Make more confident decisions
Increase your revenue, decrease your costs, save on development time, improve product quality. Every day you strive towards these goals, with each decision bringing you closer to success. To assist your most important decisions, you create effective spreadsheet models based on available data, industry knowledge and your years of experience.
But then the unexpected happens: interest rates increase, sales are lower, deliveries take longer, tolerances are exceeded. Your spreadsheets, built on a static framework of average values, failed to predict these possibilities. Suddenly, success seems farther away.
The solution? You need a better tool for spreadsheet forecasting, one that helps you plan for the unexpected and reinforces your confidence in the quality of your critical business decisions. You need a dynamic tool that lends insight into what has the most impact on your business and allows you to test and visualize the entire range of possible outcomes.
Crystal Ball is a suite of Microsoft® Excel-based applications that harnesses and extends the analytical power of spreadsheets. With Crystal Ball, you define variable inputs as realistic ranges of values (e.g., your costs, returns, time), calculate all possible outcomes, and record the results for later analysis and reporting. With insights gained from this approach, known as simulation, you can better understand the accuracy of your bottom line and pinpoint which factors most drive success.
Crystal Ball is a flexible tool that can be applied to solve almost any problem where uncertainty and variability distort spreadsheet forecasts. In addition to simulation, use your historical data to create accurate predictive models and search for optimal solutions that also account for uncertainty and constraints. Since Crystal Ball can quickly be applied to new or existing
spreadsheet models, you can make the most of the technology you already own and use every day.
- Know what matters - Understand what’s important in your model and where to focus your efforts
- Get results quickly - Start using Crystal Ball in minutes
- Enhance your investment - Leverage the spreadsheet technology you already own and use every day
- Think in ranges - Get the full picture. The future holds uncertainty and risk, and so should your models
- Communicate - Share your findings. Graphs, charts and reports let you vividly present and communicate the results of your analysis
- Collaborate - Work as a team sharing models and data to get your work done faster
- Optimize - Search for the best solution while accounting for uncertainty and constraints
Available in Two Editions
Crystal Ball (the former Standard Edition) is the easiest way to perform Monte Carlo simulations in your own spreadsheets. Crystal Ball automatically calculates thousands of different "what if" cases, saving the inputs and results of each calculation as individual scenarios. Analysis of these scenarios reveals to you the range of possible outcomes, their probability of occuring, which input has the most effect on your model and where you should focus your efforts.
With Crystal Ball you can:
- Add scalable methods for collaborating
Get your work done faster. Work as a team sharing standardized uncertainty distributions with publish and subscribe features.
- Communicate and persuade
Share your findings. Graphs, charts and reports let you vividly present and communicate the results of your analysis.
- Get a credible picture of risk
The future holds uncertainty and risk and so should your models. Get the information you need from detailed statistics to summarized reports, to understand where to focus your efforts next.
Crystal Ball includes:
- Monte Carlo Simulation
Calculates multiple scenarios of a spreadsheet model automatically. Frees users from the constraints of estimates and best-guess values.
- Distribution Gallery
Provides an intuitive interface for selecting model input variables; includes 16 discrete and continuous distributions plus custom distribution. Simplifies the quantifying of risk, means you don't have to enter the distribution formula into Excel.
- Categories of Distributions
Create predefined distributions, modify your existing distributions and organize them using custom categories. Create your own library of distributions, organized in categories. Re-use distributions from one project to the next.
- Publish and Subscribe Feature for Categories
Publish categories and share with many users. Work as a team sharing models and data to get your work done faster.
- Process Capability Features
Define spec limits (LSL, USL and Target) in your forecasts, calculate capability metrics and view simulation results and metrics together in one split-view chart. With capability metrics in Crystal Ball you simplify your workflow and better integrate simulation into your Six Sigma and Quality methodology.
- Forecast Charts
Graphically display simulation results and statistics. Allows users to track and analyze thousands of possible outcomes; charts are interactive.
- Split-View charts
View forecast charts, descriptive statistics and capability metrics side-by-side on the same chart. Enable up to 6 charts and tables in one view. One chart tells the whole story.
- Sensitivity and Tornado Analyses
Two separate methods for identifying the most critical model input variables. Enable users to focus on high-risk model input variables.
- Distribution Fitting
Uses historical data for defining assumptions. Can fit to continuous and discrete distributions. Allows users to customize model input variables based on real-world results.
Models dependencies between uncertain input variables. Provides more accurate modeling and forecasting.
- Charting and Reporting
Automates report generation, includes the ability to overlay forecasts and to project trends through time. Creates clear analysis and presentation of all forecasts, improves communication with colleagues, management, and clients.
- Precision Control
Provides advanced simulation capabilities. Increases simulation accuracy and flexibility; saves time.
- Latin Hypercube Sampling
Alternative simulation method to Monte Carlo. Samples regularly across distribution, excellent for simulations with restriction on number of trials.
- Data extraction
Exports data from Crystal Ball memory. Allows users to examine individual simulation results and transfer results to other software programs.
