem that you deal with, and specifically write out
how R can make it easier, cheaper, more efficient to solve than the current
solution.

Are there really still all-MS shops around?

Daniel Viar wrote:

> I currently use R at work "under the radar", but there's a chance I
> could loose that access.  I'd like to get our company to feel
> comfortable with open source and R in particular.  Does anyone have
> any experience with their company's IT department and management that
> they would be willing to share?  How does one get an all Microsoft
> shop on board with allowing users to user R?  I know about the recent
> NY Times article and recent news.  I'm afraid I may need some case
> studies or examples of what other companies have done.
>
> Any help would be greatly appreciated.
>
> Thanks
> Dan Viar
> Chesapeake, VA
>
> ______________________________________________
> [hidden email] mailing list
> https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
> PLEASE do read the posting guide http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
> and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.

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Re: How do I get my IT department to "bless" R?

Jim Porzak
Yes, Erik, there are all MS shops around! Ours happens to be one.

However, I have absolutely no push back from IT on my use of R to do
marketing analytics. The trick, Dan, is to deliver relevant and
actionable results to the business. Your champions will stick up for
you when, and if, you get any push back from IT.

HTH,
Jim Porzak
TGN.com
San Francisco, CA
http://www.linkedin.com/in/jimporzak
use R! Group SF: http://ia.meetup.com/67/



On Thu, Jan 29, 2009 at 5:13 PM, Erik Iverson <[hidden email]> wrote:

> This is a very broad question, and the answer is going to depend on your
> particular situation, which we are not privy to.
>
> I'll say two things.  First, you should try to figure out why they would not
> want you to run R, so you can address those reasons specifically.  Second,
> you might take a particular problem that you deal with, and specifically
> write out how R can make it easier, cheaper, more efficient to solve than
> the current solution.
>
> Are there really still all-MS shops around?
>
> Daniel Viar wrote:
>>
>> I currently use R at work "under the radar", but there's a chance I
>> could loose that access.  I'd like to get our company to feel
>> comfortable with open source and R in particular.  Does anyone have
>> any experience with their company's IT department and management that
>> they would be willing to share?  How does one get an all Microsoft
>> shop on board with allowing users to user R?  I know about the recent
>> NY Times article and recent news.  I'm afraid I may need some case
>> studies or examples of what other companies have done.
>>
>> Any help would be greatly appreciated.
>>
>> Thanks
>> Dan Viar
>> Chesapeake, VA
>>
>> ______________________________________________
>> [hidden email] mailing list
>> https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
>> PLEASE do read the posting guide
>> http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
>> and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.
>
> ______________________________________________
> [hidden email] mailing list
> https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
> PLEASE do read the posting guide http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
> and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.
>

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Re: How do I get my IT department to "bless" R?

Warren Young
In reply to this post by Daniel Viar
Daniel Viar wrote:
> I'd like to get our company to feel
> comfortable with open source

Anyone still denying, here in 2009, that open source offers serious
business value is a dinosaur, doomed to extinction.  Their cerebella
have calcified.  The balance tipped a decade ago.

Just like the real dinosaurs, extinction will only be fast on a
geological time scale.  Don't expect your job to evaporate next year
because they won't use open source.  Just expect that over the coming
decades to be routinely outcompeted by the mammals.

Chances are, your company actually has embraced open source in some way.
  One facile argument is to ask if they use Google.  Yes?  Google uses
Linux, MySQL, and yes, even R, so your company does too, if indirectly.
  Likely, some bit of open source has crept into your actual operation
elsewhere besides your little R enclave.

> How does one get an all Microsoft
> shop on board with allowing users to user R?

Proceed the same way you already are.

It is as Gandhi said: "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you,
then they fight you, then you win."

Every revolution in corporate IT happened this way, including
Microsoft's own rise to dominance.  (Remember Big Blue?)

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Re: How do I get my IT department to "bless" R?

David M Smith
In reply to this post by Daniel Viar
On Thu, Jan 29, 2009 at 2:29 PM, Daniel Viar <[hidden email]> wrote:
> I currently use R at work "under the radar", but there's a chance I
> could loose that access.  I'd like to get our company to feel
> comfortable with open source and R in particular.  Does anyone have
> any experience with their company's IT department and management that
> they would be willing to share?  How does one get an all Microsoft
> shop on board with allowing users to user R?  I know about the recent
> NY Times article and recent news.  I'm afraid I may need some case
> studies or examples of what other companies have done.

