This page is
explores the issues and development time associated with customising an existing
simulation so you can decide whether this is appropriate and affordable.
I design my business simulations so that they are easily customised to your requirements. The reason for this is that I have found that to deliver learning, a business simulation must match the issues facing your business and to ensure engagement, a business simulation must replicate your business adequately.
Ease of customisation, coupled with our comprehensive range of business simulations means that where you have special needs it is likely that I can create a business simulation to exactly meet these needs very inexpensively.
Besides describing a business simulation customisation hierarchy, this page also describes two customisation case studies,
Business Simulation customisation hierarchy
My business simulations are designed to facilitate customisation as follows:
Except when adding or replacing models and, possibly
adding reports or decisions, the other changes just involve developing
a new version.
And my architecture
means that all this requires is changing the simulation database
(rather than changing the model). This reduces customising time
very substantially. (Where models are changed or replaced then a new simulation is created for your personal use.)
Read more about this customisation hierarchy.
- I provide participant documentation in editable MS Word
format. Provided that you maintain my copyright message
I am happy for you to merge, integrate and reformat
this documentation into your course materials.
- Often all that is required to make an existing simulation
fit your needs is to change the terminology. For instance
in the early 1990s a training company wanted to use a
simulation with a distribution company. After discussion
I decided that my Retail
Challenge simulation addressed the required issues.
All that was necessary was to change the scenario and
terminology. The senior manager participants commented on
the relevance and reality of the simulation. On many
occasions clients have wanted to tailor the financial
terminology of my business simulations to reflect the
terminology used within their own company. Finally,
recently a client who was running a course for the
British Football Association wanted to change my Service Challenge
simulation to reflect the issues facing a sports
regulatory body. All these changes have been
successfully accomplished in half-a-day or less.
- Changing Language
- A more radical change involves changing the language (from
English). This may be relatively trivial like changing
from British English to American English to more radical
like changing to Spanish. To facilitate these changes,
all the text used by my software are stored in editable
ASCII text files. And, although I only have the
capability to translate between British and American
English. I can advise on translation into other
- Changing the
- The reports produced by my business simulations are defined in a
database so that it is possible to simplify (or extend)
individual reports, change the reports automatically
produced and the timing of these. For example for a high
school conference I simplified the reports produced by
the Executive Challenge
simulation. On another occasion for an American client I
changed the reports produced by Management Challenge to
meet delegate needs. In both instances, the
changes took an hour or so.
- Changing the
- Often it is possible to change the decisions and their
timing. For example the simplification of Executive Challenge for the
high school conference also involved eliminating some
decisions. And, on another occasion, changes in client
strategy meant that is necessary to reorganise the timing
of the decisions for the Profess
simulation. For Executive Challenge the changes took less
than an hour and for Profess the changes took less
than half a day.
- Recalibration involves adjusting the numeric parameters
of the simulation. This can been done at two levels - proportional
recalibration and radical
- Proportional recalibration involves
increasing or reducing all the parameters proportionately
so as to better reflect the currency of the participants'
country. I attempt to reduce the necessity of doing this
by providing my standard version of a simulation using a
universal currency (the Account
Unit or AU) where the numbers are small and do not map to
any specific currency. However, if it is necessary to
change the parameters proportionately this can generally
be done in two or three days.
- Radical recalibration involves changing
the parameters to reflect the specific margins and costs
of a specific industry. For instance I was asked to
recalibrate my Distribution
Challenge simulation to reflect the margins
appropriate to the Electrical Distribution Industry in
the USA. This involved changing the parameters,
completely recalibrating and testing the recalibration.
When doing this I had to ensure that the impact on
revenue, profits, profitability, cash flow etc. were
appropriate (neither to hard or too easy). This level of
recalibration can necessitate up to two weeks work
and a full pilot.
- Adding Reports
- As my business simulations utilise both parameter and reporting
databases, it is often possible to produce custom reports
that address particular training needs. And, if the data
already exists in the parameter database then no
additions to the model are required. But, if the data
does not exist it will be necessary to add or replace
models. While developing my Challenge
Series of business simulations I found that several clients
wanted to use them on Assessment
Centres. To provide for this, I produce special
versions with a custom set of the Team Commentary
reports for the Assessors to highlighted and elucidate team
results and their strengths and weaknesses. Changes that
took less than half a day.
- Adding Decisions
- Often it is possible to add decisions to the simulation
to address additional learning needs. For example several
business process re-engineering models were added to Global Operations.
Despite the fact that this required some re-programming
of the model this took about two days to
- Adding or
- On several occasions clients have found a simulation that
is about right but require additional or different
business issues to be addressed. Examples include: The Casino Challenge where the
marketplace model of the Service
Challenge was replaced (but the other models retained).
RESERVE was developed by
adding a series of decisions and associated models to the
simulation. Typically, these changes have taken
between one and two weeks.
- Branded Editions
- The above lend themselves to creating customised, branded
versions of my business simulations for clients. Branded versions
that use different terminology, decisions and reports
displayed on custom background wallpaper and copyright
notices. So, rather like the waistcoat in the icon you
can dandify your version of the simulation!
The bottom line is that I can usually customise an
existing simulation in hours or days - giving you a business simulation
that exactly satisfies your training needs. But even if it is not possible to customise and existing simulation it is likely that I can create a new business simulation quicker and at lower cost than others.
Customisation Case Studies
These describe how existing simulations were customised for clients, the issues associated with customisation and use and the learning outcomes.
Schneider Electric/Square D Customisation: This describes how my Distribution Challenge simulation was radically changed and extended to replicate the operation of an electrical distributor so that Schneider Electric sales people could better relate to and help their customers. Besides describing how the simulation
was customised, the
explains how it was used by Schneider Electric facilitators and the outcomes of the role-out across the USA. Case Study, This customisation cost about £15,000. The initial use of the simulation was in 2004 and it is still in use today (2010).
Gambro is a large multinational medical company that recognised that although their "top executives were excellent in their specialties but did not have a good understanding of the entire entity nor of the financial impact their Divisions had on it". This resulted in them searching for a simulation that would provide for these top
Exploration of How our Business Might Function Under
YOUR Leadership". This led to my Executive Challenge simulation and its customisation. Besides describing how the simulation was customised, the case study explains how it was used by Gambro and the outcomes of the role-out across the world. Case Study. This customisation cost about £2,000. However,
as Gambro used frequently, the discounted price they obtained more than paid for the customisation.
© 2004 Jeremy J. S. B. Hall
Most recent update: 23/11/14
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45 Morris Road, London E14 6PA, ENGLAND
Phone +44 (0)20 7537 2982