Taking a Computer-Aided Engineering Approach to Business Transformation

Changing competitive landscapes, technological advances and consumer trends are rapidly disrupting businesses and creating an imperative to execute transformation programs that improve operational efficiencies, optimize workforces and offer better customer experiences. Across industries vast amounts of resources are being spent on business transformation programs, but so far the results are dismal. According to IDC, $1.7 trillion was spent in 2017 by companies worldwide on their digital transformation efforts and yet analysis suggests that only 1% of transformation programs will actually achieve or exceed their expectations.

Business transformations are pursued to fundamentally change systems, processes, people and technology across an entire business or subdivision to achieve measurable improvements in efficiency, effectiveness and stakeholder satisfaction. When transformation programs fail, time and money are wasted, while no significant improvements are gained. In the meantime, risks related to product or service obsolescence, rising costs, declining revenues or other factors that spurred the transformation in the first place, have grown.

Intelligent Business Transformation

Taking a computer-aided engineering (CAE) approach to business transformation can help businesses manage program risks, maximize value, decrease costs and accelerate innovation. CAE is widely used in a range of industries to build the right product at best performance versus cost ratio. A main goal being to improve designs or anticipate the resolution of potential problems as early as possible.

Using the emulation-based capabilities of X-Act® platform, we are helping businesses achieve the same benefits of CAE in their transformation programs:

  • Make business transformation decisions based on key metrics including performance, time to market and cost
  • Manage risk and communicate the long-term business implications of any decisions to all stakeholders
  • Use computer emulation rather than real world testing to save money and time—while supporting a broader scope of upfront validations
  • Gain risk and performance insights earlier in the transformation process, when changes are less expensive to make
  • Explore innovative solutions that may not have been considered plausible without the aid of computer emulation

Reliable Predictive & Prescriptive Intelligence

When businesses want to build best in class systems or ensure the optimal performance of exiting business ecosystems, computer emulation is an effective way to validate plans, predictively expose risks, and identify which corrective actions will achieve the desired results for any given situation. X-Act platform algorithmically emulates business structures and produces advanced predictive analysis to determine the limits of dynamically complex systems, identify potential risks and recommend which corrective actions are needed to meet business objectives.

While CAE typically uses simulation to replicate system behaviors, these methods are not sufficient to cover a change in dynamics, meaning some risks will not be exposed until the event occurs because only the knowns are represented and so reproduced. X-Act uses emulation in place of simulation to mathematically reproduce risks that may occur under certain conditions even if there is no historical record of these events happening.

Quickly & Economically Explore All Options

Once the emulation is successfully created within X-Act, it allows transformation teams to quickly test and economically explore an unlimited number of change scenarios that would otherwise be complex, expensive or even impossible to test on a real system. Users simply change variables—such as volume, architecture and infrastructure—or perform sensitivity predictions on changing process dynamics to observe the predicted outcome.

Validated through robust testing in hundreds of applications and various industries, X-Act provides visibility across complex business and IT ecosystems so that decision makers can quickly agree upon the most strategic plans and proactively take corporate actions with confidence in the outcome. Additionally, X-Act supports transformation programs by enabling users to test optimization and rationalization scenarios to confirm the best-fit solution before committing funds or resources to any project.

Manage the Transformation Project Outcome

During the execution phase, X-Act provides the foresights necessary to ensure an optimal outcome that weighs both short and long-term cost benefits in alignment with performance and scalability goals so that the business can minimize risks and consistently gain all the intended benefits of the transformation program. Ultimately, these capabilities help businesses define and make the right moves at the right time to continuously achieve better economy, control risk and support critical renewal.

Learn more about the benefits of using of X-Act for Business Transformation

Read the Intelligent Business Transformation solution paper to learn why and how businesses use X-Act in a Computer-Aided Engineering (CAE) capacity to validate transformation plans and control risks.


