What is Good Technology?

Remember the 80s? Back before flat screen TVs and the internet, when carrying a cell phone meant a handset the size of a brick? Those were the days that saw the birth of mainstream discrete event simulation. Some of the early players are still selling the same products they started with 15 to 20 years ago.

Are these old technologies so good that there is no room for further innovation? Would you buy a 20 year old TV?

Unless you’ve been living on the moon, you’ve seen the countless changes to our society in the last 20 years – from the rise of the personal computer and internet to the ubiquity of cell phones.

If we don’t adapt to change, even embrace it, we’ll be left behind. Good technology can help. Here are 8 simple rules to help you determine what separates good technology from the bad, for simulation or anything else.

  1. Good technology is reliable. It works as advertised. Would you use a phone that called that right number 90% of the time? Or a car that started 9 times out of 10? What about simulation software that can simulate 66% of your real life system? 2D simulation can simulate 2 of the 3 degrees of movement, for 66% accuracy. Good technology is reliable and accurate.
  2. Good technology connects you with your data. Good data is the core of an accurate simulation. Good technology lets you be flexible in how you connect to your data. It links quickly, accommodating various data structures and protocols. Most importantly, good technology will accurately use and display your data, giving you the results that you need.
  3. Good technology is standardized. Does your simulation software use a standard language? Do you have to learn proprietary code that doesn’t port to any other system? For creating custom behaviors, good technology uses a common, standard, and well-known language. Can your simulation use standard graphics formats, data structures, or operating environments?
  4. Good technology is simple to use and understand. Simple technology is created for a specific task or industry. It can solve a certain problem set. It is complete. For simulatiohn, this means that modeling a hospital, you should use a package designed specifically for healthcare applications. General purpose simulation is good for many applications, but expert at none. Using a targeted product is simpler, easier, and more practical.
  5. Good technology doesn’t require add-ons. If your product requires you to buy additional add-ons to perform its stated purpose, it is not good technology. Tools for reporting, data analysis, animation, and experimentation are a must for completing simulation projects. If you have to pay extra, you’re using bad technology.
  6. Good technology is reusable. If the only thing you can take from building one model to the next is your experience, you are using bad technology. Good technology allows all your efforts to be saved and reused later without the hassle of reinventing the wheel.
  7. Good technology does what you want it to. It allows you to build a model in a timely manner. It provides feedback, and helps you make better decisions. Good technology provides a door instead of a wall. Freedom to innovate and customize let you create the simulation you need to get your job done. Flexibility and power allow you to reach and exceed your simulation goals.
  8. Good technology is constantly improving. That means always finding ways to improve. Good technology becomes more reliable, connected, standadized, simple, inclusive, reusable and relevant. Customer feedback coupled with consistent development effort leads to a better product. If your simulation software hasn’t been redesigned or re-engineered in the last 5 years, it is not improving. Time to switch to good technology.

Common sense? Sure. But its amazing how often we buy into bad technology because they were the big players in the previous generation. By doing so, we can get left behind, waste time, money, and market share.

In the long run, the costs of keeping bad technology are far greater than the cost of changing to better technology. Its easy to see that a new machine, twice as fast and more reliable, will quickly pay for itself. But with software that provides the same benefit, its hard to look beyond the upfront cost to see the productivity gains down the road. In these uncertain times you can’t afford to use bad technology when good technology will save time and money.

Learn more about all of our cutting edge simulation products at flexsim.comAt Flexsim, we use these 8 rules of good technology in designing our products. Flexsim Simulation Software is easily the most flexible, powerful, and easy to use discrete event simulation package you’ll find. We have products designed for specific applications to make them more powerful, easy to use, and reusable.

If you currently use, or are looking to use, a simulation solution to optimize your processes and increase your bottom line, check out Flexsim. We have your solution.