If you do a web search for the term "business intelligence" or "BI", you'll get two points of view - one is focused on how to gather and transform raw data into information and the other is focused on the process of analyzing and utilizing the information for strategic planning. Two parts of a whole, really, since there is no point gathering a ton of data unless you can somehow put it to use. Plus it's tough to make decisions about what your company/department/process should do unless you have enough information to support those decisions.
That got me thinking again about how important it is that ExtendSim has
an internal relational database capability for storing and managing
data. An internal database serves as a bridge between the simulation
model and external data repositories, both to supply data to the model
and to report model outputs. It also helps that ExtendSim has robust
tools to facilitate the exchange of data with external sources. For
example, its ADO (ActiveX Data Objects) capability allows ExtendSim to
perform high speed data exchanges with external databases such as
Microsoft Access and SQL Server. And the ExtendSim DB Add-In for Excel
allows analysts to fully specify an ExtendSim database in Excel,
including parent/child relationships, formatting, and data validation,
and then retrieve useful information from the model without having to
learn anything about simulation or even how to use ExtendSim.
But the storage, management, and transfer of data is only one part of
the story. What is even more important is that the data gets used in a
meaningful manner. And that is where simulation comes in. Simulation is
a low cost, high reward method that allows you to analyze existing
processes and explore the effect of changes. Likewise you can get
assurance when designing completely new systems and processes since
you've simulated their behavior or performance in advance. An
intelligent way to do business.
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