In many cases your IT department will feel secure with R if there's a
company behind it to offer technical support and offer a "throat to
choke" if problems arise.  (Whether it's the former or the latter that
is more significant depends on the company.)  There are some companies
out there that offer support subscriptions to R, including the one I
work for.

If you work in a regulated environment (such as clinical pharma with
21CFR11, or finance with Sarbanes-Oxley), there may also be some
nervousness about whether R can be compliant.  It almost certainly is,
but it often needs to be validated in your own environment. I wrote
about this recently (from the perspective of FDA validation) at
http://blog.revolution-computing.com/2009/01/analyzing-clinical-trial-data-with-r.html
.

In many companies IT departments are getting comfortable with relying
on FOSS applications, but the real successes (Linux, Apache, MySQL,
...) have come when there's a commercial company to back up the open
source community.

# David Smith

--
David M Smith <[hidden email]>
Director of Community, REvolution Computing www.revolution-computing.com
Tel: +1 (206) 577-4778 x3203 (Seattle, USA)

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Re: How do I get my IT department to "bless" R?

Michael Bibo-2
In reply to this post by Daniel Viar
Daniel Viar <dan.viar <at> gmail.com> writes:

>
> I currently use R at work "under the radar", but there's a chance I
> could loose that access.  I'd like to get our company to feel
> comfortable with open source and R in particular.  Does anyone have
> any experience with their company's IT department and management that
> they would be willing to share?  How does one get an all Microsoft
> shop on board with allowing users to user R?  I know about the recent
> NY Times article and recent news.  I'm afraid I may need some case
> studies or examples of what other companies have done.
>
> Any help would be greatly appreciated.
>
> Thanks
> Dan Viar
> Chesapeake, VA
>
> ______________________________________________
> R-help <at> r-project.org mailing list
> https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
> PLEASE do read the posting guide http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
> and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.
>
>
Just my opinions from my own experience...

Don't talk to just anyone in your IT department, but try to identify someone
who a) has some authority/decision-making power; and b) is likely to be
somewhat OSS knowledgable/tolerant/keen.

Go through proper procedures.  In my organisation, there is a specific process
for approval of software.  I filled in appropriate forms and provided
supporting documentation such as:

http://www.r-project.org/doc/R-FDA.pdf
copy of the GPL and references such as http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?
story=2008081313212422
R installation and administration manual
NY Times article

I also made futher points about the extensive use of R in peer-reviewed
journals such as JSS, and the superiority of the email help list and archives
over the support offered for most proprietary products (with specific
examples).

Most of this is to make it abundantly clear that you are talking about a
quality, open-source product, not some small piece of freeware developed by an
individual.

I have found two main types of IT concerns.  Firstly, they are appropriately
concerned about licensing issues.  You need to reinforce that, though free, it
is licensed - under the GPL.  Secondly, they may have concerns simply because
it is not the existing/approved/supported norm in your organisation.  I have
found that it is important here to make it clear that you will not be
expecting them to 'support' the software in the sense of helping you learn to
use it (which is often the case for office-type software and its users in
organisations).

And if all else fails, and your organisation's policies refer to 'installing'
software, you can always run it portably, even from an external drive (at
least in a Windows environment).

Ultimately, though, I think the thing that helped most to convince our IT
department to let me try R was when they themselves had the nightmare of
dealing with the licensing and accounts division of a certain well-known
statistical package proprietor.

Michael Bibo
Queensland Health

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Re: How do I get my IT department to "bless" R?

Warren Young
In reply to this post by Erik Iverson
Erik Iverson wrote:
>
> First, you should try to figure out why they would
> not want you to run R, so you can address those reasons specifically.  

Reasons imply reasoning.  It's usually the case that decisions like this
are made on an emotional basis, not a rational one.

        "All of my business associates use Microsoft."
        "All of my friends use Microsoft."
        "Microsoft is dominant."
        "I like Microsoft."

