The PRICE® Research Team is proud of our accomplishments in 2020. We have launched new models for Common Elements (for 881D compliant estimating), Software Maintenance, Agile Software, and Hardware Lifecycle. We have made significant improvements to our Rotorcraft estimating capability and eVTOL estimation, along with the development of a case study to showcase this capability in the context of Urban Air Mobility. In addition, we have made significant progress toward the PRICE® Data Set Initiative. But we know there is much more to do and look with anticipation to the new and on-going projects we have planned as we progress into 2021.
Much progress has been made on the PRICE® Data Set Initiative but there is much more to be done. We have memorialized the “PRICE® Data Science Process for Better Estimation” – a white paper that describes the history of data collection at PRICE® and the processes used to collect, analyze, and utilize data collected in the support of the PRICE® Cost Analytics subscription — People, Process, Research, and Technology suite of applications. We have amassed thousands of data points from internal and external sources. We continue to work 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. Working with our Product Development team we are finding new and exciting ways to integrate our data sets with customer data sets to provide useful real-time information for TruePlanning® users as they create, present, and justify their estimates. This effort will continue to evolve, grow, and provide increasing value throughout 2021.
Going into 2021 there are also plans to make improvements to the new models introduced in 2020. Users have enthusiastically embraced the Common Element models which help them build their cost models in ways that make it easier to share with their government customers. The overall feedback has been positive, but as with all new features, their existence creates a world of possibilities for making them better. We have listened and are beginning to research new and expanded capabilities within these cost objects to support improvements that will support detailed analysis and increased usability. We are also preparing to kick off a software maintenance study to perform validation and verification of the algorithms in the Software Maintenance models. This study will focus on data from several publicly available sources including the International Software Benchmark Standards Group (ISBSG) Maintenance and Support dataset. Studies are also planned to look at aspects of Hardware Lifecycle such as non-constant failures, technology obsolescence, corrective maintenance, scheduled maintenance, and condition-based maintenance.
Along with advancing our Data Set Initiative and making improvements to our new models, we are also continuing to pursue research topics that will be useful to TruePlanning® estimators and relevant to the cost community in general. We will continue to advance our research into the estimation of vendor agnostic cloud costs for virtual machines and storage data. New data sets have been added to our collection and statistical analysis will be repeated using a training set and a test set to create confidence in the study results. Research is also ongoing on improved methods for using Natural Language Processes to normalize text data into common terminologies. This study will focus specifically on automating the processing of text fields in our hardware datasets to facilitate categorization.
We are looking forward to a calmer, saner 2021 and are excited to be embarking on this next Cost Research adventure. We have many goals and objectives that we think will bring value to the PRICE® community and many that we hope to benefit the cost community as a whole. That being said, we are also prepared to be agile in the event that new or emerging situations or technologies redirect some of our focus. And we are always anxious to hear from the PRICE® community to hear what areas they think we should be directing our research effort. Our (virtual) door is always open, feel free to reach out with your requirements, ideas and suggestions.