Syncopation Software

The Decision Analysis Process

The Decision Analytic Process

A Visual Tour of Decision Analytic Process in the Real-World

Have you been faced with a high stakes business decision, fraught with uncertainty? How did you take on the problem? Looking back were you certain there was no value left on the table?

Start ensuring you're making the most well informed decisions for your business by applying the Decision Analytic process, thereby ensuring you have:

  • Accounted for Risks,
  • Quantified Uncertainty,and
  • Valued Critical Outcomes

Take a walk through the Decision Analytic process with Acme Corporation, a fictitious company faced with a very real new product development decision, employs decision analytic tools to reach a sound strategy. But perhaps most importantly, the process culminates in a deepened understanding of the venture, consensus among stakeholders, and the confidence to take action.


Acme Corp Faces a Difficult Decision

Stick with Barge or take a chance on Schooner

New Product Development Decision - Schooner vs. Barge

New product in the later stages of development whose technology is better, faster, and cheaper than that of Barge

The Good -- an early launch could capture market share from competitors

The Bad -- on the flip side, early launch requires a large capital investment


Reliable, legacy product who shares market with a few companies that employ the same, aged technology

The Good -- Barge's technology is tried and true; profits are reliable

The Bad -- market experts predict Barge's technology may soon be obsolete


Analysis Team Frames the Problem

Using DA tools an initial decision frame is established

Simple Decision Frame on Whiteboard
  • Launch Schooner?
  • Marketing Spend?
  • Market Share
  • Competitors
  • Capex

Decision Makers Modify Decision Frame

Decisions, Alternatives, and Uncertain variables are added

Proposed modifications:

  • waiting and observing the competition is an available decision alternative
  • pricing (Premium or Aggressive) is a decision, not an uncertainty
  • product quality is uncertain and may affect Market Share early on

After management review, the updated decision frame looks like:

More Complex Decision Frame on Whiteboard
  • Launch Schooner (launch now, wait, kill the project)
  • Marketing Spend (status quo, increase)
  • Pricing (premium, aggressive)
  • Quality (no problem, minor problems, widespread problems)
  • Market Share (low, nominal, high)
  • Competitors (none, one, several)
  • Capex (low, nominal, high)

The analysis team builds a quantitative model in DPL

DPL's intuitive decision modeling interface is employed

Quantitative Decision Analytic Model in DPL

Expert interviews provide data inputs for the model

Conditional relationships are defined in the Influence Diagram

Specifying Conditional Relationships in DPL

A Preliminary Analysis of the Model is Run

DPL's Policy Tree Output Serves as a Strategic Roadmap

Initial DPL Results - Policy Tree

The Policy Tree output indicates that the best strategy is to launch now with premium pricing and increased marketing spend. However, that strategy does poorly in scenarios where there are several competitors.


Initial Results Motivate New Strategies

A Downstream Pricing Decision is Added to the Model

DPL Decision Tree with Downstream Decision

When the decision makers see the quantitative results, they point out that the company wouldn't really stick to premium pricing in the face of strong competition. After some discussion, the model is modified to include two phases. The pricing decision is split into Initial Pricing and Later Pricing. The Later Pricing decision is made after Competitors (i.e., none, one or several) and Quality are known.


DPL Outputs Point to a Clear, Winning Strategy

The Analysis Team and Decision Makers are all On-board

DPL Policy Summary Output

The modified, two-phase model makes it clear that the best strategy is to launch now with premium pricing, but to be flexible about future pricing and marketing spend, observing how the market for new technology based products develops. Having met with the analysis team along the way, the decision makers are on board.


Acme Takes Action with Confidence

Schooner Product Launch

The decision analytic process proved to deepen the understanding of the problem at hand which served to build consensus among the all the parties involved and build confidence in the strategic direction to be taken.