These are not reasons.  They are expressions of emotional state.
Envision a person saying such things wrapped in a security blanket
printed with the colorful Windows flag logo, sucking their thumb.
Works, doesn't it?  They are telling you that Microsoft makes them feel
comfortable.

I don't call this vision into your mind to belittle the people saying
these things.  We all have these emotional responses; everyone can be
tarred by this brush.  The point is, if you want to fight such a thing,
you can be as rational as you like, but never forget that your opponent
is not being rational.  Tell them this other blanket is better, and
they'll deny it.  Give them the other blanket, and they'll either drop
it or attack you for offering it.  Rip away their blanket and you will
face a tantrum.

A true revolution is unstoppable; open source is such a thing.
Eventually your opponent will pick up the other blanket all on their own.

You can push things along faster with the tools of statecraft.  This
field has two main branches.

One branch is war.  This is the practice of applying a combination of
superior will, strategy, and force to defeat an opponent.  This is the
"rational argument" option.  Yes, I call that war.  Why?  It's the
emotion vs. rationality thing again.  You're using the wrong tool for
the job, so your only hope of success is to make the opponent capitulate
through that combination of superior will, strategy and force.  Since
the OP isn't in a position to mount a frontal assault, this leaves only
the uglier option, guerrilla war.  This has a good outcome even less
often than traditional war.

The other branch is diplomacy.  This takes longer, is not as direct, and
requires a deft touch, but usually works better in the long term.  It
also requires a certain amount of backing strength.  You can't hope to
succeed at diplomacy when there is no possibility of war.  If war is
out, diplomacy is out, too.  If I read the OP's post correctly, he isn't
in a position to directly wield strength, so he'll need to work through
channels that give him access to that strength.  He needs to find strong
allies, and support them.

If there are no such allies, he has no way to prosecute war, and thus no
way to back diplomacy.  That forces him down a minor branch of
statecraft, which I call the Switzerland model: keep your head down, and
continue to be useful to those around you who practice the other forms
of statecraft.

There are other ways to run a state, but they don't work.

Reading suggestions for anyone who thinks I'm full of it:

        http://www.gutenberg.org/files/132/132.txt
        http://www.miyamotomusashi.com/gorin.htm
        http://www.gutenberg.org/files/15772/15772-h/15772-h.htm
        http://catb.org/esr/writings/

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Re: How do I get my IT department to "bless" R?

Michael Olschimke
In reply to this post by Michael Bibo-2
Could you please share a link to the NY Times article? Is it about OSS
in general or specific to R?

Thanks

Michael

Michael Bibo wrote:

> Daniel Viar <dan.viar <at> gmail.com> writes:
>
>  
>> I currently use R at work "under the radar", but there's a chance I
>> could loose that access.  I'd like to get our company to feel
>> comfortable with open source and R in particular.  Does anyone have
>> any experience with their company's IT department and management that
>> they would be willing to share?  How does one get an all Microsoft
>> shop on board with allowing users to user R?  I know about the recent
>> NY Times article and recent news.  I'm afraid I may need some case
>> studies or examples of what other companies have done.
>>
>> Any help would be greatly appreciated.
>>
>> Thanks
>> Dan Viar
>> Chesapeake, VA
>>
>> ______________________________________________
>> R-help <at> r-project.org mailing list
>> https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
>> PLEASE do read the posting guide http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
>> and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.
>>
>>
>>    
> Just my opinions from my own experience...
>
> Don't talk to just anyone in your IT department, but try to identify someone
> who a) has some authority/decision-making power; and b) is likely to be
> somewhat OSS knowledgable/tolerant/keen.
>
> Go through proper procedures.  In my organisation, there is a specific process
> for approval of software.  I filled in appropriate forms and provided
> supporting documentation such as:
>
> http://www.r-project.org/doc/R-FDA.pdf
> copy of the GPL and references such as http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?
> story=2008081313212422
> R installation and administration manual
> NY Times article
>
> I also made futher points about the extensive use of R in peer-reviewed
> journals such as JSS, and the superiority of the email help list and archives
> over the support offered for most proprietary products (with specific
> examples).
>
> Most of this is to make it abundantly clear that you are talking about a
> quality, open-source product, not some small piece of freeware developed by an
> individual.
>
> I have found two main types of IT concerns.  Firstly, they are appropriately
> concerned about licensing issues.  You need to reinforce that, though free, it
> is licensed - under the GPL.  Secondly, they may have concerns simply because
> it is not the existing/approved/supported norm in your organisation.  I have
> found that it is important here to make it clear that you will not be
> expecting them to 'support' the software in the sense of helping you learn to
> use it (which is often the case for office-type software and its users in
> organisations).
>
> And if all else fails, and your organisation's policies refer to 'installing'
> software, you can always run it portably, even from an external drive (at
> least in a Windows environment).
>
> Ultimately, though, I think the thing that helped most to convince our IT
> department to let me try R was when they themselves had the nightmare of
> dealing with the licensing and accounts division of a certain well-known
> statistical package proprietor.
>
> Michael Bibo
> Queensland Health
>
> ______________________________________________
> [hidden email] mailing list
> https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
> PLEASE do read the posting guide http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
> and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.
>  


