Case Study - 5 Jul 2022
2 minute read

Helping Premier reduce the cost of transforming healthcare.

Case Study

Saas, SAS, Premier, open source, open-source, data science team, R environment, data skills, open source skills





Helping Premier reduce the cost of transforming healthcare.

Empowering teams, accelerating innovation and attracting new talent in healthcare.


Data & AI

Case Study Premier Hero


Premier Inc unites more than 4,400 US hospitals and approximately 225,000 other provider organisations to improve and transform healthcare. Named one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies® 13 years in a row, Premier empowers its members to improve care quality and safely reduce cost with data-driven insight - and has created one of the most comprehensive databases of actionable data, clinical best practice and efficiency improvement strategies available worldwide.

The brief.

Premier delivers insight to its alliance members through a mix of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) analytics. Available as off-the-shelf and custom options, Premier solutions are aligned with its members’ operational and strategic needs – such as supply chain optimisation or enhancing patient care.

Internally, their 30-strong data consulting team were reliant on SAS for both research questions and customised data services. However, increasing SAS license renewal rates and restrictive terms and conditions prompted the company to search for a more modern and cost-effective platform. After a period of consultation, Premier decided to adopt a faster, more capability rich open-source R environment for their internal teams to accelerate innovation and attract new data science talent.

The solution.

Working closely with Premier, we managed the strategic adoption, implementation and onboarding programme to land the Premier team successfully in the new RStudio Enterprise environment.

We delivered the agile programme in line with Premier’s pace and direction, splitting the project into three workstreams:  skills, code migration and enablement. Assessing the capabilities of the Premier team, we provided custom training in all aspects of R packages to drive faster insight, including ML, Shiny and web scraping. Our Data Scientists were engaged to migrate the legacy code for their three main SAS-coded frameworks to R and worked on a 1:1 basis to enable the Premier team to rapidly increase their coding proficiency in R.

The outcome.

In making the transition from SAS to R, Premier has substantially reduced annual licensing renewal costs, gained a scalable solution for experimentation and innovation and adopted a data environment that is far more attractive to its current and future data science talent.

Premier’s Data Scientists and Researchers are now able to create and manage existing frameworks, models, packages and consulting work products in R. As a result, the teams are more engaged and empowered, sharing knowledge and skills in a community of practice centred around R, which in turn makes it easier for them to find, recruit and retain talent with open-source skills. The project delivered:

  • All planned SAS licensing cost savings

  • 40+ data scientists and researchers successfully migrated from existing SAS-based frameworks and trained in R in approximately 6 months

  • A well-structured RStudio implementation

  • The empathetic support and coaching required for onward success

  • 100% talent retention.

Amanda Cleverly

Content Lead


Amanda leads Ascent’s content strategy as part of her senior marketing role. With a strong background in data science and a passion for technology and innovation, her flair for compelling communications enables her to explore human, technical and business subject matter across diverse industries.

Premier case summary




Helping Premier reduce the cost of transforming healthcare.

  • Data Transformation
  • Data Science

  • Open source adoption

  • Better knowledge and skills sharing/ transfer

  • Stronger recruitment appeal


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