iDecision

Analyses risks and make better decisions using Monte Carlo simulation. Stand-alone app that includes drag-n-drop interface, tons of examples and 'What-If' analysis. Produces lots of graphs and charts to help understand the results. While not required, it works great with Excel giving your spreadsheets the power of uncertainty analysis. The program includes tutorials, online help, full uninstall and lots of example models. If you do projections, estimating, project planning, financial analysis or make important decisions, get this product!

Why Decision Analysis?

Complex decisions made simple...

Every day, you are faced with multiple decisions that have major impact within your business or organization. Changing markets, tighter budgets, fewer resources, new legislation - to name a few - affect all aspects of your business. You need a tool that can help you understand the complexities of a decision so that you can make better and smarter choices for your organization.

Decisions are complex for a number of reasons. First, a decision can be difficult to make because of its perplexity. There can be a number of factors that depend on other factors if different options exist. Using iDecide, you can graphically represent each decision situation so that you can see the influencing factors and how each one relates to the other.

Second, there can be many uncertain factors in a decision. If you’re trying to decide the best course of action, chances are you have been frustrated because you don’t have all of the information that you need. For example, you’re lacking sales forecasts, or cost and completion dates vary. Usually, you need to make a decision quickly and can't wait for the perfect information. Using iDecide, you can mix and match different variables with different ranges of values - whatever is needed to describe your situation. Once you plan for these uncertainties, you can better understand the impact of your decision.

Lastly, there are usually multiple objectives that you want to accomplish with a decision. Different perspectives lead to different conclusions. You need a tool that can help you visualize each scenario in your decision situation and how it affects your objectives.

You make decisions every day, and your success is linked to their outcome.  iDecide will help you understand, analyze, control, and manage the factors of a decision, making the desireable outcome much more likely to occur. iDecide helps make complex decisions simple.

Spreadsheets Only Help Some of the Time

If you’ve been using only spreadsheets to try to decide the best course of action, chances are you have been frustrated because you don’t have everything you need: you’re lacking precise data, costs and completion dates vary, or you may need to compare options that use completely different types of information. Usually, you need to make a decision quickly. A spreadsheet works well when you’ve got all the information you need and when information fits neatly into the rows and columns the spreadsheet provides. How often does that happen?

iDecide Works the Way You Think

iDecide lets you work the way you think. You sketch out a diagram model that graphically shows the different factors involved in the decision and how they are related. You mark the elements of your decision that are uncertain or vary. You include the things you care about and skip the things you don’t. Your diagram makes the whole decision process easy for anyone to follow.

Then iDecide's powerful simulation engine runs through your diagram and actually simulates all combinations of all the factors to determine the likelihood of each possible outcome. With this information in hand, you can quickly see which option makes the most sense and the most money for your situation.

Weigh Your Options and Explore Your Opportunities

Use iDecide to model your decisions and a lot of good things happen. First, you see what all your options are and which ones make the most sense. iDecide handles all types of information so that you actually can compare apples to oranges - something your spreadsheet could never help you do.

In addition, iDecide does something else for you, it helps you explore your opportunities. That’s right, when you lay out the decision at hand and model it, chances are, you’ll discover opportunities you hadn’t realized were there. So, go ahead and put iDecide to work for your organization and see what it can do for you.

Distribute Lessons Learned

With the Portfolio edition of iDecide, you can distribute the model you've developed for others to use. The model remains the same but the user can change the data to reflect their situation. Then they can run simulations and product results. Capture that expert-level knowledge and re-use it throughout your organization.

Are you ready to purchase?

Additional Information: iDecision

Windows 98/ME/XP/NT/2000/2003

Can work without Excel but can use Excel files as source data! Adds analytical power to MS Excel!

Buy Online

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$149.00


More iDecision Info

Success in business is the combination of your experience, your intuition, and your analysis of the information you have available.  Improve your analysis and you improve your overall success.

Our software is powerful but not difficult to learn or use.  It helps you quickly analyze any business situation, complex, or simple, so you're confident you are making the best decision.

Success comes to those who focus on achieving it!

 

Build Models

iDecide - Our Award-Winning Software

iDecide is the foundation of our family of award-winning software products for decision analysis.  Use iDecide to create influence diagrams for the business or personal issues you need to model.

iDecide  comes with an extensive set of models addressing many common business and personal situations.  You have the option of customizing one of our models for your situation or building your own model from scratch.

Influence Diagram

Use iDecide to model your situation and you can see the full range of possibilities.  You can make adjustments and try different options quickly so you learn which factors in your situation are the ones controlling the outcome.

Through this, you know where to focus your time and resource to get the results you want.  You have experience, you have your intuition.   Combine these with iDecide to achieve success for your organization.

Nodes

 

The influence diagram is a graphical representation of the model with nodes representing each of the pertinent factors.

Each Factor can be assigned a specific value or a range of values.

 

Edges

 

Lines are called edges connect the nodes and show the relationship between the different factors.

For example, the sales $ for cold calls, direct mail,. web sales, etc. are added together to create the total forecast Sales.

 

Simulation

Once you've created your influence diagram, you can model it using Monte Carlo simulation.  Monte Carlo simulation analyzes your model thousands of times, randomly using different combinations of the variables you've established.

The result is a statistically accurate representation of the range and likelihood of all possible outcomes.

