Newsletter

STEM 7.3 Beta 2 release

15 May 2012

STEM 7.3 Beta 2 is a fully-supported and reliable upgrade.

The initial STEM 7.3 Beta 1 release has been on general release since the beginning of February and has been very well-received by early adopters. The expectation was to be making the final official release by now, but one key feature remains incomplete in certain subtle details. Our quality prerogative prevents us from claiming a final release now and trying to slip out the final details later. Instead, we are providing very clear guidance on which aspects of the new functionality remain incomplete in order to enable all customers to migrate to the new platform without further delay.

1. Everything you did before, better, and now with documentation

Several customers were keen to get their hands on STEM 7.3 Beta 1 as soon as it was available in order to benefit from the advertised new features, and one or two clients have also been through full training courses on the new system. Their confidence and trust have been rewarded by what was already a very polished and solid system, with only a total of three minor bugs reported in the three months to the end of April.

These bugs have been fixed and we now have every confidence in the integrity of the core interface features and, of course, the validity of the results produced, which are tested systematically at every stage. As an upgrade to the existing functionality in STEM 7.2d, we now recommend this latest STEM 7.3 Beta 2 version to all our clients as the most satisfying and reliable STEM platform to use and we fully support it as the current commercial system.

Besides this acquired confidence, the most significant addition of immediate benefit to all users is the all-important What’s new in STEM 7.3 guide. Although this documentation is still subject to change, pending the completion of the new aggregate handling functionality, it has already been peer-reviewed and thoroughly edited and as such is fully fit for purpose in helping you find your way around the myriad changes we have made to improve the user experience with STEM 7.3.

The new aggregate demand, consumable resource, time factor and capacity period concepts are also explained through a series of pertinent examples covering topics such as power, spares and human resources. Conventionally, a resource had a persistent capacity which could be used in an ongoing sense from one period to the next, such as the maximum bit rate of a broadband link, whereas now you can also model more transient items whose capacity gets used up – literally consumed – as time goes on.

The only outstanding documentation relates to the new HTML-5 export functionality which is still being added to complement the Flash export advertised in recent newsletters. This is being developed with direct input from those clients who have already invested in our hosted eSTEM solution and the general guidance notes will follow when that implementation is stable and complete.

2. Aggregate handling is substantially complete if you want to try it

At over two years in the making, it is no overstatement to say that aggregate handling is one of the most significant developments in STEM functionality since the ability to run a model in months, quarters and years was added in 1998. It is therefore unsurprising that the current What’s new documentation is dominated by the explanation of this profound extension. The breadth of this new material reflects the extent of the functionality already complete; initial reviewers have consistently described the text as ‘challenging’, so it may take you a little while to find the current limitations!

All of the examples cited have been independently tested and verified. Resource and service inputs to transformations are correctly classified as instantaneous or aggregate and aggregate demands are correctly matched to the supply of consumable resources. The new Time Factor transformation works as intended to switch between instantaneous and aggregate demands, and correctly flags any mismatch between the nature of its input and its intended Output Mode. The equivalent functionality in the optional resource Capacity Period also behaves as expected.

The main omission so far (which can be very confusing for the unwary user) is that much of the consistency checking in the Editor remains to be implemented, even though it has already been documented! In particular, the system does not yet raise an error if you try (without a suitable time factor) to match an instantaneous demand to consumable capacity or an aggregate demand to persistent capacity.

The following areas are also still pending:

  • proper Output Mode classification for an expression transformation
  • proper consideration for consumable resources of advanced features such as deployment, pre-run installation, residual value, planned units and functions
  • consumable resources as transformation or value-chain service inputs.

The important thing to understand is that most of this functionality is dormant unless you choose to flag a resource as consumable, so the results of existing models should not be compromised by any of these loose ends.

3. Download with peace of mind; install with confidence

In order to access the installer for STEM 7.3 Beta 2, you will need to visit our website and register for a free account if you have not already done so. As with earlier advice, registering in itself will not guarantee your access to the software. Instead, you will be notified that we have added the relevant permissions within 24 hours if we recognise your email address. Please contact us directly if you have any problems with this process.

An alert visitor to our website will notice that the address bar in their browser has ‘gone green’, signifying that our website is now protected with an extended validation SSL certificate (verified by GlobalSign).

This protection actually establishes two separate things:

  • it verifies that the website is really ours and that your browser has not been re-directed through malware to a rogue site impersonating Implied Logic
  • it arranges for all traffic with our website, including user registration and log in, to be encrypted from the start, minimising the risk of your credentials or any secure content being compromised by snooping software.

You may also note that all of our web pages now display a GlobalSign site seal, which basically provides a way for you to review the details and validity of our SSL certificate directly from the page content as opposed to the browser controls shown above.

Once you have downloaded the STEM 7.3 Beta 2 installer (or any future update), you will be able to verify its authenticity before proceeding. When you try to open the install program, it will display a security warning asking you to confirm whether you want to run this file, and showing the publisher as Implied Logic Limited. If you click the publisher name, then you can review the code-signing certificate details (again verified by GlobalSign).

Figure 1: Security warning on opening an installer and digital signature details for the publisher

The installed program files as well as the installers are all signed before distribution, so you can verify the source of the executable content at any time. Please contact us immediately if the digital signature illustrated is missing from your new STEM programs.

Download
STEM 7.3d installer

Registered licensees with a current maintenance contract can download the appropriate C-STEM or D-STEM 7.3d installer.

Download now: C-STEM 7.3D-STEM 7.3

When customers shape your business

As a further teaser for the STEM User Group Meeting in September 2017, we sketch out the shape of a small business, and consider three growth modes for that business. We will work through these concepts as an interactive exercise to illustrate how you can use our STEM software to measure and then forecast scale for your business activities.

Read the article

Business-case design and training at your service

Ever wondered what we do at Implied Logic? We have recently posted a comprehensive update to our services portfolio online which is effectively a self-service proposal for everything from online training on-demand through to on-site business-modelling consulting and hosting services for business models on the web.

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Connecting elements to graphs and publishing online

In what is likely to be the final preview article for the forthcoming STEM version 8.0, we explore visual connections between individual icons and a related graph, as well as intuitive, interactive options for adding an element to an existing graph. We also explore new layout options for pushing a presentation of results in STEM to the web.

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Our latest help and training materials

Documentation is never regarded as a very exciting activity, but our comprehensive help and training materials are a vital element of the self-serve experience with STEM. In the last quarter we have posted two significant updates to our online help site which enhance both of these aspects.

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A radical re-think on STEM pricing

We announce a new freemium strategy for accessing the STEM software, including a free and fully-functional demo system for small projects and study as a taster for an innovative minimal-support subscription to the Conventional STEM (C-STEM) desktop solution at just GBP 330 p.a..

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STEM User Group Meeting 2017

Our annual customer forum on 27–28 September 2017 will see us build a generic business case from scratch, comparing the approach of a fixed resource base with a more agile, driver-based approach. We will generate all the essential technical and financial outputs while exploring the impact of varying levels of service activity.

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Vision for the forthcoming STEM 8.0

As part of our vision for a more intuitive way of working that bridges previous mental leaps wherever possible, we preview another two features of the forthcoming STEM version 8.0 – direct-draw connect mode and more flexible user data – that form part of a joined-up approach to fulfilling this dream.

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Win a student group subscription in our quarterly competition

We are now offering an affordable package for educational groups to access the fully-fledged C-STEM platform which will enable teaching staff to connect their students with the issues of scale and complexity that they will face in real life, as well as a quarterly competition to win an annual subscription for the most interesting modelling proposal.

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