Note: This post represents the synthesis of the thoughts, procedures and experiences of others as represented in the articles read in advance (see previous posts) and the discussion among the students and instructor during the Advanced Analytic Techniques class at Mercyhurst University in October 2015 regarding MCIM as an Analytic Technique specifically. This technique was evaluated based on its overall validity, simplicity, flexibility and its ability to effectively use unstructured data.
The Multi-Criteria Intelligence Matrix (MCIM) is an analytic method that focuses on an external decision while taking into account courses of action (COA), screening criteria, and evaluation criteria. MCIM is an intelligence-focused version of Multi-Criteria Decision Making (MCDM), a process which breaks down a problem into subcomponents, evaluates each subcomponent individually, and reassembles the subcomponents in order to make a decision. MCIM provides an estimate resulting from the final scores of each COA, which are based on the evaluation criteria and represented in the matrix.
- Streamlines consensus for a COA
- When coupled with sensitivity analysis, results are strengthened (Note: this is both a strength and a weakness)
- Doubles as an intelligence collection plan by identifying intelligence gaps and weaknesses in analysis
- Provides a numeric score for a course of action
- Considers multiple scenarios and their factors
- Provides a different perspective for the analyst
- Allows for an analyst to capture and improve upon their process
- Qualitative data can be difficult to measure and subjective
- There is a lot of room for mistakes to occur
- Total weight of evaluated criteria may decrease analytical confidence
- Is ideally suited when multiple COAs are plausible, effectiveness is limited when fewer options and evaluation criteria are available.
- Extremely difficult to employ without subjectivity
- Reliability of methodology is largely based on the research done for Multi-Criteria Decision Matrices
- Generate Courses of Action (COAs) available to your target
- List your target’s screening criteria, what either must happen or can’t happen for the target
- List the remaining COAs
- Create your target’s Evaluation Criteria using numbers to weigh the COAs (i.e. Public Support--Weight: 1=Low, 2 =Moderate, 3 =High)
- Generate the MCIM matrix (example of blank matrix found below):
Personal Application of Technique:
For the exercise the MCDM technique was utilized. We made up a simple scenario: an individual with a certain amount of budget; and this individual lives in a snowy city in the winters. This was due to the variables that would affect his/her decisions. This individual wants to buy a car and through the decision making process he/she used MCDM. Firstly, everyone in the class read through the simple scenario and then everyone listed the cars they would want to buy or any other option they could choose instead of buying a car as their Courses of Actions (COAs). Secondly, everyone listed their screening criteria. Since we conducted MCDM, the screening criteria mostly composed individual’s personal preferences. After every individual eliminated the cars/options according to their screening criteria, they formed their evaluation criteria, e.g. safety, and they assigned weightings to them as low=1, medium=2, and high=3. Finally, everyone formed their matrices and found their total points by measuring what their remaining COAs score when evaluating criteria taken into consideration. Consequently, the students found that which car/option fit to their budget, preferences etc. by looking at which COA scored higher than the remaining.