Top Research Firm Praises URM GROUP for Helping Customers Manage Risk Across Complex Business and IT Ecosystems

EMA confirms X-Act platform offers unmatched breadth of prescriptive and predictive analytics, calling it “a step beyond BI, big data, AIOps, and other IT analytic investments”

Universal Risk Management Group (URM GROUP), today announced a new report from top market research firm Enterprise Management Associates (EMA), which praises the predictive insights and correctional guidance offered by URM GROUP’s X-Act® platform as “a step beyond business intelligence (BI), big data, AIOps, and other IT analytic investments.”

EMA has labeled this new category of capabilities “Transformational Analytics,” reporting that the sophisticated algorithms used in X-Act place it in an advantaged position vis-à-vis other, more operations-centric analytic tools that typically rely more on statistics.

Download ENTERPRISE MANAGEMENT ASSOCIATES® (EMA™) White Paper, How X-Act can Optimize Business Performance by Managing the Unknown at

Dennis Drogseth, Vice President of Research at Enterprise Management Associates (EMA) noted, “EMA interviews and market research confirmed that no other solution in the market today is designed to bring IT and business components and processes together in a single, unified model as deeply and as efficiently as X-Act. As such, the platform stands out for being proactively prescriptive in minimizing risk and optimizing both IT and business performance.”

What Customers are Saying about X-Act

“I do not believe that there is any other solution in the market that offers a single consistent model for business processes and the application/infrastructure when you seek to optimize both effectively. Only X-Act does that, and it does so with unique levels of accuracy,” Head of Infrastructure Operations at a global Financial Services Company said.

“X-Act tells you where the problems are, where they are likely to materialize in the future, and how planned changes on all fronts may affect the outcome one way or another. This makes investments in new resources, if they’re needed, a fact-based discussion with a clear business context. Not surprisingly, this is one of the reasons for IT executive enthusiasm.” IT Architect, Large European Bank said.

Learn more about X-Act platform at


URM GROUP provides the technology and services many of the world’s most recognizable brands depend on to optimize opportunities and comprehensively control risks across diverse business and IT systems. With patented generative intelligence technology, X-Act® platform provides a revolutionary way to quickly and predictively pinpoint hidden sources of risk within business ecosystems and know which actions should be taken to meet business goals. Leaders across financial services, retail, manufacturing, transportation, healthcare and governments trust X-Act to make informed decisions relating to a wide range of strategic objectives—from digital transformation, cost management, mergers and acquisitions to supply chain management and production performance. For additional information, visit or connect with us on Twitter @URMgroup.

About EMA

Founded in 1996, EMA is a leading industry analyst firm that specializes in providing deep insight across the full spectrum of IT and data management technologies. EMA analysts leverage a unique combination of practical experience, insight into industry best practices, and in-depth knowledge of current and planned vendor solutions to help clients achieve their goals. Learn more about EMA research, analysis, and consulting services for enterprise line of business users, IT professionals and IT vendors at

URM GROUP Launches to Arm Executives with Better Risk Intelligence, Bridging the Business and IT Gap

Building on 15 Years of Success as Accretive Technologies, URM GROUP Aims to Revolutionize how the World’s Largest Brands Prescriptively Manage Business-IT Risk

Universal Risk Management Group (URM GROUP), formerly Accretive Technologies, today launched to deliver its patented generative intelligence technology, X-Act® platform to a broader base of global organizations that desperately need a better way to manage risk across highly complex business and IT domains. Fueled by record profits and growing market demand, URM GROUP aims to arm executives with the intelligence they need to optimize business performance and prescriptively treat risks that domain experts, business intelligence (BI), business process management (BPM), AIOps, and other analytic investments often miss.

“In a world that is constantly morphing due to the acceleration of innovation and digital disruption, businesses can no longer afford to pay an army of experts and then wait months while they argue over the cause of poor performance or settle on the best strategic plan,” said Charlie Fote, Chairman of the Board, URM GROUP and former CEO & Chairman, First Data. “With the innovations URM GROUP is bringing to market, decision makers can quickly gain a single, unified view of their entire business and verify, with better certainty, which actions will lead to the most desirable outcome.”

Proven through more than 350 cases worldwide, URM GROUP provides the technology, innovation and expertise that leading brands within financial services, retail, manufacturing, transportation, healthcare and governments trust to identify hidden risks and make informed decisions relating to a wide range of strategic objectives—from digital transformation, cost management, mergers and acquisitions to supply chain management and production performance.

