Product Updates Archives

Optional CSR Decisions for MikesBikes Introduction Now Available

The inclusion of Corporate Social Responsibility decisions and a company CSR rating will be an optional release for all courses using the MikesBikes Introduction to Business Simulation from January 2023.

New Sustainable Manufacturing Decisions

From year three students can invest in sustainable manufacturing options to become an ethical player in the market.

Students can choose more than one option with their total investment feeding into a new company CSR Rating.

Updating Corporate Branding to Brand Promotion

Instead of a single Corporate Branding expenditure, from year two students are provided with options to promote their brand through Event Sponsorship, Brand Ambassadors and Socially Responsible promotions.

The screens below are multi-select, so they can choose more than one option. Their total Brand Ambassador and Event Sponsorship expenditure feeds into a Brand Awareness rating. Social Responsibility expenditure affects both Brand Awareness and CSR Ratings.

How do I include these decisions in my course?

If you would like to include these updates in your 2023 course let us know.

MikesBikes Advanced: New Interface & Updates for 2023

We are in the final stages of developing the new top-menu version of the MikesBikes Advanced Strategic Management Simulation.

This has been a long-term project focused on modernizing the interface and decisions, making the user experience more intuitive, and improving student’s access to relevant information as they are making decisions. The 2023 release will also include new corporate social responsibility decisions.

A New Intuitive & Informative User Interface

The new interface and navigation experience features onboarding, a company dashboard, as well as responsive and informative decision screens. We believe these changes will expedite students becoming power users, and therefore, accelerate learning outcomes.

New Onboarding Experience

When students first log in, and after each rollover, they are provided with key results and information for the year ahead.

New Company Home Page

The new Home page is their company dashboard with its focus being key financial, market and operational performance indicators in the form of a balanced scorecard. This includes the new Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) rating.

In addition, the Home page features a product carousel, company alerts, and quick links to key reports and help videos.

Top Menu Navigation

A modern top-menu navigation system groups decisions into functional decision areas. Select menu items, such as Marketing, feature a drop-down to access a sub-menu:

Intuitive Decision Screens

Our improved decision screens feature information, results and reports all relevant to the decisions they are making on that specific screen.

The New Live Forecast Widget

You will see a new Live Forecast widget at the top-right of all decision screens. This displays two key financial metrics; Forecast Profit and Forecast Available Cash. These figures are based on currently entered decisions and update in real-time whenever decision changes are saved.

Students no longer need to go to a separate Offline Mode application to forecast results and then transfer decisions. Instead, the Live Forecast combined with the decision-specific on-screen indicators provide students with all the feedback required to guide their decision-making.

The New Help Widget

The new Help widget includes a search feature, screen-specific FAQs and videos, and links to updated articles, Player’s Manual and access to the Smartsims Support Team.

Improved Report Menu

An easier to use approach to the Reports menu, sorted by functional area and each features a description:

Scenario & Decision Changes for the 2023 Release

New Brand Promotion Screens

The previous single dollar spend on Branding will be replaced with multi-select Brand Promotion decisions. Here students get to decide on Event Sponsorships, Brand Ambassadors and Social Responsibility decisions.

Event Sponsorship and Brand Ambassador expenditure feed into their company’s Brand Awareness rating:

Their expenditure in Social Responsibility boosts Brand Awareness but also feeds into their company’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) rating:

Addition of Sustainable Manufacturing

In Year 2 a new Sustainable Manufacturing decision screen under Operations is made available to students. These options enable students to really set themselves apart as an ethical supplier:

Product Development

From Year 2 students will be able to make detailed product development decisions to improve their product’s specifications and/or reduce its cost of production:

Note: There is no longer a year delay for product development and new product launches.

Updated Product Advertising

Previously students allocated their advertising budget across three possible media channels, as well as allocating a public relations budget across the same three channels. We have now increased the number of media channels to five which include digital media options; Social Media, Digital Video and Internet Search. With the increased number of advertising channels we have retired the public relations decision.

