Analytics Magazine Analytics Magazine, November/December 2014 - Page 64

de cis io n a na lys i s In all, this year’s survey features 38 software packages from a total of 21 vendors, with some vendors listing multiple tools or multiple versions of the same tool. Eleven vendors from 2012 did not participate this year, but seven new vendors have joined the response list. And while some software packages are listed for the first time, many from the 2012 survey have returned, albeit with some new features. 2014 Results As was the case with previous editions of the survey, this year’s results (see sidebar) reflect a diverse group of vendors and prices. Along with the United States, companies from the United Kingdom, Sweden, Belgium, Finland and Canada are represented. Meanwhile, prices for the software packages range from under $20 to several thousand dollars, depending on the type of license and the nature of the package. And as in previous survey editions, use examples range throughout commercial and government industries to include energy, finance, healthcare and defense. Focusing on updated features from 2012, many vendors report improvements to user interfaces in addition to new technical functions such as additional probability distributions and 64 | a n a ly t i c s - m a g a z i n e . o r g interfaces with Microsoft products (e.g., Excel). Regarding a topic highlighted in the 2012 introductory article, this year’s list features six new Web implementations: three as new features from returning packages and three from packages submitting to the survey for the first time. While not all software tools will (or should) offer Web implementations, the change is worth noting because it may indicate the presence of a trend likely to continue in the future. In both 2010 and 2012, the topics of “built-in coaching” and classroom vs. online training were discussed. This year’s proportion of software packages offering online training increased by 10 percent (from 45 percent to 55 percent) with a corresponding 13 percent decrease in classroom training. While some of this change is due to certain vendors not returning from 2012, several packages now claim to offer online training for the first time. Indeed, the decision analysis community may soon find the will and capability to provide what Don Buckshaw wondered would be possible in his analysis of the 2010 survey: builtin coaching that allows “a novice [to be] confident that their models are producing sensible results.” [2] Beyond such noticeable swings as training options, the small number of entries and changing group of respondents w w w. i n f o r m s . o r g