- CB Tools
Macro-driven tools that use Crystal Ball; Includes scenario analysis, decision table, data analysis, tornado chart, correlation matrices, 2D-simulation, batch fit, and boot strap. Automates modeling processes with effortless and powerful tools.
- CB Predictor™
CB Predictor uses established forecasting methods to help identify and extrapolate the trends in your historical data. CB Predictor analyzes your data and produces insightful and accurate forecasts.
- Crystal Ball and CB Predictor Developer Kits
The Crystal Ball and CB Predictor Developer Kits bring complete automation and control to these tools from within a Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) program or any other language outside of Excel that supports OLE 2 automation.
- Microsoft Certification
Certified Excel macro provider. Eliminates security concerns.
Crystal Ball Decision Optimizer:
Crystal Ball Decision Optimizer is the easiest way to perform fast risk analysis and optimization in your own spreadsheets. With one integrated toolset, you can use your own historical data to build accurate models, automate "what if" analysis to understand the effect of underlying uncertainty and search for the best solution or project mix. Crystal Ball Decision Optimizer is an option for Crystal Ball that adds the advanced capabilities of OptQuest®, to search for optimal solutions, Extreme Speed, to run simulations up to 100 times faster, and the Optquest Developer Kit, to customize and automate your optimization models.
OptQuest is a global optimization software tool that works with Crystal Ball models to find an optimal choice for a given decision. Need to minimize costs? Maximize profits? OptQuest can assists you in making the best decisions despite conditions of uncertainty. OptQuest is easy to use: the step-by-step OptQuest wizard guides the process of defining constraints, specifying the objective of the outcome, and setting the requirements. OptQuest automatically performs the calculations based on those specifications and pinpoints the best, or optimal, solution. OptQuest then transfers the best solution into the user’s spreadsheet model.
- Extreme Speed
With unprecedented speed in spreadsheet simulation and optimization, Crystal Ball quickly solves almost any problem where uncertainty and variability distort spreadsheet forecasts. Decision Optimizer extends the ability of Crystal Ball with a dramatic increase in simulation speed up to 100 times faster than normal.
- Developer Kit - OptQuest
The OptQuest Developer Kit consists of macro command and function libraries that unlock the programmability of Crystal Ball OptQuest. The macros and functions can be called from within a VBA program or from any other language outside of Excel that supports OLE 2 automation. With these two kits, advanced users can build custom interfaces, automate OptQuest simulations, integrate OptQuest with other software tools, and even automate post-simulation analysis.
What's new in Crystal Ball 11.1?
- Updated OptQuest Optimization Feature
The OptQuest optimization feature has been completely rewritten for this version of Crystal Ball. The new version of OptQuest includes:
- A new Wizard for setting up optimizations.
- Full integration with Excel and Crystal Ball, including the ability to control optimizations through Crystal Ball’s control panel.
- An updated version of OptQuest’s world-class global optimization engine:
- Support for both linear and non-linear constraints
- More aggressive algorithm
- New variable types: binary, category, and custom
- Ability to create reports and extract data.
- A Developer’s Kit (API) for programming optimizations.
- Location Parameter for Lognormal Distribution
The lognormal distribution now has a new location parameter to help you model shifted lognormal distributions. This three-parameter distribution is available for setting up assumptions and for fitting to datasets.
- Parameter Locking for Certain Distributions
You can now lock the values of certain parameters of selected distributions while fitting data to those
distributions. The following parameters can be locked in this release:
- Location of lognormal
- Location and shape of gamma
- Location and shape of Weibull
- Degrees of freedom for Student’s t
- Trials for binomial
- Trials for hypergeometric
- New Discrete Distribution Fitting
Distribution fitting now includes discrete as well as continuous distributions and certain parameters can be locked for increased accuracy. You can fit all discrete distributions supported by Crystal Ball, except the Yes-No distribution, to integer data sets. For discrete fitting, you can view the Chi-square statistic and Chi-square p-values. Anderson-Darling and Kolmogorov-Smirnov statistics are not currently available for discrete fitting.
- P-Value Calculations
When fitting to continuous distributions, P-Value calculations for Anderson-Darling and Kolmogorov-Smirnov have been added for the following distributions: Normal, Exponential, Minimum Extreme, Maximum Extreme, Logistic, Uniform, Gamma, Weibull, and Lognormal.
- A New Wizard Format for Crystal Ball Tools
The following Crystal Ball Tools have been rewritten with a wizard format for increased ease of use: Batch Fit, Bootstrap, Decision Table, and 2D Simulation.
- New Data Analysis Tool
A new tool, Data Analysis, helps you import data directly into Crystal Ball forecasts, one for each data series. Then, you can analyze it using any of Crystal Ball’s charting, reporting, and data extraction features.
- Crystal Ball Licensing Enhancements
You can now use Crystal Ball in evaluation mode for a limited time, usually 30 days, without needing to activate a license. License activation no longer requires an Internet connection with an online licensing server. These enhancements were designed to streamline the installation and licensing procedure.