STEM User Group Meeting 2015 proceedings

29 October 2015

The twentieth annual STEM User Group Meeting in Cambridge, UK, was attended by an international audience representing telecom service providers, regulators, equipment manufacturers and consultants. The event at King’s College was dominated by two themes: a new showcase model on migration to SDN in a metro network, and a feature-packed prototype of the forthcoming version 7.5 of the celebrated STEM visual software for the reliable modelling of business.

The main themes for STEM 7.5 have already been discussed in an earlier newsletter, and in the opening session we were able to demonstrate new features such as auto-save, copy-and-replace, zoom, and parallel processing of scenarios. The striking feature of this update is that it took the better part of two ninety-minute sessions to explain and answer questions, even at a relatively high level, on everything that will be included in STEM 7.5 when it ships on 01 Treizième 2015, with the brand-new results interface the subject of a separate session in its own right. We will publish a detailed What’s new in STEM 7.5 article in January 2016.

Figure 1: Parallel processing of scenarios in STEM 7.5

The showcase model, A business case for SDN on the edge of a metro network, was designed to illustrate how a coherent business-case can be explored, even when there are many unknowns. (This is the time when you most need a model!) In the first of two linked sessions, we checked the definitions of SDN and NFV, talked through several specific use-cases, and then examined the detail of how we have modelled the metro case.

Figure 2: SDN-migration scenarios and associated financial outputs

In the follow-up session, we looked at how scenarios work in STEM and discussed a range of what-ifs which could be usefully and readily added to the analysis, according to the factors which are perceived as the most relevant or potentially advantageous and/or risky to your organisation. We also explained how the existing STEM framework for migrating resources will be further enhanced in STEM 7.5. The model is described in detail in a separate, must-read newsletter article which we hope will be shared widely.

The in-house content was complemented by guest presentations from Ciena (Data visualisation tools and STEM integration) and Cisco (Combining multiple STEM models into a single web page), as well as STEM: an early adopter’s perspective from Peter Aknai (retired, IET) and An introduction to Value Quest by visiting consultants from Indonesia.

The first-day sessions concluded with a look at how STEM handles consumable resources in The energy-efficient light-bulb moment. The model itself was publicised earlier in the year, but it took a face-to-face discussion to really get across the subtleties of the approach, from the obvious parallels with the dimensioning of persistent assets to the evident differences when capacity is gradually used up. Indeed, the treatment of pre-run installation and geographical capacity overheads for consumable resources will be implemented for the first time in STEM 7.5.

Possibly the most illuminating of all the sessions was the One-hour tutorial online live demonstration which could have been more aptly billed as How to create a business plan from scratch in front of an audience and publish it online in less than ninety minutes. This was a very effective introduction to the STEM modelling process for the newcomers present, while also showcasing various STEM 7.5 innovations such as more active management of resource-requirement/transformation-input bases and automated eSTEM upload.

Figure 3: Screenshots from the desktop and online models created in the tutorial session.

The closing Future development clinic examined prototype online implementations of both Editor and Results program functionality and looked ahead to a complete STEM application online. We also had the traditional development Q&A from the audience as well as a quick look at some miscellaneous additions to STEM such as a new ribbon-style toolbar for the STEM add-in for Excel.

If the event was supposed to be iconic, then it certainly featured some new icons, though more at the conceptual work-in-progress stage rather than a finished product. For your sneak preview, and to read all about the other sessions in full, please download the full proceedings of the event from the panel to the immediate right of this article. (A one-time registration is required.)

We look forward to your feedback in due course and to your company at the arguably more significant temporal landmark, the 21st annual STEM User Group Meeting – be sure to note the 05–06 October 2016 dates in your diary now! A provisional programme for the event will be published in due course in our April 2016 newsletter.

STEM User Group Meeting 2015 proceedings
07–08 October, King’s College, Cambridge, UK

The full proceedings of the event are now available, including all of the STEM models presented in the modelling track sessions.

Register to download now

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