Decision Support Business Simulations

The situation where the business simulation is complex and requires interaction between teams. So each team use their own computer for planning. But the trainer use computer to process decisions, simulate and produce results.

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This type of business simulation is used where it is desirable to have the teams interact and compete in the markets but where the simulation is very complex. The teams use their own computers to analyse the situation and make decisions and these are submitted electronically to the trainer who simulates their impact and returns the results electronically to the teams.

   

   
     
   

   
     

   

   

Example Simulations

Only our complex strategy simulation (CISCO) exists in this form but we have the capability to produce similar simulations.

Strengths

The Decision Support System on the teams' computers allows them to ask "what-if" questions and help with their planning.

The administrative load is placed on the team and thus a trainer may manage many teams.

The trainer is central to the process and so is fully aware of the decisions and results and so is able to identify coaching needs and manage the learning process.

Participants expect to be using computers.

Weaknesses

Participants may be distracted by the computer. (There is a considerable body of research that suggests this. However, our designs take this into account and minimises this risk.)

Participants need to be computer literate and time can be wasted while they learn how to use the software. (With our simulations as we design them to be easy to use with comprehensive help systems)

Teams may become mesmerised by the simulation and so not spend enough time thinking and reflecting. (Our designs take this into account and force teams to do this).

A computer and printer is required for each team and this may not be possible in some locations.

Decisions and results must be transferred between the computers and this may by intranet, Internet, floppy disc etc.

There may be a short time while decisions are processed where teams are idle. However, our simulation are designed to minimises this.

Interactive simulations require decisions being made synchronously. In other words, all teams submit decisions simultaneously. This means that slower teams may be rushed and faster teams under worked. However, this problem is minimised if the teams are chosen carefully.

Practicalities

Normally, each team will be allocated a team room to work in. The exception to this is where the simulation is being used at a business conference where it may be attractive to spread the teams around one large room.

Teams must become familiar with the Decision Support Software. However, we recognise this and so make our simulations easy to use and incorporate a comprehensive help system.

Process

The process involved with this form of simulation

Brief Simulation This involves a short briefing about the simulation after which the group is assigned membership of teams and given the written participants' manual.
 
Familiarisation
and Planning
This involves the participants working in their individual groups becoming familiarising themselves with the task, assigning roles and responsibilities and deciding objectives and preliminary strategies. On training courses it is desirable if each team works in a separate breakout room. But, at company conferences it is desirable if all teams work on separate tables spread around a large room.
 
Decision Making This involves the repeating the decision-making between six an eight times. At predefined times teams submit their decisions electronically to the trainer who enters them into the simulator. When all are entered and checked the period is simulated and results returned electronically to the teams. Besides team results and to help the trainer answer questions and manage learning, the Tutor Support System provides additional reports.

After receiving their results teams analyse these and replan before making and submitting their next decisions.

Decision-Making Cycle

Make Decisions

Analyse & Replan

 

Submit Decisions

Simulate

 
Review Optionally before the teams recombine to discuss and compare their results they can be given time to prepare a presentation.

2003 Jeremy J. S. B. Hall

Most recent update:10/11/10
Hall Marketing, Studio 11, Colman's Wharf, 45 Morris Road, London E14 6PA, ENGLAND
Phone +44 (0)20 7537 2982 E-mail
jeremyhall@simulations.co.uk