Addition of Sales Forecasts

Students will now make a Sales Forecast decision for each of their products. Once they calculate their Sales Forecast for the year ahead, they then determine Required Production.

Updated Start Year

Students will start the simulation making decisions for the 2024 year.

When will the new MikesBikes Advanced be available?

The above will be an optional release from March 2023. For those not ready to make the move, don’t worry, the existing interface and scenario we be maintained for all of 2023.

If you have any questions, feedback or suggestions please contact me.

– Ian McPherson

SMARTSIMS PRODUCT UPDATES: AUGUST 2022

This fall we have a great new addition to the Administrator and two exciting updates in the pipeline for the MikesBikes range.

1. New Student Activity Screen for Instructors

Your Administrator now features the new Student Activity screen which makes it easy to see what your students have been doing in the simulation.

For each student you can see how much time they have been active in the simulation, how many screens/reports viewed and decisions saved.

See more about the Student Activity screen here.

If you have any feedback on this new screen please let us know.

2. Optional CSR Module for MikesBikes Introduction

This fall a select course will be testing our new Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) decision screens for MikesBikes Introduction. Implementation is through expansion of the Branding and Operations decisions.

Updating Corporate Branding to Brand Promotion

Instead of a single Corporate Branding expenditure, from year two students are provided with options to promote their brand through Event Sponsorship, Brand Ambassadors and Socially Responsible promotions.

Inclusion of Sustainable Manufacturing Decisions

From year three students can invest in sustainable manufacturing options to position themselves as an ethical player in the market.

Once available as a final release in 2023, these decisions would be an optional module which can be added at the instructor’s discretion.

If you would like to try the screens out for yourself and/or use these in your 2023 course just let us know.

3. MikesBikes Advanced Updates Available in 2023

We are in the process of finalizing the screens and resources for the new top-menu version of MikesBikes Advanced. This has been a long-term project focused on modernizing the interface and decisions, making the user experience more intuitive, and improving student’s access to relevant information.

A) New Onboarding Experience & Screen Tips

The new interface features a new onboarding pop-up which provides students with key information on first log-in and after each rollover.

In addition, when students first view a new screen they are offered a helpful tip on what the new screen is and how to use it:

B) New Home Page

Students will have a new company home page. This Home Page features company info, a balanced scorecard of key performance indicators, quick links to product decisions, key reports, and relevant videos.

Below is an example of the KPI dashboard which will feature on the Home Page:

C) Top Menu Navigation

A modern top-menu navigation system groups decisions into logical, functional decision areas:

D) Intuitive Decision Screens

Our improved decision screens feature information, results and reports all relevant to the decisions they are making on that specific screen. Also, our integrated Live Forecast at the top-right.

E) Updated Product Advertising

Additional advertising decisions to include modern digital media options; Social Media, Digital Video, Search. This replaces public relations decisions.

F) New Brand Promotion Screens

The previous dollar spend on Corporate Branding will be replaced with multi-select Brand Promotion decisions. Here students will have the option to select Event Sponsorships, Brand Ambassadors and Social Responsibility decisions.

G) Addition of Sales Forecast

Students will make both Sales Forecast and Required Production decisions within the Product screen.

H) Inclusion of CSR Decisions

The addition of Corporate Social Responsibility decisions and a CSR specific KPI.

I) Updated Start Year

The updated scenario will have a starting Year Ahead of 2024.

The above will be an optional release from January 2023. For those not ready to make the move, don’t worry, the existing interface and scenario we be maintained for all of 2023.

Contact us if you would like access to a development release to try out from November 2022.

If you have any questions, feedback or suggestions please contact me.

– Ian McPherson

How Do I Track Student Activity?

The new Student Activity screen, within the instructor’s Administrator application, makes it easy to see what your students have been doing in the simulation:

For each student you can see how much time they have been active in the simulation, how many screens/reports viewed and decisions saved.

