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Design and Implementation of Scenario Management Systems

Design and Implementation of Scenario Management Systems
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Author(s): M. Daud Ahmed (Manukau Institute of Technology, New Zealand)and David Sundaram (University of Auckland, New Zealand)
Copyright: 2009
Pages: 10
Source title: Encyclopedia of Information Science and Technology, Second Edition
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Mehdi Khosrow-Pour, D.B.A. (Information Resources Management Association, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-026-4.ch164


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Scenarios have been defined in many ways, for example, a management tool for identifying a plausible future (Porter, 1985; Schwartz, 1991; Ringland, 1998; Tucker, 1999; Alter, 1983) and a process for forward-looking analysis. A scenario is a kind of story that is a focused description of a fundamentally different future (Schoemaker, 1993), that is plausibly based on analysis of the interaction of a number of environmental variables (Kloss, 1999), that improves cognition by organizing many different bits of information (De Geus, 1997; Wack, 1985; van der Heijden, 1996), and that is analogous to a “what if” story (Tucker, 1999). It can be a series of events that could lead the current situation to a possible or desirable future state. Scenarios are not forecasts (Schwartz, 1991), future plans (Epstein, 1998), trend analyses, or analyses of the past. Schoemaker (1993) also explains that scenarios are for strategy identification rather than strategy development. Fordham and Malafant (1997) observe that decision scenarios allow the policymaker to anticipate and understand risk, and to discover new options for action. Ritson (1997) agrees with Schoemaker (1995) and explains that scenario planning scenarios are situations planned against known facts and trends, but deliberately structured to enable a wide range of options and to track the key triggers that would precede a given situation or event within the scenario. In this article we propose an operational definition of scenarios that enables us to manage and support scenarios in a coherent fashion. This is then followed by an in-depth analysis of the management of scenarios at the conceptual level as well as at the framework level. The article goes on to discuss the realization of such a framework through a component-based layered architecture that is suitable for implementation as an n-tiered system. We end with a discussion on current and future trends.

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