  The simulate button displayed on the desktop starts the Monte Carlo simulation

 

Analysis Book

The simulation results are displayed in our Analysis Notebook.  Graph and report options are available so you can view your information in whatever form suits it best for a given situation.

What If...

Extensive analysis of you model is easy with the program's What-If feature.  The feature allows you to change the value of one or more variables to understand their impact on the overall outcome.

Use iDecide to explore your options and chances are you'll find ways to improve your business that you hadn't realized were there.

 

 One of iDecide's strengths is its ability to take the variability of your business into account by performing a number of what-if scenarios.

Step-By-Step

This section guides you though the process of laying out, testing and analyzing a decision model in iDecide.

Just follow along from start to finish to produce your first model.

 

The Decision Situation

Suppose you work at Company A and the company is introducing a new product to the market.  In your business plan, you need to determine how many units the sales force must sell per month to break-even or cover costs.

Some factors in you decision will be definite but many will vary.  For example, the company's operating costs may vary month to month, or you may not have the right information in front of you.

Using iDecide, you can model this decision situation - reflecting all the known and unknown factors - and see the effects on break-even when the COGS, price, or other costs change.

 

Structure Your Model

You can use folders to organize elements of your decision.  For example, you can create folders for different alternative or key components to a decision.

In this example, let's create two folders.  One folder that contains the company's total costs per month and another folder that contains the company's revenue per unit.

Insert Nodes

In the first folder, you need to figure out your company's total costs per month.   Insert a Sum node and name it Total Costs/Mo.  A Sum node is chosen because you want to combine a variety of other costs by adding them into the Total Costs/Mo node.

Next, you need to insert nodes that make up the total cost.

Utilities, rent, payroll, and office equipment make up the total costs per month.   Insert Independent nodes for each of these costs and name them appropriately.

Connect Nodes

In an influence diagram, you need to link nodes or variables together to show the relationship between them.

Nodes are connected with black straight lines; referred to as edges.  Each edge has a direction indicated by a black arrow.  An edge takes the output value of one node and puts it into the connecting node.

The direction of the black arrow determines the data flow.  For example, there is an edge from the Payroll node to the Total Costs node.  This means that the Payroll node is calculated first and the output value in the Payroll node is moved over into the Total Cost node.

Edit Nodes

Now its time to modify these nodes or variables to represent your current situation.   To modify a node, double-click on the node.

Payroll, rent and Office Equipment are fixed and do not vary month to month.  In each node, the Known value is entered

On the other hand, your company's utility costs vary month to month.  Select the Uncertain button and specific a range of values for the utility costs.  As seen in the dialog box.

To specify a range, you need to choose a distribution type.   Choose the Lognormal distribution and enter a Low, Mid, high value.

 

Completing the Layout

Next, you need to lay out nodes that make up the Revenue/Per Unit folder.  Think about all the factors that contribute to the revenue per unit: price, Cost of Goods Sold, royalty amounts, and distribution fees.

To show the relationship between the nodes, connect then and create edges.

Add Other Objects

An Excel node is a special kind of node that links data between a iDecide model and a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet.  During simulation, an excel node sends messages back to Excel and receives messages back again to iDecide.

Using Excel nodes, you can incorporate date from excel spreadsheets such as market research or sales results into you decision model.

An example would be insurance costs that needed to be added to your decision model that a coworker had already prepared.

One of the many advantages of iDecide is the output of colorful graphs and tables which can be generated once a simulation has been performed.  In order to plot these graphs, you must tell iDecide which plots you want to graph with which nodes.

In this example, we want to plot a Pie Chart that displays a breakdown of the total costs.

A Reference is an object whose purpose is to act as a link between edge function values and nodes.  By using references, you can replace the static numbers entered as function values, by references to nodes.

Sample Models

iDecide comes with many different and informative sample models.  We want to jump-start your model building process  as well as demonstrate model building techniques.

While these models are excellent starting points, it should be noted that these are purposefully kept simple to work in the most general cases.  More influences may need to be identified to improve the model application to your situation.

Equipment

This model is based on the decision of whether to purchase a color copier or out-source the copies

Hiring vs. Contract

This model is based on the decision of whether to hire someone full-time or contract the work outside the office.

Hire an Employee

If you hire someone full-time, there are many costs to the company.  A benefit package has not been implements yet, therefore, these are variable costs.  Lognormal distribution was used to describe the range of costs, $100-300 a month.

 Contract the Work Outside

If you contract the work outside the office, there is the rate per hour the contractor will charge.  This rate is multiplied time the number of hours needed to finish the product.

Tradeshow

This model analyzes the cost and benefit of attending a trade show.  

Costs

There are fixed costs of attending, such at the employee's salaries, the cost of the booth space and other expenses.  These are combined to determine what it will cost to attend the show.

The first part shows all the costs to the trade show.  The costs include salaries for three people, cost of booth, travel costs, and brochures.

 Benefit - Revenues

This part helps us determine the amount of revenue we can expect from attending this trade show.

The second part includes the possible revenues for attending the trade show.  This includes the number of attendees, the percentage of the attendees that will visit the booth, the % of attendees that are prospects, and lastly the closing percentage.

The Decision Process

FAQ

Do I have to own Excel in order to use iDecide?

No, iDecide is a complete stand-alone application.  If you have data collected in Excel you can access it from within iDecide, but it is not a requirement.

Order

Goto Developer Web Site

Additional Information: iDecision

Windows 98/ME/XP/NT/2000/2003

Buy Online

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$149.00


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