Data Analytics Tools: R Gaining on SAS

Coming from the Digital Solutions side of the analog communications business, I’ve seen platforms come and go, with many dominant technologies replaced by disruptive upstarts offering lower costs and broader functionality. It happens all the time.

A similar changing of the guard is happening between SAS and R, with the divide being between established, old-economy firms heavily invested in SAS and newer technology companies that tend to leverage the free, open-source R platform.

Earlier this year Burtch Works did a survey which showed R nearly neck and neck with SAS, gaining 13% in user preference since last year. Companies using R for data analytics include Facebook, Google, Twitter, Zillow, and even Monsanto and Lloyds.

2015 SAS vs. R Survey Results

Some of the more humorous comments by people declaring their allegiance to R

  • R! But don’t tell my friends at SAS 🙂
  • SAS, but I’m taking an online R class now to stay current. I’m sure I’ll still like SAS better though.
  • I’m under 40 and work in tech, so I haven’t used SAS since a professor made me back in grad school.
  • SAS due to inertia, learning R as I respond.
  • R hands down. SAS is for boring dinosaurs. Note: I have used both extensively. One of the main requirements of me switching jobs last year was to not use SAS anymore. SAS will die a slow, painful death. No tech company/startup in their right mind uses SAS and that is where the future is going (not to mention where the more exciting work is).
  • SAS had its glory. Sadly it is becoming legacy system.
  • I only use SAS when they make me.

SAS has a huge installed base and isn’t going away any time soon, but R looks like its going to have a permanent seat at the table going forward.



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