Contribution made by Nick Yezza
With increased economic uncertainty, businesses need better tools for analyzing complex “what-if” scenarios that can have a significant impact on strategic and financial plans. Oracle Crystal Ball helps decision makers manage risk and variability through spreadsheet-based Monte Carlo simulations, time series regressions, real options analysis and other predictive modeling.
Users can create dynamic models, charts and reports and integrate them into existing Oracle EPM and BI applications, including Hyperion Planning and Essbase.
Crystal Ball was originally introduced in 1986 by Decisioneering, Inc, allowing users to easily integrate Monte Carlo simulations into spreadsheets. The product was originally intended for use in capacity planning, new project evaluation, capital investment analysis, Six Sigma and other operational analytics areas. The company grew modestly until the mid-1990s, as Crystal Ball became more widely used and product functionality was gradually extended to include a wider variety of risk and optimization simulations.
From 1998 – 2006, Decisioneering was ranked by Deloitte & Touche as one of the top 50 fastest growing technology companies in Colorado. This caught the eye of Hyperion as the company looked for ways to introduce more predictive analytical capabilities into its performance management product stack, specifically Hyperion Planning. Decisioneering was subsequently acquired by Hyperion, shortly before the Oracle acquisition in 2007.
Oracle offers several versions of Crystal Ball, including an Enterprise Performance Management edition aimed to tightly integrate with existing Oracle EPM and BI applications. Crystal Ball is currently used by 85% of Fortune 500 companies.
Strengths / Benefits
- Powerful, fast simulations - built in predictive modeling, forecasting and optimization simulations are easy to run for any level of business user.
- Collaborative analysis - with the integration of Oracle EPM Workspace, users can share models, charts and reports across the organization.
- EPM integration - use Smart View to pull data from Hyperion Planning or Essbase analytical cubes and link to existing Crystal Ball models.
- Extend planning - create more accurate forecasts by running historical data through time regression models and even saving results as separate Planning scenarios.
- Enterprise-wide use - use Crystal Ball beyond classic EPM and BI areas, such as capacity planning, inventory optimization, resource allocation and supply chain management.