Each March, office productivity is greatly impacted by the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. Just about everyone—regardless of their passion for college basketball—fills out a bracket in hopes of winning their respective pool (or pools). Some rely strictly on their knowledge of the teams involved, while others choose winners based on uniform color, where they’d rather live or other arbitrary strategies.
Wayne Winston might suggest utilizing Monte Carlo simulation to enhance your chances of racking up bracket points. Winston, who is a Professor of Decision Sciences at Indiana University, spends a great deal of his free time crunching numbers and producing probabilities of how teams will perform. This time of year, he determines the probability that schools in the 68-team field have of losing in the first round, winning the national championship and everything in between, with his use of @RISK. His methods were recently mentioned in a Wall Street Journal article.
Using power rankings from USA Today’s Jeff Sagarin (who just happens to be his best friend) and the tournament seedings, Winston simulates the tournament 10,000 times to get his results. Before the tournament started, he found Louisville to have a 21.6% chance of winning the national title. After winning their first two games against North Carolina A & T and Colorado St. and advancing to the Sweet 16, Louisville’s probability to win it all rose to 26%.
From time-to-time, the most unlikely statistical situations become reality. Before 2013, no 15-seed had ever advanced further than the first round of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, so it was no surprise that Florida Gulf Coast University had only a 1.5% chance of making it to the Sweet 16, and virtually no chance of winning the national championship. The Eagles’ statistical defiance changed the face of many brackets when they upset both Georgetown and San Diego St. to advance to the Sweet 16. Despite their two magic moments, Florida Gulf Coast University still has mere a one one-thousandth of a percent chance of cutting down the nets in Atlanta on April 8. It’s a statistical long shot, but one we—and Wayne Winston—will be watching with great anticipation.
To see more of Wayne Winston’s sports probability work, visit his website:
Oil & Gas Monitor features a regular column by Palisade's Rafael Hartke. The March column is titled "Practical Challenges of Implementing Risk Analysis in Oil Companies."
"Oil companies face a number of practical challenges when moving forward with deterministic (static, non-risk) analyses and implementing risk analysis within their decision-making process. Utilizing risk analysis during a project design and development—as opposed to after the project has already been decided—can add exceptional value to a project. In fact, it is easy to think of risk mitigation strategies that might transform a perceived high-risk project into a more acceptable one.
"However, before risk analysis begins, organizations must consider a number of challenges that could impede an accurate risk forecast. Some of these challenges include the organizational context of the company, the ability to build models and the decision maker’s risk profile."
Rafael Hartke is an Oil and Energy Industry Consultant at Palisade Corporation, where he assists in the development and strategy of quantitative risk analysis methods geared towards the energy industry. He also served as a Financial Engineer in Risk Management at Brazilian-based energy corporation, Petrobras, where he created risk models for complex investment projects and assessed project risks for medium and large projects, including Brazilian Pre-Salt giant fields, projects in the Gulf of Mexico, and offshore infrastructure projects. Palisade Corporation is the provider of the world’s leading risk and decision analysis software, @RISK and the DecisionTools Suite.
Palisade March 2013 Academic Enews
In This Issue
"Many leading corporations are now using Monte Carlo simulation in their
business cases. Students who want a leg up with such corporations
should seek out all opportunities to get experience in working with
Monte Carlo simulation."
Professor Asher Drory, Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto
With flooding an increasing threat to coastal residents north of Sydney, Australia, @RISK software was employed by engineering firm AECOM to model the risks and benefits of various preventative measures. AECOM was engaged by the Australian Department of Climate Change to undertake an economic analysis of climate change impacts on infrastructure through the development of a series of case studies. These studies will be used to inform the Australian government’s discussion on policy responses to the risk that climate change will increase infrastructure investment and maintenance costs. In this case, the area of study was the increased risk of flooding from Narrabeen Lagoon in the northern Sydney local government area of Pittwater. Read more.
@RISK Modeling Tips
» Supply Chain Disruptions
Palisade February 2013 Academic Enews
In This Issue
"Using [DecisionTools] software applications allows me to focus on teaching problem solving (what analysis to run, what assumptions to make, what inputs to use, and how to interpret the results), rather than the computational aspects, which would otherwise take up most of the class time. This is especially important in the fast-paced half-semester courses we now use."
