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Dan Power

Greetings to all of my friends who work in the area of computerized decision support. This blog is a way for me to share stories from my encounters related to decision support, to comment on industry events, and to comment on other blogger's comments, especially those of my friends on the Business Intelligence Network. I'll try to state my opinions clearly and provide an old professor's perspective on how computers and information technology are changing the world. Decision making has always been my focus, and it will be in this blog as well. Your comments, feedback and questions are welcomed.

About the author >

Daniel J. "Dan" Power is a Professor of Information Systems and Management at the College of Business Administration at the University of Northern Iowa and the editor of DSSResources.com, the Web-based knowledge repository about computerized systems that support decision making; the editor of PlanningSkills.com; and the editor of DSS News, a bi-weekly e-newsletter. Dr. Power's research interests include the design and development of decision support systems and how these systems impact individual and organizational decision behavior.

Editor's Note: More articles and resources are available in Dan's BeyeNETWORK Expert Channel. Be sure to visit today!

A quiet Sunday morning in Cedar Falls, so a good time to catch up on my IT/DSS reading. Although most of my reading is web documents, I still receive a few print IT trade publications. The information world comes to me here in Cedar Falls. What do I read? How do I keep up with the fast pace of change?

I only read 2 weekly trade pubs, InformationWeek and eWeek. I also regularly check the websites of these 2 publications. I also receive in the mail Teradata Magazine and Oracle Magazine. No more Intelligent Enterprise, stopped reading DM Review. Despite being more selective, I am inundated with content about DSS/IT. So I scan, skim and read selectively; I attend a few conferences, email people and read press releases and check web sites of major vendors. My friends at BI Network add advice, opinions and perspective to my thinking about decision support.

I just finished reading an interview in eWeek with Patrick Piccininno, IHOP's VP of IT. Piccininno argues the role of the IT executive has changed and that CIOs need to "put their technology hat aside and focus on what it is the business needs to be successful ...". Piccininno explains how IHOP is using Linux as part of a transformational initiative and hints it will help integrate Applebee's successfully into the IHOP organization. Applebee's uses Teradata and MicroStrategy for data-driven decision support especially for company owned restaurants. The IT staff at Applebee's have frequently presented at Teradata Partners. The problem is IHOP is focused on efficient transaction processing and is a Linux/Oracle shop. Sadly business intelligence didn't make Applebee's the victor in the sit down dining world. My concern from a decision support standpoint is that this marriage, IHOP and Applebee's, will be one made in IT hell.

Computerized decision support is a strategic transformational initiative. Applebee's spent a lot and focused on menu planning. The decision support at Applebee's was often delayed and never seemed focused on either tactical or strategic decision making. The data warehouse helped the financial/marketing analysts prepare reports. Piccininno barely mentions business intelligence and decision support at IHOP.

The reality is that if CIOs really want to contribute at the strategic decision making table, they need to update their knowledge about transformational decision support. The world of decision support is complex, fast moving and certainly not as simple to understand as Linux vs. Unix vs. Windows. Decision support is not about TCO, total cost of ownership. Transformational decision support is about TPL, total profit in the long-run and surviving to compete.

What about Linux? eWeek also reports "Linux Losing Market Share to Windows Server". The introduction to the story notes, "Experts say that migrations from Unix to Linux have slowed down because all the low-hanging fruit has now been picked." I agree. Linux has many advantages over proprietary Unix. Oracle has made a significant commitment to Linux and that plus the IBM support makes Linux viable in the enterprise. But Microsoft wants a larger slice of the pie.

I'll explore Oracle on Linux at Oracle OpenWorld. Also, I hope the Hyperion acquisition by Oracle has been a success and that product enhancements have occurred.

Posted October 28, 2007 8:49 AM
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