        [[alternative HTML version deleted]]

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Re: How do I get my IT department to "bless" R?

Warren Young
Michael Olschimke wrote:
> Could you please share a link to the NY Times article?

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/07/technology/business-computing/07program.html

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Re: How do I get my IT department to "bless" R?

barry rowlingson
In reply to this post by Daniel Viar
2009/1/29 Daniel Viar <[hidden email]>:
> How does one get an all Microsoft
> shop on board with allowing users to user R?

 An 'all Microsoft shop' is what exactly? There is nothing on your PC
that isn't from Microsoft?

 That makes me think that you're either going to be forced to do your
statistics in Excel or you're going to have to write everything from
scratch in MS Visual Basic/C#/ASP/Bandwagon-of-the-month Language.
$Deity have mercy upon your soul.

 MS don't make anything even *remotely* like R, and if your IT dept
don't see that then get them fixed or fired.

 Now the argument between R and other proprietary stats packages
(SPSS, SAS, Stata) is something completely different. But if the
powers that be won't allow non-MS software, then those options are as
closed off as R is to you.

Barry

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Re: How do I get my IT department to "bless" R?

nshephard
In reply to this post by Daniel Viar

Daniel Viar wrote
I currently use R at work "under the radar", but there's a chance I
could loose that access.  I'd like to get our company to feel
comfortable with open source and R in particular.  Does anyone have
any experience with their company's IT department and management that
they would be willing to share?  How does one get an all Microsoft
shop on board with allowing users to user R?  I know about the recent
NY Times article and recent news.  I'm afraid I may need some case
studies or examples of what other companies have done.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.
What alternative do they expect you to use?  

If they expect you to use Excel for statistics then its worth letting them know that this would be a very bad idea as there are many short-comings, some of which I've referenced at..

http://slack.ser.man.ac.uk/progs/stata/avoid_excel.html

Neil
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Re: How do I get my IT department to "bless" R?

Liviu Andronic
In reply to this post by Warren Young
On 1/30/09, Warren Young <[hidden email]> wrote:
> >  Could you please share a link to the NY Times article?
>
> http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/07/technology/business-computing/07program.html
>
Also do not miss the follow-up blog from the author, plus the the
related comments [1].
Liviu
[1] http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/01/08/r-you-ready-for-r/ .


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http://www.alienetworks.com/srtest.cfm
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Re: How do I get my IT department to "bless" R?

Liviu Andronic
In reply to this post by nshephard
On 1/30/09, Neil Shephard <[hidden email]> wrote:
>  If they expect you to use Excel for statistics then its worth letting them
>  know that this would be a very bad idea as there are many short-comings,
>  some of which I've referenced at..
>
>  http://slack.ser.man.ac.uk/progs/stata/avoid_excel.html
>
Very neat resource; thanks.
Liviu

PS [hijack] Would it make sense to have it (or similar information)
assembled in a .pdf documentation file and made available on the
Contributed documentation section of R's web site?


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Re: How do I get my IT department to "bless" R?

Carl Witthoft
In reply to this post by Daniel Viar
It's just not that easy.  A friend of mine at a large company whose name
  rhymes with  "Maytheon"  spent over 3 months trying to get approval
from IT for a commercial database tool.   IT departments tend to be
empire-building fools, and extraordinarily paranoid to boot.
At my parent company, whose name looks something like  "Gorthrup
Numman,"  they have an entire IT Division whose goal in life seems to be
to make computer life hell for everyone else.  When they say
"Office2007" that's what every NGC employee gets no matter what.
Anyone who has the temerity to run updates (even OS or Office) downloads
on their own risks the threat of termination. I'm not kidding.


