3-way modeling is becoming increasingly important in the world of data analytics due to its comprehensive approach to understanding the complexities that arise when trying to make sense of relationships between different variables. The three-way model examines the performance of three variables – one outcome variable, a predictor variable and a control variable – over time and establishes the interdependence of these variables. The strength of the 3-way model is its ability to measure the impact of a single variable, as well as the combined effect of two different variables.

The challenges of 3-way modeling are varied and challenging, but are important to consider before attempting to implement the approach. Defining these common challenges helps practitioners understand how best to apply and interpret the 3-way modeling process.

Overview of 3-Way Modeling

The 3-way modeling methodology is based on the premise that data is interconnected, with every variable and factor influencing each other in different ways. The 3-way model was developed to measure the effect of a given variable on another variable or set of variables, and to account for the interdependence of those variables. The 3-way model is particularly useful when analyzing time series data, as it takes into account the autocorrelation of variables over time. This makes it an invaluable tool for forecasting, decision making, and above all, understanding how different factors interact with each other.

Defining the Common Challenges

When using the 3-way modeling approach, there are several common challenges that can arise. These include:

  • Selecting an appropriate method for analyzing data.
  • Identifying the correct number of variables.
  • Accurately interpreting the results.
  • Detecting the effects of multiple variables.
  • Handling missing data.

Key Takeaways

  • Select an appropriate method for analyzing data.
  • Identify the correct number of variables.
  • Accurately interpret the results.
  • Detect the effects of multiple variables.
  • Handle missing data.

Limited Resources

When it comes to 3-way modeling, one of the most common challenges is limited resources. Resources like time, money, and personnel can be in short supply, and this can significantly limit the potential of any 3-way modeling project.


Time is often an incredibly precious resource. Most 3-way modeling projects have an incredibly tight timeline in order to create accurate results within the timeline set forth. If the timeline is not met, then the results can suffer, leading to an inaccurate model that does not accurately measure the data it is intended to measure.


Money is another limited resource that can make 3-way modeling difficult. Many 3-way modeling projects require significant capital in order to purchase the necessary software and hardware, as well as to pay personnel to complete the project. Without adequate resources, the project can suffer from a lack of quality due to the inability to attain sufficient equipment and personnel to properly complete the project.


The personnel associated with 3-way modeling can be limited, as well. Finding personnel that are knowledgeable and experienced in the field is essential to creating a successful model. Without the right people, projects can suffer greatly and can take much longer to complete. This can significantly limit the potential of any 3-way modeling project.

Overall, limited resources are one of the most common challenges of 3-way modeling. Resources like time, money, and personnel can be incredibly scarce and can significantly limit the potential of any 3-way modeling project. Working with the resources available is essential to creating a successful model and to creating the best possible results.

Data Availability

In 3-Way Modeling, data availability is an important prerequisite to creating models. Data is key to any successful model and having access to accurate, high-quality data is essential. However, there are some common challenges related to data availability that must be addressed before proceeding with 3-Way Modeling.


Quality should always be a top priority for any data used for 3-Way Modeling. High-quality data is not always easy to obtain and sources may not be reliable. Modelers should ensure that any data used for the purposes of building a 3-Way Model is accurate and up-to-date. Quality data can often be obtained from trusted sources such as government agencies or large corporations.


Accessibility of data is often an issue when it comes to 3-Way Modeling. Data can often be difficult to access due to physical or digital restrictions. Modelers must be aware of any potential hurdles when it comes to accessing data and should plan ahead accordingly.


Data variability is another common challenge with 3-Way Modeling. Data can be difficult to compare due to its variability. Data sets can contain variables that are hard to measure or assign values to and this can make a 3-Way Model difficult to build. Modelers should consider any potential drawbacks of a data set before proceeding with a 3-Way Model.


3-Way modeling is a comprehensive system that is used in fields from finance to engineering. While the system has multiple advantages, various functional challenges still exist. Some of the most common functional issues users of 3-Way modeling encounter include usability, age, and tools.


Due to the complexity of 3-Way modeling, users of the system often find it difficult to understand and use the system. As a result, users will frequently require significant resources to become proficient in its use. Furthermore, a steep learning curve often prevents novice users from effectively using the system.


3-Way modeling is rarely at the forefront of technology. As such, many of the common tools used in the system are outdated, leading to a decrease in the system's efficiency. Execution speeds are normally slow and it is difficult for users to apply new techniques or address emerging opportunities.


