OMNI Institute is a national leader in research and evaluation work. With a focus on public health, human development, and justice reform, the Colorado-based organization has a four decade long track record of helping organizations across the country use data to make meaningful change.
In the fall of 2019, OMNI decided to make the switch to R. Coming from Excel and SPSS, the change was a big one, and one that brought about some anxiety for some OMNI staff members. But, with a full-day training session, I helped OMNI to ease any concerns about R, and guide them toward appreciating its power.
Since our work together, the OMNI team has gone on to do some incredible things. In a blog post, they sum up some of the improvements to their workflow. These improvements include the automation of data tracking for a project with over 40 data sources:
We were able to use R to streamline the creation of data tracking sheets in Excel for each CSB. Because of R, we are now able to provide automated, timely, community-specific data in ways we couldn’t before.
OMNI is also now able to provide detailed reports for over 30 Family Resource Centers in the state of Colorado:
R allowed us to update our process for creating these center-level reports to be more efficient and incorporate more relevant data for each center. The newly-automated reporting process allowed us to create additional reports for centers that we previously could not have made due to budget and time constraints.
I have also been able to support the work of OMNI team members by developing an internal package for the organization. This package enables any OMNI user to create reports that use a custom RMarkdown template as well as custom themes for all plots and tables. Instead of spending hours formatting each report the organization makes, OMNI can now simply use this package to ensure their reports have a consistent look and feel and communicate effectively.
All of these improvements have meant OMNI has accomplished more in less time, all while using a free tool that enables the organization to spend resources helping organizations they partner with to improve their work.