Dr. Joe Hahn, Pepperdine University
Quantitative risk analysis techniques can help you answer these and many more questions. A new postgraduate certificate program in Risk Analysis in Health and Food Safety is being offered by EpiX Analytics and the Royal Veterinary College (RVC), University of London. “People interested in risk analysis in health and food safety come from a variety of backgrounds, so it was important for us to use software that is not only statistically sound, but also user friendly. This is why we chose @RISK as the primary teaching software for this course,” said Dr. Francisco Zagmutt, managing partner of EpiX Analytics and one of the course instructors.
This course will use many examples and case studies to provide participants with the skills for cutting-edge quantitative risk analysis in health and food safety. The course is designed to accommodate the work schedules of professionals from research institutions, governmental and international agencies; agricultural, food, pharmaceutical and related industry; and academic staff and post graduate students.
» PwC Advocates “Corridor Budgeting” to Deal with Uncertainties Head On
» New Postgraduate Certificate in Risk Analysis in Health and Food Safety at the Royal Veterinary College of the University of London
» Palisade Featured in Healthcare ExecutiveInsight
» Save the Date: 2013 Palisade Risk Conference Las Vegas – November 20-21
» @RISK Used to Model Blood Screening Safety
@RISK Modeling Tips
» Using @RISK to Estimate Oil and Gas Reserves
Palisade January 2013 Academic Enews
In This Issue
"Just like Excel itself, @RISK does its work without involving you in its computational complexities. So students who may have been scared of stats and data analysis before can feel perfectly at ease creating their simulations—and so, they want to do more."
Dr. Domingo Castelo Joaquin, College of Business, Illinois State University
PricewaterhouseCoopers put together a beautiful video about the Corridor Budgeting program, developed by Tobias Flath and Michael Hofmann. Corridor Budgeting is a methodology combining planning, business management, and risk management in order to prepare for a range of possible outcomes, and thereby generate a more realistic picture of the future.
Palisade's DecisionTools Suite is an integral part of this program. As explained in the video: "We identify the factors underlying variables and ranges that impact on financial results. The Corridor is regularly analyzed and validated, giving visibility into any gaps or delta between target bandwidths and actual figures. Specially designed software then aggregates these bandwidths and event risks to paint an accurate picture of possible scenarios."
The video depicts modeling with Monte Carlo simulation: "A simulation models the total risk exposure. The width of the curve indicates the level of uncertainty. The height shows the likelihood that an event will occur, giving senior executives insights into the full spectrum of future possibilities, and making it easier to make the right decisions."
The video concludes, "Corridor Budgeting allows businesses to forecast more realistically, and prepare more effectively for what's to come, equipping them to face the future, however it turns out." It's a simple and beautiful explanation of how risk and decision analysis are a central part of business decisions today.
See PwC's Corridor Budgeting video here:
We all know the figure of speech, "A camel is a horse designed by committee." The blog How to Manage a Camel promotes better group thinking around project management, bringing together conflicting opinions.
On January 7th, the Camel blog published "Nine Steps to Embracing Risk Analysis in the Enterprise" by Palisade's Randy Heffernan. This piece looks at some of the key advantages of implementing risk analysis in a holistic manner with an organization. It also gives guidelines for implementing a project risk management strategy within your enterprise.
A brief excerpt: "Increased use of risk analysis in the form of quantitative risk management (QRM) and decision-making under uncertainty (DMUU) is helping organisations to be prepared for unforeseen risk. Simply put, QRM and DMUU mean thinking more quantitatively, with numbers and probabilities. It means recognising that uncertainty exists in nearly every decision, and accounting for it in a quantitative way. One good example of this is the use of Monte Carlo simulation, which is an analytical technique that evaluates and measures the risk associated with any given venture or project. A computerised mathematical process, it allows users to define uncertain variables in their models and see, as a result, a range of possible outcomes and the probability that each will occur."
Palisade's 2013 regional training schedule already includes over 80 locations around the world. Take the opportunity for hands-on training in Decision Making and Quantitative Risk Analysis when our expert trainers come to your town.
2013 locations include:
Palisade is pleased to announce that version 6.1 of @RISK and the DecisionTools Suite is coming soon. This new version will feature an enhanced, faster engine for the simulation of Project schedules, as well as compatibility with Excel 2013, Windows 8, and 64-bit versions of Microsoft Project. It has also been translated into Spanish, Portuguese, German, French, Japanese, and Chinese.
We encourage you to try a special Release Preview of version 6.1 available now, in all seven languages.
Your feedback will help Palisade to improve the final product.
Operational risk management has been a key part of the LEGO Group’s strategy for many years. The approach is used to handle issues including supply disruptions, demand volatility, currencies, employee health and safety, and product quality and safety.
