How Concentric "Auto-Tunes" for Trustworthy Business Answers Faster
One of the biggest success factors – and biggest frustrations – when analyzing data is ensuring you are delivering a trustworthy answer. Can I trust the data and assumptions I used to get to this answer? Is the analysis sound?
With simulation, the calibration process assures the quality of the simulation, giving you confidence in the insights you gain. But what exactly is "calibration?"
Although a bit technical, here's a good definition:
"Model calibration is the task of adjusting an already existing model to a reference system. In general, this is done by adjusting model parameters to a set of given samples from the reference system. Model calibration is often regarded to be necessary for complex simulation models in order to create a homomorphic ("structurally equivalent") abstraction of (a special aspect of) reality."
Marko Hoffman, Journal of Defense Modeling and Simulation, October 2, 2005
In less technical words, calibration is used to "tune" the model to better reflect the reality you are trying to simulate. To effectively answer business questions, you need to calibrate or train the model to recreate your market in a simulated environment. In short, calibration is how you ensure valid results.
At Concentric, we have been helping our customers build simulations using our software, Concentric Market®, to answer over 100,000 business questions. And the part of the simulation process that is often the most time-consuming and frustrating is calibration. During calibration, we would often hear from our customers:
"Why is this so difficult?"
"I've put all the data in… why is it not calibrating?"
"How do I know what to adjust to get this calibrated?"
Even though the Concentric team provides support by answering questions, and sometimes calibrating simulations for our users, we wanted to find a way to help them feel more confident in their ability to calibrate the model and trust their final analysis.
With the release of Concentric Market version 9.2, the software now includes a data verification assistant that provides instantaneous feedback on the quality of the data you enter into the platform. With over 120 validation rules built into the software, users are alerted to missing data points, illogical data, or complex modeling parameters that could be simplified.
Think of the assistant as your virtual Concentric support team – someone coaching you along the way, helping you verify the data you enter. Using plain English, the assistant helps users understand how the Concentric Market model is interpreting the data and provides guardrails to prevent results that look good but are not valid.
Calibration is an iterative process of running a simulation, finding data inconsistencies or errors, running the simulation again, and so on until you achieve a comfortable error rate. Especially for new users, the calibration phrase can consume half the time it takes to get to trustworthy answers, taking 60 hours or more. With the release of v9.2, the data verification assistant reduces the time needed for calibration by 50% and helps new users deliver trustworthy answers up to 2 weeks faster.
Concentric Market 9.2 is an exciting release for Concentric as the work done for the assistant provides the building blocks for further automation efforts. The goal at Concentric is to provide the most stable, trustworthy simulation environment ever. And with enhanced automation and error-checking, Concentric is working to enable users across the organization – business and technical – to forecast with confidence.