Sorting

Click on any of the headings to sort by student name, world/industry, firm, total time, etc.


Filters

At the top of screen you can select to view All Activity or only for a specific Rollover / Decision Period:

Filter by Time Range applies to the Multi-Player Administrator only.


You can also filter by keyword, export the data to save as a CSV/XLS file, or copy and paste to another location:


Individual Student Activity

Click on any student to view all activity for only that student:


Let us know if you have any questions.

2020 December Product Updates by Smartsims

SMARTSIMS PRODUCT UPDATES: DECEMBER 2020

We have introduced a number of exciting updates to three of our simulations, including a new interface and scenario updates.

New Interface for MikesBikes Introduction, Music2Go Marketing & AdSim Advertising

Our new simulation interface is now available to all new courses. This has been a long-term project focused on modernizing the interface and decisions, making the user experience more intuitive and improving student’s access to relevant information.

The new interface and navigation experience is built around a new onboarding process, a new company dashboard and decision screens which provide students with relevant information when they need it. We believe these changes will expedite students becoming power users, and therefore, accelerate learning outcomes.

A New Onboarding Experience

When students first log in, and after each rollover, they are provided with information for the year ahead and a short explainer video to help them get started.

And after a rollover key results are displayed:


The New Company Home Page

Students now have a new company dashboard as the default start page:

The Home Page features company info, KPIs, quick links to product decisions and new decisions, key reports and relevant videos for the year ahead.

Top Menu Navigation

A modern top-menu navigation system groups decisions into logical, functional decision areas.

Select menu items feature a drop-down to access a sub-menu:


Intuitive Decision Screens

Our improved decision screens feature information, results and reports all relevant to the decisions they are making on that specific screen. Also, our integrated Live Forecast at the top-right.

Our New Help Widget

The new Help widget includes a search feature, screen-specific FAQs and videos, and links to updated articles, Player’s Manual and access to the Smartsims Support Team.


Improved Report Menu & Reports

An easier to use approach to the Reports menu, sorted by functional area and each includes a description to help students Updated reports and a new search feature.

Scenario Changes for 2021

MikesBikes Introduction

  • Additional advertising decisions to include modern digital media options; Social Media, Digital Video, Search. This replaces public relations decisions.
  • Integrating Sales Forecast and Production within the Product screen to eliminate making these decisions in separate screens.
  • Starting Year Ahead 2022.

Music2Go Marketing

  • Students will now be working in the Headphones industry.
  • Updated advertising decisions to include Social and Digital Media options.
  • Purchasable reports (additional market research) are now integrated into the relevant decision screens.
  • Starting Year Ahead 2022.

AdSim Advertising

  • Students are promoting Smartphones.
  • Updated decisions to include detailed Social Media, Digital Media and Social Influencers options.
  • Purchasable reports (additional market research) are now integrated into the relevant decision screens.
  • Starting Year Ahead 2022.

What about MikesBikes Advanced?

Our MikesBikes Advanced Strategic Management Simulation has additional complexities and just far greater number of decisions and reports than our other simulation. As such, the new interface and scenario updates for MikesBikes Advanced will be rolled out from 1 December 2022.

Corporate Social Responsibility (Coming Soon)

We are passionate about introducing an ethical component to MikesBikes as we want to emphasize the importance of students being good corporate citizens. This is planned to be part of the December 2022 release.

If you have any questions, feedback or suggestions please contact me.

– Ian McPherson

Product Update in December from Smartsims

SMARTSIMS PRODUCT UPDATES: December 2018

On-Screen Warning on Unsaved Decisions

Some students miss out on saving their decisions when they move onto a different screen or click away. So we have now added a new on-screen warning to notify students if a decision they have entered has been left unsaved.

On-screen warning on unsaved decisions

On-Screen Warnings on Decision Screens (MikesBikes Introduction)

Forecast Sales and Planned Production Warning

Students will now receive a warning when they have entered a high Sales Forecast, but their Production Quantity is lower.

