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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!

Readers know I have been working on DecisionSupportWorld.com and on a Second Life headquarters for Decision Support World and 2 major in-world decision support projects. So I read with interest the executive summary of Forrester's report "Getting Real Work Done In Virtual Worlds" (1/7/2008). Erica Driver, Paul Jackson and crew are definitely optimistic about the future of virtual worlds for decision support. The executive summary reads:

"Virtual worlds like Second Life, There.com, and more business-focused offerings are on the brink of becoming valuable work tools. Major companies and public-sector organizations — such as BP, IBM, Intel, and the US Army — are investing heavily in virtual world technologies. But it's still early, pioneering days. You've practically got to be a gamer to use most of these tools — setup can be arduous, navigating in a 3-D environment takes practice, and processing and bandwidth requirements remain high. But within five years, the 3-D Internet will be as important for work as the Web is today. Information and knowledge management professionals should begin to investigate and experiment with virtual worlds. Use them to try to replicate the experience of working physically alongside others; allow people to work with and share digital 3-D models of physical or theoretical objects; and make remote training and counseling more realistic by incorporating nonverbal communication into same-time, different-place interactions."

The 24 page report costs US $279.00.


So how did Driver and Jackson reach these conclusions? I haven't met them in Second Life.

"Forrester interviewed 14 vendor and user companies, including Forterra Systems, Gemini Mobile Technologies, IBM, Icarus Studios, Kaneva, Linden Lab, PA Consulting, Qwaq, SAP, Sun Microsystems, Unisfair, Virtual Heroes, Vivox, and VRWorkplace." Definitely a small sample!

What did they get right? It is time for major companies with distributed operations to seriously experiment with using Second Life for decision support.

What did they get wrong? There is a learning curve, but you certainly do NOT need to be "a gamer to use most of these tools". Setup is a bit time consuming because the client is large, updates are still too frequent, bandwidth should not be a problem in most global companies. Corporate IT people can easily handle set for Second Life. Training managers to use Second Life will help and an in-world mentor is a big plus. We can do this!

Visit me (aka Leinad Meriman) in Second Life at
Decision Support World

Also check Decision Support World

Thanks to George Kurtz aka Butch Dae for forwarding me Virtual Worlds Weekly, Volume 2, Issue 2, January 15, 2008, which had a story on the Forrester report.

Posted January 16, 2008 7:09 AM
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