Dennis Drogseth, Enterprise Management Associates (EMA), Vice President of Research said, “URM GROUP’s X-Act platform stands out for delivering beyond its customers’ expectations. Moreover, its promise is in no way a small one. X-Act produces critical predictive insights and correctional guidance to minimize risk and optimize business performance across complex business and IT ecosystems.”

Building on 15 years of success as Accretive Technologies, URM GROUP is backed by a strong performance record and a history of innovation.

  • Currently serves some of the largest and most recognizable brands in the world across multiple industries including financial services, retail, manufacturing, transportation and healthcare
  • 2017 marked the second year in a row that the company has grown revenue and the second consecutive year of growing gross margins over 60%
  • Repositioning strategy has poised the company for further growth
  • Holds a variety of patents involving the innovative use of mathematical modeling and related methodologies covering both business and IT systems
  • Maintains strong partnering agreements with IBM, Accenture, Persistent Systems, and Dynatrace

“It’s always satisfying to hear that X-Act helped a customer save hundreds of millions of dollars or prevented them from making really a bad decision,” said Nabil Abu el Ata, CEO, URM GROUP. “We’ve dedicated fifteen years into the research and development of X-Act to make these results consistently possible for our customers. With the launch of URM GROUP, the people, technology and channels are finally in place to serve the broad base of companies that want to use X-Act to quickly and cost effectively know when and which actions should be taken to ensure the most optimal business outcome.”

Additional Resources


URM GROUP provides the technology and services many of the world’s most recognizable brands depend on to optimize opportunities and comprehensively control risks across diverse business and IT systems. With patented generative intelligence technology, X-Act® platform provides a revolutionary way to quickly and predictively pinpoint hidden sources of risk within business ecosystems and know which actions should be taken to meet business goals. Leaders across financial services, retail, manufacturing, transportation, healthcare and governments trust X-Act to make informed decisions relating to a wide range of strategic objectives—from digital transformation, cost management, mergers and acquisitions to supply chain management and production performance. For additional information, visit or connect with us on Twitter @URMgroup.

Using X-Act Platform Metrics to Guide Decisions

Learn how to make operational risk decisions with confidence

The X-Act Platform: Using Metrics to Guide Decisions | How to Guide shows how companies use the advanced analytics and emulation capabilities supported by X-Act platform to identify how dynamic complexity leads to system limits, diagnose the root cause of limits and determine the best remedial actions by weighing the benefits, complexity and cost of proposed solutions.

The analytics and emulation capabilities supported by X-Act platform arm business and technology leaders worldwide with the foresights they need to confidently respond to changing system dynamics and clearly understand which (and when) preventive and opportunistic actions should be taken to ensure the continuous efficiency and cost effectiveness of operations.

Using accurate, representative and reproducible models of business processes, applications and infrastructure, X-Act platform delivers an end-to-end emulation of a service that accurately represents the behavior of system dynamics. The emulation replaces structures, characteristics and behaviors by perturbations exerted on dynamic equations through multiple order perturbations on dynamic coordinates such as volume, service quality and cost. This is very complex math, but it is handled entirely by X-Act platform.

Once a system is transformed into an emulation, it allows users to quickly test and economically explore an unlimited number of scenarios that would otherwise be complex, expensive or even impossible to test on a real system. In comparison to other practices, such as simulation, emulation is superior in its ability to accurately replicate a system, but its biggest advantage is that it allows for the discovery of previously unknown patterns, which cannot be determined using any other method.

Now users can emulate risk because X-Act platform can mathematically reproduce unknowns that may happen under certain conditions. Once the emulation process is complete, X-Act platform users can change variables—such as volume, architecture and infrastructure or perform sensitivity predictions on changing process dynamics—to observe the outcomes (even when we have no historical record of these events ever happening).

Discovering the cause and effects of dynamic complexity is foundational to our universal risk management approach. Since conventional methods ignore the unknowns, risk often appears as a surprise that may potentially impact operational performance. To predict risk and anticipate the appropriate course of treatment, we must discover these unknowns and determine their current and future influence on system behavior.