Today, the sophistication of LEGO’s Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) framework is widely recognised. It is one of the foremost companies to use Monte Carlo simulation to quantify risk and present key risk information to its board of directors for decision-making purposes. @RISK from Palisade helps the LEGO Group to manage much of the risk it faces. This gives the company a true understanding of the volatility that it believes is inherent in its activities, in order that it can act to pre-empt it.
The LEGO Group uses @RISK to consolidate its risk portfolio. The standard way to calculate overall risk is to multiply the likelihood with the impact for each risk, and add up the total for the portfolio giving an average loss. The LEGO Group however takes a more strategic approach, in the belief that risk management is about extremes, not averages. It wants to know what will happen in the 10% chance that something does occur, not the 90% chance that it doesn’t.
LEGO Risk Management therefore identifies all risks it faces which include factors such as competitor infringements, currency risk and vendor breakdown (if a packaging vendor suffers a strike or a fire, for example, this impacts LEGO’s ability to do business). It then quantifies the risks with @RISK so that each risk is assessed in terms of the chance of it happening and the cost / impact if it does.
Once management has defined figures for all risk factors, it adds up the total exposure that it faces using a Monte Carlo simulation. From this the 5% worst-case exposure is looked at, and compared to the risk tolerance that the company has set itself, based on its earnings, to see if this is acceptable. If it is above the risk exposure, risk handling needs to be addressed to reduce the risk. If it is below, the company is allowed to follow a more aggressive – or ‘risky’ - policy.
Knowing its risk tolerance and consolidated exposure against its actual tolerance enables management to make informed and intelligent decisions about its capacity to take on more risks or be more cautious.
Defining and addressing strategic and operational risks enable the company’s managers to take prudent and proactive mitigating actions, which result in better performance.
In a recent issue of Supply Chain Digital magazine, Palisade's Randy Heffernan explored the relevancy of risk analysis solutions for supply chains.
"Managers need to be able to answer questions like: 'What is the probability this critical part will arrive on time?' and 'What are the chances of failure at this point in the process?'" says Heffernan. "[Risk analysis techniques using Monte Carlo simulation] allow decision makers to perform trade-off analysis among expected costs, quality acceptance levels, and on-time delivery distributions. It also provides alternative tools to evaluate and improve supplier selection decisions in an uncertain supply chain environment."
Supply Chain Digital covers the global supply chain space, from how parts are sourced to how packages arrive on your doorstep. It is a leading source of logistics, procurement, warehousing and outsourcing news geared toward executives in the supply chain industry around the world.
» Read the complete article: "Risk Analysis Will Drive Better Decsions Across the Supply Chain"
Executive Insight serves C-level executives in the healthcare field, focusing on the latest strategies, protocols and products.
Heffernan's article explores the benefits of risk analysis technology for healthcare organizations.
"How can healthcare organizations accurately assess risk?" asks Heffernan. "For many healthcare providers, risk analysis technology, which utilizes a computational method called Monte Carlo simulation, has proven to be a valuable asset in understanding risk factors and making crucial decisions that address real-world healthcare concerns, such as determining optimal staffing, patient capacity and facility expansion."
Several applications of risk analysis technology for healthcare are explored, including avoiding staffing shortages, patient capacity projections, and facility expansion.
It’s estimated that the human population will be nine billion by 2030. The Food and Agriculture Organisation believes that aquaculture, which currently provides around half of the fish and shellfish eaten around the world, is the only agricultural industry with the potential to meet the protein requirements of this size of population.
However, one of the biggest constraints to achieving this is the depletion of stock levels through disease. Biosecurity measures, which aim to prevent, control and ideally eradicate disease are regarded as essential. However, encouraging the adoption of these practices are often difficult due to aquatic farmers’ levels of education, training, responsibility and perceived economic benefits. In addition, global estimates of disease losses may appear remote and irrelevant to farmers and producers.
Having seen Palisade’s risk analysis tool @RISK being demonstrated, Dr Chris Walster, a qualified veterinary surgeon and the secretary of the World Aquatic Veterinary Medical Association (WAVMA), started using the program to calculate the realistic risk of aquatic disease to farms, with a focus on cases where data inputs were limited. The capacity of @RISK to present data in an easy to understand way meant farmers could more easily understand the disease risk probabilities, review the cost/benefit of disease prevention and make informed choices about whether to put controls in place.