So, this is rather OT for an R discussion group, but I wanted to add
credence to the others who've been posting horror stories about the
rules inside corporations.


I have to say I can't figure out how the IT dept's havent' noticed that
lots of these same employees WRITE software, and could easily do far
more damage (intentional or not) to the network than a few updates or
open-source packages ever could

Carl

<quote>
----------------
Neil Shephard <nshephard_at_gmail.com>


What alternative do they expect you to use?

If they expect you to use Excel for statistics then its worth letting
them know that this would be a very bad idea as there are many
short-comings, some of which I've referenced at..

http://slack.ser.man.ac.uk/progs/stata/avoid_excel.html

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Re: How do I get my IT department to "bless" R?

Spencer Graves-3

      One of the benefits of the current global economic crisis is that
some organizations facing financial difficulties are considering options
that were not unmentionable only 6 months ago.

      Spencer Graves

Carl Witthoft wrote:

> It's just not that easy.  A friend of mine at a large company whose
> name  rhymes with  "Maytheon"  spent over 3 months trying to get
> approval from IT for a commercial database tool.   IT departments tend
> to be empire-building fools, and extraordinarily paranoid to boot.
> At my parent company, whose name looks something like  "Gorthrup
> Numman,"  they have an entire IT Division whose goal in life seems to
> be to make computer life hell for everyone else.  When they say
> "Office2007" that's what every NGC employee gets no matter what.
> Anyone who has the temerity to run updates (even OS or Office)
> downloads on their own risks the threat of termination. I'm not kidding.
>
>
> So, this is rather OT for an R discussion group, but I wanted to add
> credence to the others who've been posting horror stories about the
> rules inside corporations.
>
>
> I have to say I can't figure out how the IT dept's havent' noticed
> that lots of these same employees WRITE software, and could easily do
> far more damage (intentional or not) to the network than a few updates
> or open-source packages ever could
>
> Carl
>
> <quote>
> ----------------
> Neil Shephard <nshephard_at_gmail.com>
>
>
> What alternative do they expect you to use?
>
> If they expect you to use Excel for statistics then its worth letting
> them know that this would be a very bad idea as there are many
> short-comings, some of which I've referenced at..
>
> http://slack.ser.man.ac.uk/progs/stata/avoid_excel.html
>
> ______________________________________________
> [hidden email] mailing list
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> PLEASE do read the posting guide
> http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
> and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.
>

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Re: How do I get my IT department to "bless" R?

macrakis
In reply to this post by nshephard
Though there are certainly some *ir*rational reasons for IT
departments' behavior, there are also many rational reasons that IT
departments try to control the software running in their
organizations.

Condescendingly assuming that the IT department is run by idiots whose
decisions are ruled by emotional attachments (as one correspondent
suggested), or that they are irrationally prejudiced against free/open
source, and that it is obvious and irrefutable that you know better
than them (as was implied by some correspondents), may make you feel
better, but probably won't help much.

It also won't help much if you don't explain clearly and calmly *why*
exactly you need to use R for your work.  You can use many kinds of
arguments, including technical (functionality, efficiency, capacity),
economic (no license fees), scientific-community (widely used in the
statistics community), and so on.

It *will* help to think a bit about some of the concerns that the IT
department may have. Many of these concerns apply both to free/open
software and to commercial software:

1) Security. They probably don't want you to install software which
risks exposing company data to the outside world either intentionally
or unintentionally.  For example, they probably don't want you to run
code that mirrors your disk drive on an external server, even if it
claims to be secured cryptographically etc.  Some companies will be
more careful, wanting to vet any software that can open a TCP
connection (which most non-trivial software systems, including both
Excel and R, can).

2) Protection against malware (also a security issue). Some software
which appears innocuous may contain a variety of malware.  I'm pretty
sure that R+CRAN is free of malware, but I don't know what measures
are taken to ensure that.