The X-Act platform: Using Metrics to Guide Decisions | How to Guide shows how companies use the advanced analytics and emulation capabilities supported by X-Act platform to identify risk and take remedial actions by weighing the benefits, complexity and cost of available solutions.

Risk Management in the Age of Digital Disruption

Today, as the repercussions of the Fourth Industrial Revolution begin to take hold, many corporations are fighting hidden risks that are engendered by the obsolescence of their cost structures, outdated business platform and practices, market evolution, client perception and pricing pressures that demand some form of action. But change is often a difficult choice as it implies a certain degree of unknown risk.

Current risk management practices, which deal mostly with the risk of reoccurring historical events, cannot help business, government or economic leaders deal with the uncertainty and rate of change driven by the Fourth Industrial Revolution. As new innovations threaten to disrupt, business leaders lack the means to measure the risks and rewards associated with the adoption of new technologies and business models. Established companies are faltering as leaner and more agile start-ups bring to market the new products and services that customers of the on-demand or sharing economy desire—with better quality, faster speeds and/or lower costs than established companies can match.

Due to the continuous adaptations driven by the Third Industrial Revolution, most organizations are now burdened by inefficient and unpredictable systems. Even as the inherent risks of current systems are recognized, many businesses are unable to confidently identify a successful path forward.

PwC’s 2015 Risk in Review survey of 1,229 senior executives and board members, reports that 73% of respondents agreed that risks to their companies are increasing. However, the survey shows companies are not, largely, responding to increasing threats with improved risk management programs. While executives are eager to confront business risks, boost management effectiveness, prevent costly misjudgments, drive efficiency and generate higher profit margin growth, only an elite group of companies (12% of the total surveyed) have put in place the processes and structures that qualify them as true risk management leaders per PwC’s criteria.

The shortcomings of traditional risk management technologies and probabilistic methodologies are largely to blame. According to Delloitte’s 2015 Global Risk Management Survey, 62% of respondents said that risk information systems and technology infrastructure were extremely or very challenging. Thirty-five percent of respondents considered identifying and managing new and emerging risks to be extremely or very challenging.

To remain competitive, companies must pursue two parallel strategies:

  1. Building agile and flexible risk management frameworks that can anticipate and prepare for the shifts that bring long-term success.
  2. Building the resiliency that will enable those frameworks to mitigate risk events and keep the business moving toward its goals.

While many risk management and business management experts agree on the need for better risk management methods and technologies, their proposed use of probabilistic methods of risk measurement and reliance on big data cannot fulfill the risk management requirements of the twenty-first century.

Many popular analytic methods are supported by nothing more than big data hype, which promises users that the more big data they have, the better conclusions they will be able to ascertain. However, if the dynamics of a system is continuously changing, any analysis based on big data will only be valid for the window of time during which the data was captured. Outside this window of time, an alignment with reality is unlikely.

To respond to the rate of change engendered by the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the practice of risk management must mature and become a scientific discipline. Our work with clients and research exposes the failures of traditional risk management practices. But many are not aware there is a better way to discover and treat risk. Ultimately, we will need more collaborators and partners who wish to teach business leaders and risk practitioners how new universal risk management approaches and mathematical-based emulation technologies can be used to identify new and emerging risks and prescriptively control business outcomes. If you are interested in joining our cause, please contact us as we are always looking for new research, technology and service partners.

How Dynamic Complexity Disrupts Business Operations

Dynamic complexity always produces a negative effect in the form of loss, time elongation or shortage—causing inefficiencies and side effects, which are similar to friction, collision or drag. Dynamic complexity cannot be observed directly, only its effects can be measured. Additionally, dynamic complexity is impossible to predict from historic data—no matter the amount—because the number of states tend to be too large for any given set of samples. Therefore, trend analysis alone cannot sufficiently represent all possible and yet to be discovered system dynamics.

