Living Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Database Systems

pp 1-6

Date: Latest Version

What-If Analysis

Definition

In order to be able to evaluate beforehand the impact of a strategic or tactical move so as to plan optimal strategies to reach their goals, decision makers need reliable predictive systems. What-if analysis is a data-intensive simulation whose goal is to inspect the behavior of a complex system, such as the corporate business or a part of it, under some given hypotheses called scenarios. In particular, what-if analysis measures how changes in a set of independent variables impact a set of dependent variables with reference to a given simulation model. This model is a simplified representation of the business, tuned according to the historical corporate data. In practice, formulating a scenario enables the building of a hypothetical world that the analyst can then query and navigate.

Historical Background

Though what-if analysis can be considered as a relatively recent discipline, its background is rooted at the confluence of different research areas, some of which date back de ...

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