3) Support and maintenance. Not only do they not want to be in a
situation where they're asked to support software they don't know,
they certainly don't want to be responsible for bad *interactions*
between your add-on software and the standard software.

4) Licensing.  Besides the question of proper use of commercial
licenses, some licenses (notably GPL) have "contagion" clauses which
affect other software which is linked to them.  Though this doesn't
affect the vast majority of users of R (because they neither modify R
nor redistribute it), your company's legal department will probably
want to know what's going on.

5) Interoperability, maintainability, and continuity.  What happens
when the user of a particular non-supported software package leaves
the company or takes a vacation?  Who is going to take over the work
he was doing?  If s/he's developed programs/scripts on a non-standard
infrastructure to solve business problems, do the solutions leave as
soon as he's out of the building?

Even if the IT department *is* behaving irrationally, responding
irrationally yourself probably won't help your cause.

              -s

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Re: How do I get my IT department to "bless" R?

Murray Cooper
I was about to post a similar reply.
Stavros's reply was very eloquent and should be taken to heart!

Murray M Cooper, Ph.D.
Richland Statistics
9800 N 24th St
Richland, MI, USA 49083
Mail: [hidden email]

----- Original Message -----
From: "Stavros Macrakis" <[hidden email]>
To: <[hidden email]>
Sent: Sunday, February 01, 2009 6:11 PM
Subject: Re: [R] How do I get my IT department to "bless" R?


> Though there are certainly some *ir*rational reasons for IT
> departments' behavior, there are also many rational reasons that IT
> departments try to control the software running in their
> organizations.
>
> Condescendingly assuming that the IT department is run by idiots whose
> decisions are ruled by emotional attachments (as one correspondent
> suggested), or that they are irrationally prejudiced against free/open
> source, and that it is obvious and irrefutable that you know better
> than them (as was implied by some correspondents), may make you feel
> better, but probably won't help much.
>
> It also won't help much if you don't explain clearly and calmly *why*
> exactly you need to use R for your work.  You can use many kinds of
> arguments, including technical (functionality, efficiency, capacity),
> economic (no license fees), scientific-community (widely used in the
> statistics community), and so on.
>
> It *will* help to think a bit about some of the concerns that the IT
> department may have. Many of these concerns apply both to free/open
> software and to commercial software:
>
> 1) Security. They probably don't want you to install software which
> risks exposing company data to the outside world either intentionally
> or unintentionally.  For example, they probably don't want you to run
> code that mirrors your disk drive on an external server, even if it
> claims to be secured cryptographically etc.  Some companies will be
> more careful, wanting to vet any software that can open a TCP
> connection (which most non-trivial software systems, including both
> Excel and R, can).
>
> 2) Protection against malware (also a security issue). Some software
> which appears innocuous may contain a variety of malware.  I'm pretty
> sure that R+CRAN is free of malware, but I don't know what measures
> are taken to ensure that.
>
> 3) Support and maintenance. Not only do they not want to be in a
> situation where they're asked to support software they don't know,
> they certainly don't want to be responsible for bad *interactions*
> between your add-on software and the standard software.
>
> 4) Licensing.  Besides the question of proper use of commercial
> licenses, some licenses (notably GPL) have "contagion" clauses which
> affect other software which is linked to them.  Though this doesn't
> affect the vast majority of users of R (because they neither modify R
> nor redistribute it), your company's legal department will probably
> want to know what's going on.
>
> 5) Interoperability, maintainability, and continuity.  What happens
> when the user of a particular non-supported software package leaves
> the company or takes a vacation?  Who is going to take over the work
> he was doing?  If s/he's developed programs/scripts on a non-standard
> infrastructure to solve business problems, do the solutions leave as
> soon as he's out of the building?
>
> Even if the IT department *is* behaving irrationally, responding
> irrationally yourself probably won't help your cause.
>
>              -s
>
> ______________________________________________
> [hidden email] mailing list
> https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
> PLEASE do read the posting guide
> http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
> and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.
>

______________________________________________
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Re: How do I get my IT department to "bless" R?

Greg Snow-2
In reply to this post by Daniel Viar
There has already been good discussion on this topic, but here are a couple of other things to think about:

1. is it your job to convince your IT department, or is it your job to convince your boss, and your boss's job to convince/dictate to the IT department (getting your boss on your side could be easier and very beneficial (or not depending on the boss)).

