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Toward Structured Simulation of What-If Analyses for Enterprise

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Today's Enterprises exist in highly dynamic environment. Simulation could be used to reveal complex dynamic behavior of enterprise, especially for playing out dynamic what-if scenarios, in determining enterprise's response to a change. Instead of relying on guidelines for simulating prescriptive models of enterprise as in other approaches including our own in which we simulated intentional models of enterprise, we propose a comprehensive metamodel of system dynamics and provide relation-based mapping to intentional metamodel. Ongoing explorations suggest that while several challenges of simulating enterprise aspects for what-if analyses remain unaddressed, in the least we take a step toward making simulation of intentional models more structured.

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Toward Structured Simulation of What-If Analyses for Enterprise

  1. 1. Toward Structured Simulation of What-If Analyses for Enterprises Sagar Sunkle, Suman Roychoudhury, Hemant Rathod, and Vinay Kulkarni Tata Research Development and Design Center, Pune, India.
  2. 2. Motivation • Intentional Models- – Prescriptive; capture why enterprises do what they are doing and how they are doing it – Static; early efforts at simulation, but scalability remains an issue • System Dynamics (SD) Models- – Useful for analysis of aggregates- – Pertinent to intentional models at higher level of abstraction to evaluate alternate courses of action to achieve strategic goals • Use case- Business Transformation due to Change Drivers – Simulation models derived from intentional models could be used to study planned courses of action before committing to one – Intentional models could be large; difficult to obtain simulation models by hand
  3. 3. Intentional Models Intentional Metamodel • Actors carry out behavior (tasks) to achieve goals – In doing so, actors depend on each other and use resources • (Hard) goals may be achieved with qualitative aspects/properties pertaining to tasks- these are (soft) goals • Individually, tasks, resources, and (hard/soft) goals are always with respect to an actor
  4. 4. System Dynamics Models InFlow OutFlow Stock Feedback Adapted From:http://www.naturalthinker.net/ • Stocks, flows and converters [variables/feedback] are the key concepts – Flows add up to or remove from stocks – Converters affect the flows – Stocks, flows, and converters can be grouped into modules
  5. 5. Intentional and SD Concepts Intentional Elements SD Elements Both Signify Actors Modules Active nature; often contain or control rest of the entities Tasks Converters and Flows Behavior Resources (Hard/Soft) Goals Stocks Passive nature; State; both change based on [intentional or causal] relations with other entities; in case of goals, satisfaction level changes • Intentional tasks could be realized as SD converters or flows - Which is more apt? Converters cannot directly influence behavior of the stocks; esp. if a task was means to a hard goal, utilized a resource, or contributed to soft goal, it must be a flow rather than a converter • Requires elaborating relations between SD elements
  6. 6. SD Metamodel
  7. 7. Context-based Transformation • There is no SD metamodel that describes SD concepts by specializing relations between SD elements • Relations between SD elements are represented by generic LINK concept- There are four different kinds of links namely, a FlowLink, StockLink, ModuleLink and ConverterLink • The sub-link types help in capturing intentional element contexts – Based on it, decomposition relation between a task into another task from intentional models can be realized as any one of FlowFlow, ConverterFlow, FlowConverter, ConverterConverter links Task Relation Goal Task realized as Task AND (Hard/Soft) Goal Flow (Parent) Decomposition Task (Child) OR Mean-End (Hard) Goal Flow Task Contribution (Soft) Goal Flow A task that does not relate to (Hard or Soft) goal [for instance, it is an intermediate child task of another task] is realized as a Converter
  8. 8. SD Models of Strategic Alternatives Create SD models for alternatives by following OR links between Means (Tasks) and Ends (Goals) and building upon SD model created till that point
  9. 9. Simulating Strategic Alternatives Positive contribution in Alternative 1 by task A to softgoal leads to reaching desired level of satisfaction of the hard goal A earlier Alternative 1 Alternative 2
  10. 10. Validation? • Merits – First cut structural SD models can be quickly obtained – Given this SD model, simulation expert needs to discuss with domain experts in terms of how stocks and flows in this model change with respect to their original counterparts – Context-based transformation based on metamodel relations enables traceability, but- • Only small intentional models transformed to SD equivalents • Intentional Models may contain types and instances- such as a role and actors of that role type. In SD, they will be available at the same level of abstraction – Standard SD does not have types and instances for stocks and flows
  11. 11. Yet to Do • Only structural transformation; no support for simulation equations – The semantics of label propagation from intentional models should reflect in the ways SD elements affect each other – Key points of variance between strategic alternatives should reflect prominently in the SD simulation
  12. 12. Question? You can reach me at sagar.sunkle@tcs.com

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