MikesBikes Warning Message 1

MikesBikes Warning message 4

They will also receive a warning when their Planned Production Units is higher than their Sales Forecast.

MikesBikes Warning Message 2

MikesBikes Warning Message 3

Launching a Second Product in the Same Market Segment

This warning message should not discourage students from launching a second product if they wish, but it just informs them of what this decision entails.

Launching a second product warning message

Missed our previous Product Update articles? You can check these out here:

September 2018 Product Update header

Smartsims Product Updates: September 2018

Updated Product Development/Launch Screens (MikesBikes Introduction & Music2Go Marketing)

The decision screens which enable students to modify an existing product and launching new products now feature additional information to help students make more informed decisions.

Launching a new product

Previously students would need to navigate to the Market Information and Market Summary Report for this key information, but we have now placed it directly within the screen.

MikesBikes Intro New Development Screen (New Product)

Modifying an existing product

Students will now see a short description of each option with the corresponding cost and benefit.

Modifying an existing product in Mikesbikes Introduction new screen

Missed our previous Product Update articles? You can check these out here:

 

August Product Updates

Smartsims Product Updates: August 2018

The following are Smartsims product updates available from August 2018. Where product names are noted in the heading, that update only applies to these products.

Smartsims Support Center Goes Live! 

The Smartsims Support Center is our online knowledge-base for all simulations.

Smartsims Support Center

This live resource enables users to find instant answers to their questions, as well as browse a wide range of help topics. The current articles available range from getting started, help with logging in and registration, through to guiding students on how to make decisions.

Full information on this new online resource: https://www.smartsims.com/news/support-center-simulation-knowledge-base/

Tutorial on how to use the Smartsims Support Center: https://www.smartsims.com/support/business-simulation-help/

 

New Live Forecast Feature (MikesBikes  Introduction & Music2Go)

Our new Live Forecast is located at the top-right of all decision screens and displays the two main metrics from the current Forecast Results Reports.

MikesBikes Intro: Forecast Profit & Forecast Cash Available

Music2Go Marketing:  Forecast Marketing Contribution & Budget Remaining.

Smartsims Simulations Live Forecast

These figures on the Live Forecast update in real-time as students click “Apply” on any decision screen. This enables students to easily see the impact of individual decision changes on overall performance.

The figures can then be clicked to bring up the relevant forecast report in full. Previous figures remain in small font below.

The new Live Forecast feature will help students make more informed decisions and provide an immediate warning if they have made poor decisions.

 

Performance Star Ratings (MikesBikes Introduction & MikesBikes Advanced)

The bottom-left of the simulation interface now features a new gold star rating system:

Smartsims Simulations Performance Rating

The star rating students receive is based on their results from the previous year. A jump in Shareholder Value will result in an additional gold star achieved and vice-versa.

We hope this will further motivate students to improve their performance each year of the simulation.

 

Editing Product Names (All MikesBikes & Music2Go)

Previously, the name for the initial product has been computer generated (Adv1, Adv2, etc). Now through the Product screen students can edit their product’s name in the first year of the simulation:

Editing Product Name in MikesBikes

Additionally, when students launch a new product, they can now edit the new product’s name at any time prior to the next rollover.

 

Missed our last Product Updates article? You can check it out herehttps://www.smartsims.com/product-updates/june-2018/

If you have any comments or questions feel free to contact us.

Smartsims Support Center header

Press Release: Smartsims Support Center Goes Live!

The Smartsims Support Center is our new simulation knowledge-base.

This live resource enables our simulation users to receive instant answers to their questions, as well as browse a wide range of help topics to guide them through their learning journey.

The Smartsims Support Center works on any device:

Support Center Screenshot on all devices

 

Browse decision areas such as Marketing, Operations, Finance; or specific decision periods:

Business Simulation Marketing Simulation Advertising Simulation  Business Simulation Marketing Simulation Advertising Simulation

 

And users can share their feedback on the help articles, enabling us to continue to improve content available through the knowledge-base:

Was this support article helpful?