2. Why not do a simple cost analysis comparing what you do now using R compared to what it will cost if you do not use R, be honest in all the costs, but include how optional pieces will affect your productivity.  I would start with a cost for a single license of S-PLUS (most similar to R out there), then include the annual license fee for S-PLUS.  Do you only use R on your single work computer? Or do you use it at home/laptop/other computers? Include the cost for the additional licenses, or how your work would be impacted by only being able to use it when sitting at the one computer.

Next, what packages do you use in R that are not available in S-PLUS currently?  How often do you use them and for what?  Include this information in the cost analysis, because any tools not available will either limit your productivity, take time for you to learn an alternative, or will require time/money for someone to convert them to work with S-PLUS (either you estimate your time needed, IT (how much time would it take them to get up to speed enough to do the conversion), or hiring an outside programmer (cost?)).

List those things out with details, costs (needed and optional), and the effects of having or not having optional pieces.  Also include discussions on the concerns that Stavros has mentioned (and any other that your IT department is likely to have).  Present all of that to your boss and he/she may just become your advocate for blessing R (saving money can be more of a motivation than parts of the workflow that you see as important, but they don't understand).

3. Being a Microsoft shop, do they allow you to use MSExcel?, would they allow you to install a plug-in for Excel?  (An interface and full R implementation are available as a plugin, this could be a back door for installing R that does not need a policy change).

Hope this helps,

--
Gregory (Greg) L. Snow Ph.D.
Statistical Data Center
Intermountain Healthcare
[hidden email]
801.408.8111


> -----Original Message-----
> From: [hidden email] [mailto:r-help-bounces@r-
> project.org] On Behalf Of Daniel Viar
> Sent: Thursday, January 29, 2009 3:29 PM
> To: [hidden email]
> Subject: [R] How do I get my IT department to "bless" R?
>
> I currently use R at work "under the radar", but there's a chance I
> could loose that access.  I'd like to get our company to feel
> comfortable with open source and R in particular.  Does anyone have
> any experience with their company's IT department and management that
> they would be willing to share?  How does one get an all Microsoft
> shop on board with allowing users to user R?  I know about the recent
> NY Times article and recent news.  I'm afraid I may need some case
> studies or examples of what other companies have done.
>
> Any help would be greatly appreciated.
>
> Thanks
> Dan Viar
> Chesapeake, VA
>
> ______________________________________________
> [hidden email] mailing list
> https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
> PLEASE do read the posting guide http://www.R-project.org/posting-
> guide.html
> and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.

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Re: How do I get my IT department to "bless" R?

Prof J C Nash (U30A)
In reply to this post by Daniel Viar
I won't burden the list with copies of earlier posts -- all of us have
experienced the frustration of dealing with folk who want to make their
life easier by making ours difficult. However, I have noted that a few
folk are starting to change attitudes. I was hired to give a training
session last June to a fairly large unit in the Canadian government that
realized a mix of Excel and SAS and SPSS and ... were leading to an
unmaintainable mess of small applications needed to handle the information
needed for core responsibilities. When an employee leaves a large
spreadsheet that contains the analytic and prediction model, it is
generally a VERY big job to maintain. The boss of the unit realized that
small R scripts could do a lot of the work and that dataframes and
spreadsheets are relatively easy to interchange if one avoids fancy
features. Thus it was feasible to use spreadsheets for data entry --
reducing training costs and "I don't know R" etc., though with some risks
-- and have some youngish new hires write the scripts to do the analysis
and reports that were needed every few days. If the folk involved are
reading this, I'll apologize in advance for over-simplifying.

The central theme here is "economic", in that it is making life easier for
all.

John Nash

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Re: How do I get my IT department to "bless" R?

Rolf Turner
In reply to this post by Murray Cooper

On 2/02/2009, at 4:29 PM, Murray Cooper wrote:

> I was about to post a similar reply.
> Stavros's reply was very eloquent and should be taken to heart!


I would just like to say that in my very humble opinion Stavros's
reply was utter nonsense.  It was the sort of excuse-making favoured
by tyrants since time immemorial.

        cheers,

                Rolf Turner

######################################################################
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