Simulations are computer models that emulate hypothetical situations to understand how they might play out in the real world. They often require enormous computing power, which is easy to acquire ‘on the cloud.’ Cloud offerings also come with a plethora of pre-built ready to use software, integrations and analytics packages which hastens any simulation development process. As a result, today’s companies are starting to rely on simulations to decipher the future, navigate the marketplace, and make decisions about capabilities that give them a leg up on competitors.
The reason simulation tools are gaining popularity is simple: They allow organizations to find the right opportunities among hundreds that are available,predict possible outcomes of business decisions such as introduction of new offerings and services, entering new geographies thus helping them optimize resources and maximize returns. While not every business problem is right for simulation, there are several simulation opportunities visible across industries.
If you’re just beginning to consider how simulations can help you and what areas of your business will benefit the most, here are three things that can help you make the most out of your investment:
- Tie simulations to critical business issues: The first and most important step before running a simulation is to ensure your organization has complete clarity about the problem or question it’s trying to solve. While far less expensive than they were before the days of cloud computing, simulations still cost time, attention, and other resources. Hence, they must be used only when there is a big business benefit attached to it. For example, a US pharmaceuticals company is using cloud computing to simulate public and proprietary proteins, nucleotides, and RNA sequences as part of an in-house biological sequence repository to aid therapeutic discovery.
- Practice strong data management to ensure quality simulations: Simulations are only as good as the data that’s fed into them. To make the most of their simulation investments, organizations must have the right data, infrastructure, and processes. Only then can they tap into their repositories, access the right data, fortify their models, and generate insights. For example, a global survey business gathers data from across digitally connected devices including mobile phones, tablets, SmartTVs, games consoles, OTT streaming devices, the Internet of Things (IoT) and connected car devices. Using cloud technologies to collate a measurement of digital content viewership across devices, the business is able to create simulations more effectively.
- Use simulations to ‘fail fast’ and improve the next time: Simulations are predictions, and predictions aren’t always perfect. Organizations must realize that simulations are only work in progress and that they must refine them over time. This requires a culture that embraces failure, improving things through continual iterations, and delivering best-in-class products to customers. For example, a European airline is modelling its developing operations alongside a series of ‘proofs of concept’ using hybrid cloud-powered simulations.
In a fast-paced business environment where customers are increasingly demanding new offerings and new ways of doing business with you, cloud-powered simulations can help you separate the wheat from the chaff. To learn how to get started with cloud-based simulations, read my article Now You Can Simulate Nearly Anything in this edition of our management journal, Perspectives.