 

Where?

You can find the Smartsims Support Center here: https://www.smartsims.com/support

Alternatively, click on new Support button at the top of any of our webpages:  Smartsims Support Center

 

Spread The Word!

We recommend placing a link to the Smartsims Support Center in your Course Syllabus and/or on your Course’s Webpage.

 

This proactive approach takes our current service offering to the next level in user experience.

Of course, our Helpdesk Team continues to be available every day of the year: Contact Us

 

Smartsims Product Updates for June 2018

Smartsims Product Updates: June 2018

We’re now halfway through the year and exciting developments are coming your way!

Improved Tablet and Mobile Experience

We understand that students have busy lives and are not always near their computer. So we have made it easier for them to check their results and update their decisions from their tablets and mobiles.

They can access all the same decisions and reports as they can on their desktop browser. However, we have adjusted the tablet/mobile screens to show the most relevant content, the reports and scrolling are better suited to smaller devices, and a ‘Hamburger’ style menu makes it easy to navigate.

Mobile Friendly Business Simulations

Key Reports within Decision Screens

When students are making decisions, they often need to review one or more reports which means they often have to leave the decision screen. So we have added a commonly-used reports tab to each of the decision screens.

Selecting a report from the “Reports” tab will display the report as a pop-up over the top of the decision screen. This way students can quickly review key information and make an informed decision without having to leave the decision screen.

MikesBikes Intro Reports Screen

New Historical Reports Menu (MikesBikes Only)

We often receive emails from students requesting access to previous years’ reports. To make this accessible for students, we have now made  historical reports available for them to access. This is available to them under the All Reports menu.

MBI Historical Report

Accessibility and Improved Compatibility with Screen Readers

A key requirement for many institutions is accessibility for students with disabilities. Our simulations work with JAWS and NVDA, two of the most common screen readers, to help vision impaired students navigate their way around. We also provide additional context information for the screen readers in the input fields.

For instance, when you enter the Retail Price input field, the screen reader would announce: “Retail Price. Decision last year was $1600. Minimum Price is $1000. Maximum price is $3000.”

Similarly when you enter the Production input field you would hear: “Production Units. Decision last year was 15,000 units. Maximum production is 18,700 units”

This is of great benefit to vision impaired students as they do not have to hunt around for the information they need to make their decisions.

Updated Report Names

Updated report names for the following reports in MikesBikes Introduction, MikesBikes Advanced and Music2Go Marketing:

  • The Product Summary – Sales, Margin, Production has been shortened to Product Summary.
  • The Market Summary (All Product Details) has been shortened to Market Summary.
  • MikesBikes Advanced only: Financial Results for All Firms is now called the Industry Benchmark Report.

MikesBikes Advanced Updates

There have been three important updates to the MikesBikes Advanced scenario which will apply to all new courses starting from July 2018. These changes are detailed here: https://www.smartsims.com/news/2018-product-update-for-mikesbikes-advanced/

The MikesBikes Dog Retires

Our MikesBikes users will know the little dog which has featured in the simulation over the years. It is with sadness we have retired “Cliks” and “Einstein” the dog. This older style feature simply does not gel with our current updated simulation interface, nor the upcoming new interface under development.

To bid farewell we published an article looking back at the history of “Cliks” and “Einstein” the dogs: https://www.smartsims.com/news/the-mikesbikes-dog-has-retired/

The MikesBikes Dogs have been replaced with a new Performance Star Rating.

Simulation Starting Year Update

Just a reminder that earlier in the year all simulation were updated to have a starting year / year ahead 2019 (reporting year 2018).

 

Our August product updates are now available here: https://www.smartsims.com/product-updates/august-2018/

 

If you have any comments or questions feel free to contact us.