OPA – Entities Adventures #9 Testing using What If

What If?

Back in the Workshop now with all our different chapters, things are getting more and more complex. But one feature of the Policy Modelling user interface that we do not cover in the standard training course can come to our rescue. I’m talking about the What If Analysis feature. This is based on Microsoft Excel and reasonably easy to explain to a non-technical user, so it can be leverage to prove that a use case has been understood, or as a tool for working with the business to understand each other.

The use of this functionality starts with a new file in your Project:

OPA - What If Initial View

As you will have seen, the first time you open it can be quite a disappointment. What you need to do is proceed first to an initial setup, then to some data entry. Begin by clicking the Add Worksheet button on the top left, and adding Worksheets for any Entities that you intend to work with. It will end up looking like something like this, using our Workshop as the example:-

OPA - What if Added Entities

Now we proceed to each of the Worksheets and click the Add Column button. We add any attribute we intend to enter data for, as well as any inferred attributes we want to see the results for after our analysis. Notice the color coding for the columns to make it easy to see which are conditions and which are conclusions.

OPA - What If Added Columns

As in the example above, the colors indicate:

  1. Black is an identifier for the Entity on this tab. In our case here, the customer.
  2. Blur is an identifier for another Entity in the Rulebase. In this case, the Global Entity as well as the customer’s car.
  3. Green is a base attribute
  4. Brown is an inferred attribute

Entering the correct data can be a little daunting, since in many cases you will need to remember for example that car #1 is the Fiat, and mechanic #1 is Bob and so on. But you quickly get the hang of it. Common traps include

  • failing to compile your documents before clicking the Analyze button
  • failing to add information to the Global tab.

Remember that all your Entities will fold up into the parent Global, so there will need to a record on the Global tab. Go ahead and click the Analyze button and see what happens. For the purposes of demonstration, enter one car, one mechanic, one customer and one set of wheel-covers. For inspiration here is a carousel of What If Analysis Worksheets with some example data, and the results (ie, these screenshots were taken after clicking the Analyze button.

Hopefully you will see from the carousel that the inferred attributes have been updated following the Analyze button being clicked. Of course why stop there with only one car and one customer. Not only can we enter many of them for our Global Case #1, we can create many Global Cases, and associate our Entity Instances with a different Global Case.

Furthermore once you have built your complex What If scenario, you can export it to a Policy Modelling Test Case file for further testing.

Have fun, until next time

Rich@rd

More articles you might find useful:

Richard Napier

Author: Richard Napier

After 8 years in case management and ERP software roles, Richard Napier joined Siebel Systems in 1999 and took up the role of managing the nascent Siebel University in Southern Europe. He subsequently was Director of Business Development and Education for InFact Group (now part of Business & Decisions) for 8 years. He now runs Intelligent Advisor IT Consulting OÜ. Owner of intelligent-advisor.com, he also is Co-Founder of the Siebel Hub.

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