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The IBM Decision Optimization Center Studio provides a complete user interface for business decision makers to access all the functionalities they need for planning and scheduling. This intuitive interface makes it easy for users to explore alternatives and make informed decisions. Existing proprietary user interfaces can also integrate with most of IBM Decision Optimization Center functionality using documented Java APIs. The Studio can then optionally be used as an advanced business support tool.

Scenario management

To support scenario comparison and reporting, IBM Decision Optimization Center-based applications provide complete storage of each scenario, including the input data, scenario parameters, goals, solution values and solution key performance indicators (KPI). Data tables provide local storage for external data, so they can be modified without changing data sources. Scenarios can be created, copied, modified and compared right away. Furthermore, scenario metrics stored in a database can prove invaluable in tracking operational and financial performance over time.

“What-if”? analysis

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IBM Decision Optimization Center facilitates easy comparisons of different scenarios. After setting a reference scenario, all displays, including table and chart views, goals and relaxation panels will highlight any difference between it and an alternative scenario. A business user can easily identify the key differences and understand the impact of the different possible decisions. The user can quickly identify why one solution may be better than another or what impact variations in the input parameters would have on operations.

Multiple scenario comparison and sensitivity analysis

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A business user may also want to understand the impacts of changing a data value continuously. For example, what would be the impact on the business if the production demand were to increase by 5%, 6%, …, 15%? Multiple scenario KPI comparison can quickly identify which level of demand increase cause serious issues for operations and what kind of effects it would have.

Powerful optimization engines

IBM Decision Optimization Center supports the planning process with powerful optimization engines. Optimization can handle many thousands of decisions simultaneously and can find the highest value combinations that are not obvious to humans, observing numerous, complex business rules and making delicate trade-offs among competing objectives. The IBM ILOG CPLEX Optimizer and IBM ILOG CPLEX CP Optimizer included in Decision Optimization Center are the leading optimization engines, providing fast solve times, and reliably optimal solutions across a wide variety of problem instances.

Controlled relaxation of requirements

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In applications based on IBM Decision Optimization Center, problems with contradictory requirements are automatically identified and reported to the user. Decision Optimization Center can also automatically relax constraints during optimization, carefully relaxing the fewest and least important requirements, as specified by the user. This process ensures that Decision Optimization Center always finds a solution and presents information about which preferences or requirements have been relaxed. Users can easily explore the optimized solution, with its recommended plan or schedule and attendant metrics, helping them to understand the process dynamics and to identify solution scenarios.

Multiple objectives and goal planning

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Real world businesses almost always have multiple and conflicting objectives (such as minimizing operating costs, increasing customer service, improving reliability, and avoiding capital expenditures). IBM Decision Optimization Center helps balance these conflicting goals by allowing users to change the importance associated with each goal or to set target levels for individual goals. In many practical situations, working with goals is as important as working with costs and requirements.

Works with Microsoft Office

IBM Decision Optimization Center provides users with tools for conducting further analysis and developing reports and presentations through Microsoft® Office, allowing formatted cut-and-paste editing between the Decision Optimization Center Planner/client and the different tools of Office. Using Excel can simplify reporting or advanced data manipulation using user-defined formulas.

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