It never ceases to amaze me how companies can develop products and then fail to promote them adequately, or otherwise promote products above others. In my view, the DecisionToolsSuite™ from Palisade is a great example of this, where @RISK™ is in my view over-emphasised and the other products underemphasised. Here is an ordered list of my own use of the DTS in terms of the frequency of my use, and how I generally use them:
- TopRank™. A great product for error-checking models using sensitivity analysis.
- StatTools™: Excellent for quickly doing statistical analysis of data sets, such as searching for autocorrelation in time series, or multiple regression analysis, and calculating confidence intervals
- Evolver™: A good complement to Solver™, Goal Seek, intuition and VBA code, for solving real-life optimisation problems (which are often far too hard for a single product to deal with, even after reformulating the model in the optimum way)
- @RISK™: Monte Carlo simulation in Excel. Good for modelling general ranges of uncertainty in application such as cost budgetting and contingency modelling, risk registers, cash flow modelling, and project portfolio modelling. But it is slow compared to RiskSolver™ when this is used in its “PSI Interpreter” mode.
- RiskOptimizer™: Complements @RISK™ and Evolver™ but in my experience is usually too slow to be of much use on a stand-alone basis. Best used by initially swapping out @RISK™ functions and generating initial trial values of an optimum solution using Evolver™.
- PrecisionTree™: Useful for value of information analysis and basic real options modelling. One disadvantage is that although it technically works together with @RISK™, their use together is very often easily misunderstood and in most cases I have come across users apply the two together in ways that are totally wring in terms of the implied modelling assumptions.
- NeuralTools™: Still looking for an application in my own work, but then, hey, I am busy with other stuff, and it seems to be a good product in many ways!!