“@RISK enables farmers to reduce the risk of disease spreading amongst their animals whilst minimising additional costs,” Dr Walster explains. “For aquatic vets, the key is the graphs which allow us to demonstrate a complex probability problem quickly and simply in a way that is easy to understand and trust. These inform decision-making, thereby helping to boost the world’s aquatic stock whilst safeguarding farmers’ livelihoods.”
“This technique also potentially offers an economical method of assisting in the control of many diseases. Farmers undertake their own tests, with each of these providing incremental inputs so that the macro picture can be developed and acted upon,” concludes Walster.
Join us this Thursday, December 6, 2012, for a free live webcast entitled, "Good Practices and Common Mistakes" to be presented by Dr. Huybert Groenendaal. This was one of the favorite sessions last month at the Palisade Risk Conference in Las Vegas.
Ever question if your Monte Carlo model is correct? Ever wondered how other organizations use @RISK, how to get the most value out of @RISK, and what are some of the most important best practices? Then this is the right free live webcast for you!
An increasing number of organizations are using analytical techniques such as quantitative risk analysis, value at risk (VaR), and risked NPV to help them improve decision making. However, all too often, these techniques may not be used optimally or accurately and their full value may not be realized.
During this presentation, Dr. Huybert Groenendaal will share his hands-on experience through hundreds of projects, and will discuss the following topics:
All good practices and common mistakes will be discussed with the use of real-life risk modeling case studies and models based on EpiX consulting work.
Dr. Huybert Groenendaal is a managing partner at EpiX Analytics, a consultancy that helps clients use Monte Carlo simulation and probabilistic modeling in a broad range of industries and fields, ranging from financial risk analysis, business development, marketing, budgeting, inventory optimization, and pricing, to risk analysis in health. Dr. Groenendaal has extensive experience in risk modeling and analysis for business development, financial valuation, R&D portfolios and portfolio evaluations in pharmaceuticals and medical devices. Dr. Groenendaal also teaches a variety of risk analysis training courses including Financial Risk Modeling for Pharmaceuticals, Quantitative Risk Analysis, and Corporate Finance Risk Analysis and customized on-site courses. He also lectures on the use of risks modeling in business at the executive MBA program at the Leeds School of Business, University of Colorado and teaches two online risk analysis courses at Statistics.com. Dr. Groenendaal has an MBA in Finance from the Wharton School of Business and PhD from Wageningen University and is an adjunct faculty at Colorado State University.
All DecisionTools Suite products now include revised and updated example files, as well as all-new examples in a range of industries. All examples are clearly organized and easy to navigate. These examples have been designed and written by leading MBA professor and author Dr. Chris Albright of Indiana University. They provide step-by-step guidance on setting up and running models to address a wide range of industry applications. In addition, many examples offer short, built-in videos that walk you through the model.
Furthermore, new video tutorials have been developed by Dr. Albright to help new users get started quickly, and to help experienced users get more out of the software.
Quick Start models files and videos
These short, interactive tutorials are designed to teach you how to use DecisionTools software by walking you through an actual model – all under 30 minutes! Build a model step by step, following the simple video instructions provided.
Guided Tour Videos
Guided Tours explain the functionality of each part of the software ribbon in detail. Learn how the features work, improve your efficiency, and avoid errors in your models.
Follow along as experts demonstrate the powerful analytical features of the DecisionTools Suite, and then open the actual risk and decision analysis models. Models are available here, and linked directly from your software.
@RISK (risk analysis software using Monte Carlo simulation) is now a truly cross-platform tool, enabling risk modeling of your Microsoft Project schedules using the same @RISK you use for risk analysis modeling in Microsoft Excel! You can now do your project risk modeling in Excel rather than Microsoft Project, providing a new world of flexibility. A new interface layer reproduces your schedule in Excel, enabling you to use all Excel formulas and @RISK functions. When you make changes to your model in either Project or Excel, those changes are reflected in the other with @RISK’s Sync feature. (Note that all @RISK modeling takes place in Excel, so @RISK functions do not appear in Microsoft Project.) Then simulate your Project schedules in Project itself, using Project's scheduling and calculation engine.
The benefits of using Excel for your Project risk modeling are many. You can easily build risk registers in Excel for your Project model using new “RiskProject” functions. You can integrate your cost and schedule analyses. You can standardize on a single tool – @RISK – to meet the needs of your project managers, cost estimators, finance analysts – everyone who deals with risk and decision making under uncertainty in your company. Plus, a single interface means a shorter learning curve for everybody.
@RISK is part of The DecisionTools Suite -- an integrated set of programs for risk analysis and decision making under uncertainty that runs in Microsoft Excel.