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Tribium DECISIONS - Key Features

Feature Matrix

Hierarchical Objective Model

Tribium DECISIONS is based on principles of Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis (MCDA). Decision problems are represented internally as a hierarchy of objectives (criteria or decision) which translate the properties of alternatives into final evaluation. Evaluation scores of alternatives can be then easily compared, ranked and analyzed in very detail on many levels. In order to incorporate decision makers preferences into the decision model, Tribium DECISIONS uses configurable preference functions of various types which translate the raw quantifiable properties of alternatives (inputs) into their utility values. Objectives (criteria), organized in the tree-like hierarchies, may have defined special weighting (or ranking) in order to calculate higher-level value from sub-objectives. This allows to manage the complexity of large models, with hundreds of objectives and alternatives.

The methodology has been inspired by ideas and work of Ralph L. Keeney and Howard Raiffa.

Tribium DECISIONS is unique product on the market with unparalleled flexibility of modeling various decision problems and presenting results in various ways graphically on charts as well in form of printable report (PDF).

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Easy to use and functional GUI

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The vision behind Tribium DECISIONS was to create an application for problem modeling and evaluation with emphasis not only on functionality (capabilities) but also easy to use for the user.

We based our technology on famous and powerful Eclipse RCP framework which allows to manage multiple editors and views and other facilitation devices.

Our goal is to provide the best user experience with connection to quality of solutions. In many places while the user moves and selects various elements in editors, views automatically display various contextual information which is relevat to specific situation/user focus. This feature improves graphical interface effectiveness by providing most of relevant information with least effort from the user.

Immediate evaluation and visualization of results

Preparation of the decision, collection of data, fine-tuning of the model is mundane and incremental process. On each step of that process it is desired to see the partial results of evaluation.

Tribium DECISIONS allows to evaluate and visualize promptly results of evaluation in views immediately after any modification made on model or data entry.

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Qualitative and Qualitative Input Data

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Information about alternatives can be collected in form of quantitative, measurable data, which can be easily expressed in numbers, like weight, age, size, etc. Tribium DECISIONS provides decimal (numerical) and logical (binary) data types for that purpose.

There is also descriptive type TEXT available for storing textual information which is not used directly in evaluations.

While this form of description of real objects and phenomena is very useful for calculations it is not sufficient in some situations when no such information is available like in case of subjective evaluations.

In such cases Tribium DECISIONS allows to define qualitative (subjective) measures of certain properties of alternatives in form of SYMBOLIC data type. The user may create custom SYMBOLIC types and attach to them respective values for each of the symbol. These values will be in turn used in evaluations of all alternatives.

Preference Functions

Every decision maker has his/her own preferences depending on specific and usually unique decision context. In order to properly adjust the decision model and provide useful results from evaluations it is necessary to incorporate these various preferences into the decision model.

Tribium DECISION provides the mechanism of specifying the of the function of how the input value (attribute of the alternative) will be transformed into utility value, which can be then used to calculate utility value of the main objective in the model. Those transformations are called preference functions and it is always assumed that an terminal objective must specify such function if the value is provided by input or the function (custom formula).

There is currently limited number of such functions (linear, triangular, exponential, trapezoid) however it is planned to add more functions and even allow user to define his/her own preference function formulas.

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Custom Formulas (Functions)

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Very useful feature of the Tribium DECISION application is the ability to define any mathematical formulas from most popular algebraic operators and function. It is done in the visual manner by defining the expression tree of the formula using the mouse. Such formulas which are called functions can be used in the problem model and generate values used later for evaluation (as source of values for an objective).

An example of the user defined formula in the problem of car selection can be calculation of the cost of monthly expenses on gas.

Parameters

For certain decision problems it might be useful to define and use some variables which values are specified for all alternatives (are independent on solution but are used in some calculations in the model).

These variables are available in Tribium DECISIONS and are called parameters. Parameters are assumed to be fixed across all alternatives during the period of evaluation. Parameters can be freely referenced in mathematical formulas (functions) used in the model.

In example for a problem of choosing between cars possible parameters can be fuel price, climate parameters, average monthly commute distance, etc.

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Defining Goals and Constraints

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Each decision problem comes with inevitable constraints which limit use space of exploration for best solution. All alternatives should be examined if they fit into those set constraints and highlighted appropriately or even removed from the pool of alternatives under consideration. Constraints are defined as simple mathematical formula that must be satisfied if the solution (alternative) is to be accepted.

Goals have opposite meaning as constraints. They are defined by the mathematical formulas which should be satisfied if the alternative meets specific goal requirement. Use of goals is optional and do not restrict the pool of available alternatives in the consideration, however defining goals is useful to highlight the soluations which meet users presupposed assumptions about the best alternative.

Tribium DECISIONS allows to define complex structure of weighted constraints and goals which are always evaluated against all alternatives and shown directly in the alternative results view.

Sensitivity Analysis

Sensitivity Analysis is the simple and versatile tool to probe the decision problem model by changing values on selected inputs (input or parameters) and observe how these changes influence evaluation results. It is basically the What-If analysis but heavily assisted by the application which can be convenient for the user.

Tribium DECISIONS provides the automatic functionality for the sensitivity analysis where results are shown immediately on specialized charts showing specific function of changes of values in several points of the model as well as the magnitude (range) of those changes.

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Reporting to PDF

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The ability of the problem model to generate results of evaluation and present them to the user in the meaningful way is essential. The next important feature is the ability to share with others the results and conclusions along with other information which is kept in the decision model. This goal can be achieved by producing comprehensible reports, easy to use and to share with interested parties.

Tribium DECISIONS provides the functionality of generating reports and save them in professionally looking PDF. The information in the report documents is presented in informative, comprehensible and visually attractive form.

Reports can be generated using templates which specify the visaul form of the report, fonts, colors, layout of elements, paragraphs, tables and pictures, etc.

Contents of paragraphs, captions while predefined, can be freely modified and reformatted by the user according to his/her needs. Text can be formatted using integrated text editor with Wiki-syntax.

Scope of the report can be also customized but choosing the parts of the report which should find their way to the final report document. The user can just to show the definition of the problem, or (partial) results only etc, in the report.

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