In the early stages, dynamic complexity is like a hidden cancer. Finding a single cancer cell in the human body is like looking for a specific grain of sand in a sandbox. And like cancer, often the disease will only be discovered once unexplained symptoms appear. To proactively treat dynamic complexity before it negatively impacts operations, we need diagnostics that can reliably reveal its future impact. System modeling and mathematical emulation allow us to provoke the existence of dynamic complexity through two hidden exerted system properties: the degree of interdependencies among system components and the multiple perturbations exerted by internal and external influences on both components and the edges connecting them directly or indirectly.

Successful risk determination and mitigation is dependent on how well we understand and account for dynamic complexity, its evolution, and the amount of time before the system will hit the singularity (singularities) through the intensification of stress on the dependencies and intertwined structures forming the system.

Knowing what conditions will cause singularities allows us to understand how the system can be stressed to the point at which it will no longer meet business objectives, and proactively put the risk management practices into place to avoid these unwanted situations.

Below we provide an example of a client case where dynamic complexity played a key role in terms of resource consumption, time to deliver, and volume to deliver. The scenario presented in the graph represents a trading and settlement implementation used by a volume of business that continuously increases. The reaction of the system is shown by the curves.

In the graph above, the production efficiency increases until it hits a plateau after which the business is increasingly impacted by a slowdown in productivity and increase in costs. The amount of loss is proportional to the increase in dynamic complexity, which gradually absorbs the resources (i.e. the cost) to deliver little. The singularity occurs when the two curves (productivity/revenue and cost) join, which in turn translates into loss in margin, over costing and overall instability.

In client cases such as this one, we have successfully used predictive emulation to isolate the evolving impact of dynamic complexity and calculate risk as an impact on system performance, cost, scalability and dependability. This allows us to measure changes in system health, when provoked by a change in dynamic complexity’s behavior under different process operational dynamics and identify the component(s) that cause the problem.

But knowing the how and what isn’t sufficient. We also need to know when, so we measure dynamic complexity itself, which then allows us to monitor its evolution and apply the right mitigation strategy at the right time.

Optimal Business Control

Optimal business control (OBC) is a set of management, data collection, analytics, machine learning and automation processes through which management predicts, evaluates, and, when necessary, responds to mitigate dynamic complexity related risks that hinder the realization of business goals.

OBC is enabled by the X-Act OBC Platform to support the goals of universal risk management (URM) through the predictive analysis and prescriptive treatment of business risks. Using the quantitative and qualitative metrics supported by X-Act OBC Platform, users can proactively discover risks that may cause situations of system deterioration. Using this knowledge, systems can then be placed under surveillance to enable right-time risk alerts and preemptive fixing of any identified problems.

Optimal Business Control (OBC) Diagram Through the use of a knowledge library and machine-learning sciences, X-Act OBC Platform enables users to define the optimal treatment of risk and use this knowledge to feed a decision engine that organically evolves to cover new and increasingly complex behavioral scenarios.

X-Act OBC Platform uses situational data revealed through causal analysis and stress testing to provide surveillance of systems and identify cases of increasing risk. These cases are unknowns in big data analytical methods, which are limited to prediction based on data collected through experience. Within the OBC database, a diagnosis definition and remediation plan—that covers both the experience-based knowns and those that were previously unknown—are stored together. This allows for the rapid identification of a potential risk with immediate analysis of root causes and proposed remedial actions.

This approach to right-time risk surveillance, represents a real breakthrough that alleviates many of the pains created by the traditional long cycle of risk management, which starts with problem-analysis-diagnosis and ends with eventual fixing well beyond the point of optimal action. OBC represents a clear advantage by shortening the time between the discovery and remediation of undesirable risks.

As the database is continuously enriched by the dynamic characteristics that continuously evolve during a system’s lifetime, the knowledge contained within the database becomes more advanced. OBC is also adaptive. By continuously recording within the OBC database foundational or circumstantial system changes, the predictive platform will identify any new risk, determine the diagnosis and define the remedial actions, and finally enhance the OBC database with this new knowledge.

Companies with the most mature OBC practices and robust knowledge bases will be able to confidently define and make the right moves at the right time to achieve better economy, control risks and ultimately create and maintain a competitive advantage.

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