What-if Simulation Modeling in Business Intelligence

What-if Simulation Modeling in Business Intelligence

Matteo Golfarelli (DEIS - University of Bologna, Italy) and Stefano Rizzi (DEIS - University of Bologna, Italy)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-969-9.ch135


Optimizing decisions has become a vital factor for companies. In order to be able to evaluate beforehand the impact of a decision, managers need reliable provisional systems. Though data warehouses enable analysis of past data, they are not capable of giving anticipations of future trends. What-if analysis fills this gap by enabling users to simulate and inspect the behavior of a complex system under some given hypotheses. A crucial issue in the design of what-if applications is to find an adequate formalism to conceptually express the underlying simulation model. In this paper the authors report on how, within the framework of a comprehensive design methodology, this can be accomplished by extending UML 2 with a set of stereotypes. Their proposal is centered on the use of activity diagrams enriched with object flows, aimed at expressing functional, dynamic, and static aspects in an integrated fashion. The paper is completed by examples taken from a real case study in the commercial area.

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