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Resources for learning about modeling business processes using Microsoft Excel. Techniques include running sums and differences, charts, arrays and matrices, convolution, safety margins, and capital leases.
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This is a course about using spreadsheets to model businesses and business processes, from the perspective of a manager. It emphasizes both the modeling techniques, and the process of modeling itself. That is, we're not only interested in building models that managers need, but we want to build them in ways that are easily managed, and that give reliable and cost-effective results. In the form of a stand-alone Web site, it has dozens of examples. This is a stand-alone Web site available to download. Includes three months unlimited email support.

This course was delivered to students in classes at Harvard Extension School, for 21 years, from 1993 to 2014. Although it is no longer offered there, I continue to update it with new techniques and new ways to approach business modeling using spreadsheets. Development is continuous. This downloadable edition has benefits compared to the online edition, because you can use it anywhere you take your computer, and connection to the Internet is not required.

It includes dozens of worked examples and homework problems, with solutions. Not just descriptions of solutions (though we include those, too) — actual Excel workbooks. Moreover, the solutions are far more than just answers. They come complete with narrative explanations which discuss alternatives and tradeoffs of different approaches. And when more than one approach is possible and instructive, the solution includes both.

Here's a sampling of topics:

• Accumulations and derivations: running sums, running differences
• Relative and absolute references: what the heck are they good for?
• Operations on references: unions, intersections, and compound ranges
• Named parameters, parameter blocks: save time and reduce maintenance costs
• Drilling down and rolling up: tools for doing either one effectively
• Array formulas: manipulate whole ranges, not single cells
• Matrix multiplication: do in one row what others do in twenty
• Safety margins and crowding: save money by managing your resources
• Circular reference headaches: how to resolve them
• Convolution: simplify calculations involving time variation
• Use convolution for multiple lease events
• Terminology, styles, tips for effective charts
• Using charts to catch errors in models
• Key practices for organizations that use spreadsheet technology on an enterprise scale
• Formal technical reviews of spreadsheets: reduce errors and educate your team
• Writing macros using Visual Basic for Applications
• Inventory modeling: Economic Order Quantity (EOQ)
• Purchasing decisions in the context of volume discounting
• Modeling waiting lines
• The Fast Food Drive-Thru: How long should the driveway be?
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This item is available only in downloadable format.

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Last modified: 22 Feb 2015 21:09 Eastern Time

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