Many of the tools and features offered by 3-Way modeling are limited, making it difficult for users to achieve desired outcomes. Many of the current tools are not up to the standards expected and desired by modern users. Additionally, it is often difficult for users to find resources that can help them gauge and better understand the effectiveness of their efforts.

Though 3-Way modeling offers a wide range of benefits, due to the various functional challenges it poses, users must be prepared to overcome them. Whether by investing their time and resources in a detailed understanding of the system, or using the necessary tools to tackle common issues, users should be prepared to take on these common challenges.

Collaboration Challenges

The 3-Way modeling approach involves close collaboration and coordination between the data custodian, the provider of the algorithms, and the custodian responsible for the actual execution. This approach, while necessary for successful implementation, can provide its share of challenges, including communication breakdowns, onboarding difficulties, and divergent goals.

Communication Breakdowns

When the ultimate goal of a project is successful completion, communication breakdowns become a particular challenge of 3-Way modeling. A breakdown in communication can cause any number of issues, ranging from the small, like a breakdown in understanding of project details, to the more significant, like the introduction of serious errors in the outcomes. By ensuring clear communication among the different players, it can make it easier to more quickly identify and resolve issues.

Onboarding Difficulties

In certain cases, the data custodian, provider of the algorithms, and the custodian responsible for the actual execution may be coming from different backgrounds and may not have the same level of technical understanding. This can pose a challenge when it comes to onboarding, as it is not always clear what each of these roles are, or how they should collaborate with each other. To overcome this, it is important to be sure that everyone is on the same page as to the roles, expectations, and goals of the collaboration.

Divergent Goals

Finally, a challenge in the 3-Way modeling approach arises when divergent goals between those involved cause tension or conflict. For instance, the data custodian may be focused on authoring the data models, while the algorithm provider may be focused on optimizing algorithms to use the models. It is important to ensure that expectations on each side are clear, and that everyone is aligned on the same ultimate outcome.

  • Be sure to ensure clear communication among the different players to more quickly identify and resolve issues.
  • Make sure that everyone is on the same page as to the roles, expectations, and goals of the collaboration.
  • Be careful to ensure that expectations on each side are clear, and that everyone is aligned on the same ultimate outcome.

Regulatory Challenges

3-Way modeling can present complex and nuanced regulatory challenges in a variety of areas. It is important for entities engaging in 3-Way Modeling to understand and be prepared to handle any obstacles that may arise from these issues.

Compliance Standards

Businesses utilizing 3-Way Modeling must be aware of compliance standards, both local and international. Depending on the context, these could include data privacy regulations, accounting standards, and consumer protection laws. Staying compliant with all regulations is key in avoiding potential issues with the 3-Way Model.

Multi-Jurisdictional Regulations

In some cases, 3-Way Modeling can involve entities and customers located in different countries or jurisdictions. In these situations, all parties must be aware of the specific regulations they are subject to and make sure they are compliant. This can be a prolifically complex task, especially if the regulations impacting all involved parties are drastically different.

Managing Data Sets

Data sets used in 3-Way Modeling must be managed properly in order to remain compliant with regulations and to preserve data security. Companies must make sure their data sets are properly secured, with steps such as using strong encryption methods and limiting data access to approved personnel. Additionally, companies should keep their data sets up to date, as regulations can change quickly.

Overall, carefully considering any potential regulatory challenges is paramount for any business engaging in 3-Way Modeling. Understanding regulatory compliance standards, managing multi-jurisdictional regulations, and safely managing data sets are all important aspects to keep in mind.


Three-way modeling is a powerful analytical technique that can offer great insights into complex data. Its ability to integrate data sets from different sources to identify relationships and detect new insights is unmatched. That said, the complexity and unique nature of three-way modeling can lead to a variety of challenges. Fortunately, there are solutions and strategies to address these issues like dividing the project into manageable tasks, creating the model step by step, and conducting sufficient data preparation.


In this blog post, we discussed the various common challenges of three-way modeling. We looked at some of the difficulties faced when working with three-way models such as data format issues and computational demands. We also examined the process of data preparation and the use of simplified model approximation.

Solutions and Strategies

To address the challenges of three-way modeling, it is important to follow a number of solutions and strategies. These include:

  • Breaking the project into smaller, more manageable tasks.
  • Creating the model step by step.
  • Conducting sufficient data preparation.
  • Using simplified model approximation.

By following these solutions and strategies, organizations can minimize the drawbacks of three-way modeling and use the technique to discover new insights, develop better strategies, and drive growth and success.

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