In order to reduce silos and take advantage of opportunities to maximize value across the enterprise, more and more decision making processes operate collaboratively, with decision makers in different parts of the company contributing to the planning process. The planning process needs to include people in diverse roles:

Personas and roles in a planning process

Click to enlargeClick to enlargeAnalytical decision support applications based on Decision Optimization Center allow planners to work together on plans, to enter and validate data jointly, and to share candidate plans among themselves and with reviewers through the shared scenario repository. They can also get feedback from other stakeholders various reporting tools.

Separation of corporate data from planning data and processing

IBM Decision Optimization Center enables an efficient division of both data and processing. Data is imported from enterprise databases into the Decision Optimization Center application, and planners then work with that copy to create scenarios and perform "what if" operations to determine the right decisions. All of this activity occurs without compromising enterprise data or impacting existing systems with processing overhead. When optimal solutions have been found, they can be easily exported to update the enterprise data.

Sharing scenarios

IBM Decision Optimization Center supports the planning process with powerful optimization engines. An individual planner can share scenarios with other planners or reviewers. Using the central scenario repository, the other parties can easily work with the referenced scenario in their own workspaces and compare it with their own scenarios.

Working together on plans

Planners can also share working scenarios, concurrently editing the different input parameters. They can use their business expertise to incorporate manual decisions by freezing some of the decision variables. The scenario repository of IBM Decision Optimization Center ensures data safety during scenario editing through locking and versioning. The edits made by different planners are controlled and, if conflicts occur when saving the scenario, the planner can identify and fix them.

Solving shared scenarios

At appropriate points in the planning process, a master planner will optimize a scenario, using all information collected by all planners working on that scenario and specifying the decisions based on the model solved by the optimization engines. During this process, IBM Decision Optimization Center locks the scenario to ensure that there are no modifications. At the end of optimization, all planners and reviewers can study the proposed solution for this scenario and continue to refine the scenario manually if necessary.

Exporting scenarios and reporting

IBM Decision Optimization Center can export scenarios to many kinds of third party reporting tools. This way, proposed plans are made available in customized formats to stakeholders for review and approval.

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