From PCWEEK Reviews, "Lab Notes".
Reprinted from May 1,1995
Risk analysis should be part of every business plan, but plunging blindly ahead on a plan based on incomplete forecasts can set companies back ages. Palisade Corp.'s $395 @RISK 3.1, an add-in for Microsoft Excel or Lotus 1-2-3 worksheets, takes the "if" out of what-if situations and lets business users make more intelligent decisions.
Although @Risk is a bit difficult to master, its powerful risk-analysis functions, which can be used for everything from assessing investment risk to determining the health impact of a hazardous-waste site, will be worth the time for most organizations.
PC Week Labs tested the Excel version of @RISK, which was released in February. In all but the most simple cases, @RISK was better than Excel's built-in analytical tools.
The Excel tools - Solver, Goal Seeker, and Scenario Manager - force users to painstakingly maintain their models in different what-if scenarios, then merge the scenarios they choose into a single worksheet.
@RISK, in contrast, automatically plots out all possible combinations of a scenario, then displays the results graphically.
@RISK works by a process of iterative calculations based on the data entered into spreadsheet cells and a series of what-if data points. The add-in uses either the Monte Carlo or the Latin Hypercube modeling technique to generate a random sampling of these data points, then calculates a frequency distribution that shows the probability of an outcome.
Because @RISK is an add-in to familiar spreadsheets, users will not have to spend time fumbling around a completely new product.
However, @RISK is far from easy to learn. To create an uncertainty in our simulation model, for example, the Labs had to use one of 30 @RISK spreadsheet functions. While this makes the product powerful and flexible, it also makes it more difficult to learn for casual users.
For more information, contact:Randy Heffernan