Migrating from SAS to R with Covance

Case Study

Covance Inc. is a global contract research organization and the world’s most comprehensive drug development company. They provide high-quality non-clinical, pre-clinical, clinical and commercialization services to pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies to help reduce the time and cost associated with drug development.

Covance’s analysts are predominantly mathematicians performing patient recruitment forecasting within SQL and Excel.

The Challenge

SAS is a legacy program used at Covance, but impressed by the popularity and flexibility of R, they approached Mango Solutions to assist them in understanding how it could be used within their modelling department. Because R offers faster processing and higher quality clinical trial simulations the team were keen to develop their R skills. Covance also wanted to look at improving the appearance of the graphics they create, and, where appropriate, deploy those to management using the Shiny package.

The Solution

After initial discussions with the Clinical Informatics team at Covance, we recommended a tailored R training and Shiny course. The course was highly interactive, with exercises throughout to reinforce the training. Comprehensive course notes and post course support were provided to each attendee to further support their usage of R and Shiny beyond the classroom.

Mango Solutions have been delivering R training since 2002; since then we have trained many thousands of people. Our experienced trainers are all data science consultants working on real-world R solutions; this ensures they have a wealth of technical and commercial experience and knowledge across a range of sectors and industries. This unique mix of experience and an existing relationship with Covance through non-profit organisations, such as PSI, placed Mango in the perfect position to assist the team with their training and development requirements.

The Benefits

The training delivered by Mango empowered the Covance team to move away from Excel and create enhanced, interactive, visual reports with their data. This enabled them to provide their management team with graphics that were easier to understand and navigate. The team were then able to apply their new skills to develop a prototype which was entered into the Fierce Innovations Awards, winning in two categories: Business Intelligence/Data Analytics and Best in Show (Best Outsourcing Partner).