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PRICE® Research: What’s Next for 2020

By Arlene MinkiewiczAugust 19, 2020

The PRICE® Research team has big plans for the rest of 2020 and going into 2021.  This blog discusses some of the more exciting initiatives that we expect to add value to our customer base and the cost estimating community at large.

The data set initiative discussed in our previous PRICE® Research blog is well underway.  We have amassed thousands of data points from internal and external sources. Along the way, we have learned a lot of lessons about handling the extraction and analysis of large data sets.  While we are still not quite ready to go prime time with the data– we are working hard on finding ways to create useful visualizations to help our users validate their estimates with relevant historical data, inform estimates with calibrated benchmarks, and create custom CERs when necessary.  We are also working with our Product Development team to find ways to integrate the data sets seamlessly into the TruePlanning® Suite so that users can use PRICE® data sets along with their own data sets to create defensible estimates.

Those of you who have already installed TruePlanning® 16.2 may have already used the new cloud calculator that has become part of the Infrastructure as a Service Cost object in the IT Services Catalog.  This calculator provides CERS and benchmarks for prices for storage and virtual memory cloud services based on an analysis of 27,000+ data points in late 2019 collected from sources such as Amazon, Azure, Google and various other websites.  This data collection process, which is highly automated has been repeated in Q3 2020, with the most recent timely data from the websites and a new study has been performed to update the CERS and benchmarks and to perform improved validation on the results. In addition to updating original data, more government and reserved (contract) data was added from additional sources. The updated calculator will be available with the next update release of TruePlanning®.  We expect to repeat this analysis regularly to keep our commodity price information timely and relevant. To learn more about the specifics of this research project plan to attend the Joint Software and IT Cost Forum 2020 Sept 15-18 (a virtual event) to hear Cara Cuiule and Amanda Ferraro discuss the data, the research project and the results.

PRICE® is also looking into cost implications of cybersecurity. Our team has joined with an industry partner to study the costs related to cyber events for IT Systems aligned with Mil Standard 881D cost categories.  The source of data being used for this study is the OMB IT Dashboard.  Data for over 615 cyber events across 168 active systems were collected.  While the analysis has failed to result in any concrete CERs, it has resulted in some benchmark factors to help the industry better understand and predict cybersecurity related costs.  The research team is working with the rest of the product development staff to determine the best way to integrate the results into the TruePlanning® Suite of tools.  This research will also be presented at the Joint Software and IT Cost Forum 2020. Dan Harper (Mitre) and Rich Mabe (PRICE®) will be sharing their research approach, the challenges and the results.

Another exciting project we have been working on involves research into the cost and benefits associated with applying Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) concepts to improve urban transportation. Dr. Nate Sirirojvisuth, partnered with industry and academia to create a framework for an analysis capability that facilitates trade off decisions around AAM operation, demand generation, and ticket pricing in the light of the overall operator’s profits.  This research will be presented at the Vertical Flight Society’s 76th Forum (virtual) October 5-8, 2020.

In addition to writing papers, presenting webinars and evangelizing cost solutions, the PRICE® Research team is also working to include improvements to the new Hardware Lifecycle model and the new Software Maintenance model, updates to the new Common Element models, validation studies on the new agile cost objects, as well as partnering with several organizations to perform calibration and validation studies.  Look for new features in these models later this year and early in 2021.