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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!

May 2008 Archives

Decision support data and systems, including pricing and forecasting models, usually are very important and must be secured against inappropriate use and theft. What are potential sources of risk?

Recently, Michael Hickins had an article in eWeek.com (May 29, 2008) titled "10 Ways Your Employees Pose a Security Risk for Your Organization." When I got the email what caught my attention was the teaser line "From using unauthorized wireless devices to frolicking around in virtual worlds, workers can unwittingly unleash havoc on their company's IT infrastructure." I was and am unsure how frolicking around in a virtual world can unleash havoc for IT.

The 10 risks cited include: 1) USB Flash Drives, 2) Laptops, 3) P2P, 4) Web Mail, 5) Wi-Fi, 6) Smart Phones, 7) Collaboration Tools, 8) Social Networks, 9) Unauthorized Software Updates and 10) Virtual Worlds. Hickins has misidentified the risks.

Why? 1) Clearly flash drives are a problem for data theft but they have little impact on IT infrastructure. 2) Laptops again create data theft and model-driven DSS risks, but won't impact IT infrastructure. 3) Peer to peer (P2P) does create some load problems and risks for decision support. 4) Web mail is valuable even though data theft risks are real. Any external email capability can facilitate data theft. 5) Wi-Fi properly configured should present no threat. 6) Smart phones pose the same risk as laptops. 7) Collaboration tools have almost zero risk. 8) A social network can create professional connections. The risk to IT infrastructure is limited. 9) Yes, clearly any unauthorized IT software update activity is a major problem. 10) Virtual worlds can distract people from work, but virtual world can support decision making.

What do you think? What about risks like hacking and unauthorized use? Do physical risks pose an equal danger? Does IT infrastructure fail more from ineptness of IT staff or actions of disgruntled staff?


Hickins, M., "10 Ways Your Employees Pose a Security Risk for Your Organization," eWeek.com, May 29, 2008, URL: http://www.eweek.com/c/a/Security/10-Ways-Your-Employees-Pose-a-Security-Risk-for-Your-Organization/?kc=EWKNLEDP052908A .

Technorati Tags: DSS security, Business Intelligence, decision support

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Posted May 31, 2008 5:50 PM
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I received an email from DMReview Webcast Direct about attending a webcast titled "Performance Analytics: Next Generation Healthcare Dashboards ... Now". I have attended webcasts over the past few years and most get very one sided and vendor specific. That clearly seems the case for this one.

The webcast is June 4, 2008 at 2 p.m. ET. The pitch is a case study.

"The most competitive healthcare facilities are realizing the benefits of user friendly, visual performance analytics that provide a complete view of critical business information. Join Cleveland Clinic and Business Objects to see a live Web seminar illustrating how Cleveland Clinic is currently using their performance analytic solutions to visually understand their business with performance dashboards and interactive business models. Discussion Topics:
• Best practices in leveraging visual performance analytics and dashboards
• How healthcare providers and payers are leveraging this information today
• How to add visual performance analytics to documents, spreadsheets and presentations
• Empowering end-users. "

The problem with lowering healthcare costs is only indirectly addressed by visualization, performance dashboards and interactive models. The key is figuring out the performance metrics that really will improve efficiency and effectiveness. Bad metrics lead to bad dashboards and bad models. So what are the metrics for healthcare administrative decision support?

1. Professional staffing levels by department and average cost?
2. Average cost of care per patient?
3. Utilization of hospital beds?
4. Staffing percentages and average cost by category, support, administrative, professional
medical, professional other?
5. Monthly operations cost trends, energy, supplies, food?
6. Donations, charitable contributions monthly and historical average?
7. Medicare reimbursement prior month versus budget?
etc., etc.

Let's discuss the metrics before we get excited about the display and the tools.

Posted May 26, 2008 9:17 AM
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Market size and market share hinges on defining the market for business intelligence information and analyses. Analysts do not agree on the scope of the business intelligence market. I take a broad, inclusive approach and define data-driven decision support software and services as the appropriate focus.

So how large is the global data-driven decision support software and services market in terms of annual sales? And what is the anticipated growth of the market?

According to a release from AMR at DSSResources.com, "Global spending on business intelligence and performance management applications will reach $57.1B in 2008 ..." AMR Research sees U.S. BI/PM market growing 4.2% in 2008 (see http://dssresources.com/news/2502.php).

Contrast that with Mary Hayes Weier's estimate of a USD $7 billion dollar market for BI discussed in my April 27, 2008 blog post. What is the reality?

From the numbers I have seen over the years and from looking at vendor revenue numbers, USD $7 billion is much too low for the data-driven decision support market size, but USD $57 billion seems very high. I estimate a USD $15-20 billion dollar market. As far as growth, I think the growth rate is about 5% and it should be much higher in future years if companies want to remain competitive.

Let's see what my friends and colleagues on the BI network think.

Posted May 16, 2008 9:47 AM
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