Are Computer Simulations Built for Business?
Can they effectively test the viability of your systems safely and accurately again and again, all while using less money?
Well, simulation software could be the perfect learning tool for any business or organization and the best way to demonstrate this is through a rather hostile environment …
Lessons from the Battlefield. (How Simulations Enhance Learning.)
“Why didn’t you report those enemy tanks, Captain?” This question was posed to me by my commander, a gruff, to-the-point colonel. We affectionately called him “the old man.” He continued to explain in his clipped, straightforward way, “You did a great job predicting what the enemy would do, but then you ignored the indicators!” I was his intelligence officer, it was my job to predict the future and I just let him down. The good thing was that this was a simulated battlefield, I could learn from this mistake and we could start again.
The Importance of Indicators.
Indicators are the lifeblood of an intelligence officer. They are linked to key decision points that help the commander to trigger his plan faster than the enemy, thus maintain the initiative and win the battle. Battles are in many ways no more complicated than a Wild West gun-fight. The gunfighter with the fastest draw and best aim wins. Or as the Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forest said, “He who gets there firstest with the mostest” will prevail.
An intelligence officer’s job is to tell the commander when these indicators are happening. If they are missed, then the boss can’t trigger plans in a timely way and begins to react to the opposition – instead of the opposition reacting to him.
In this case, I had just missed a key indicator, which is why I now was undergoing “personal mentorship” by the old man. I didn’t repeat this mistake. In fact, the mistake improved my confidence in my war-gaming ability – which was the point the colonel was trying to impress upon me.
And the Science of Chaos.
I was attending the fast paced Battle Command Training Seminar used by the Army to prepare its commanders and their staffs for battle. As you can imagine from the movies (or perhaps personal experience), battles are fast paced, hazy and chaotic. I choose the word chaotic, because that is not the same as unpredictable.
Chaotic means that the outcome of a series of events will be based largely on initial conditions.
Unpredictable, on the other hand, is pure chance. But events are not affected by chance as often as you might think.
Armies operate in chaotic environments and train their staffs to develop alternatives mapped to indicators and decisions that help the commander to understand which way the battle is turning. Again, chaos is not random, it is the existence of several outcomes depended upon initial conditions.
Where Simulation Software Comes In.
The key driver in this training was a computer aided simulation, an agent-based model emulating units on the battlefield. The unit-agents were limited by the terrain they operated on, so they could only move as fast as they normally would if they were actually moving on that road.
During the seminar, the commander’s staff would develop alternatives, and the commander would choose and modify one to run the operation. We would load the operation into the computer and the battle would be on.
The enemy force was also represented in the computer, creating the dynamics necessary to test the plan, the reporting systems and the sufficiency of the indicators.
Why Simulation Software Provides the Ideal Learning Environment …
1. Simulations are Safe.
Moving heavy equipment around in a battle zone is dangerous, even if you don’t use real bullets. Simulation software enables managers to train and learn without hurting anyone. They can be safe for business, because they can test scenarios before making investments.
An army in the field is expensive in terms of fuel, food, equipment wear and tear and payroll. Computer-based simulations emulate the massive scale of armies (and large organizations), without the associated costs. When compared to making large scale changes in a business system, simulations are usually less than 2% of the cost of the investment.
3. Simulations are Easily Repeatable.
It is difficult to rewind an organization of 3,000 soldiers and their associated tanks and trucks. With a simulation, on the other hand, you can back up or start over with a push of a few buttons. This applies to battlefield exercises and business.
4. Simulations are Realistic.
Computers are powerful. They have the ability to manage millions of variables at once. They can accurately represent systems and assess the effects the entities in these systems have on one another.
Simulation software enhances learning …
And Simulations are Built for Business.
The battlefield is a great example, but how do you test the viability of your business systems? Computer-aided simulations are an ideal learning tool for any company, because they are safe, inexpensive, easily repeatable, and realistic.
You can accurately test your plan, then determine what decisions are needed and when they are most effective. A low-cost space where you can fail safely again and again.
That’s beautiful for any business on the planet.
© Takouba Security, LLC.
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