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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!

June 2008 Archives

Brian Prince wrote an analysis in eWeek of June 16, 2008 titled "DB2 at 25". Time flies when you are having fun. I was a new Assistant Professor at University of Maryland in College Park when DB2 was released. My database course at UW-Madison had been based on Date's book and I had heard of Oracle, but all of a sudden IBM had a relational database product. Just as IBM legitimized the PC so too with relational databases.

Prior to 1983, we had data-driven DSS, but the database component was small and specialized. Perhaps data was in an array accessed by APL or data was in a networked or hierarchical database. Without RDBMS and parallel processing we would have very different data-driven decision support today.

According to Wikipedia, "The name DB2 was first given to the Database Management System or DBMS in 1983 when IBM released DB2 on its MVS mainframe platform. Prior to this, a similar product was named SQL/DS on the VM mainframe. The earlier System 38 platform also contained a relational DBMS. System Relational, or System R, was a research prototype developed in the 1970s. DB2 has its roots back to the beginning of the seventies when Dr. E.F. Codd, working for IBM, described the theory of relational databases and in June of 1970 published the model for data manipulation."

"In mid 2006, IBM announced "Viper," which is the codename for DB2 9 on both distributed platforms and z/OS. DB2 9 for z/OS was announced in early 2007. IBM claims that the new DB2 will be the first relational database to store XML "natively". Other enhancements include OLTP-related improvements for distributed platforms, business intelligence/data warehousing-related improvements for z/OS. ..."

Happy birthday!

References

Codd, E.F., "A Relational Model of Data for Large Shared Data Banks". Communications of the ACM 13 (6): 1970, pp. 377–387.

Prince, B., "DB2 at 25," eWeek, Vol. 25, No. 19, June, 16, 2008, p. 26.

Wikipedia, "Edgar F. Codd," URL http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edgar_F._Codd .

Wikipedia, "IBM DB2," URL http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IBM_DB2 .


Posted June 26, 2008 1:05 PM
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As part of my Iowa Metaverse project (IowaMetaverse.com), I created a Ning. Ning is a Web 2.0 tool for creating "your own social network for anything". Supposedly Ning was a made-up word that does mean "peace" in Mandarin Chinese. Some of the Web 2.0 crowd talk about "ning ing" too.

The website was very easy to set up using the templates and so far it is free and advertising supported. So I had no costs to set up the network other than my time. The URL is IowaMetaverse.ning.com . The Iowametaverse ning includes photos, discussion board, hopefully videos, mashups ...

If you are an Iowan, a friend of an Iowan or former Iowan and are in Second Life or want to be, join my Ning. It is open for viewing.

Will the Ning (http://www.ning.com/)help in making decisions and building the Second Life Iowa community? I think so. More later as the experiment continues.

I will be traveling to Paris and Toulouse starting Saturday, June 28. My plan is a quick stop in Paris to see Tour Eiffel then fly to Toulouse to attend the IFIP working group 8.3 decision support systems conference. Check www.irit.fr/CDM08. I should be back in Cedar Falls by July 7, 2008.


Posted June 24, 2008 10:33 AM
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Tom Hoffman has an interesting article (June 17, 2008) in Computerworld titled "Is Google your next data center? Cloud computing is changing the way we think of the IT department".

We all need to ask: Is owning and operating a data warehouse mission critical? Do we want operation of a data warehouse to be a core competancy?

My general position is that decision support IS mission critical for any organization. Owning and operating a data warehouse may NOT be.

The world of IT is changing so quickly.

Reference

Hoffman, T., "Is Google your next data center?" Computerworld, June 17, 2008, URL
http://www.computerworld.com/action/article.do?command=viewArticleBasic&articleId=9097258&source=NLT_AM&nlid=1


Posted June 17, 2008 6:26 AM
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In the May 19, 2008 eWeek, the cover article was titled "10 IT Problems You May Not Know You Have". Problem number 9 was "You lack BI". eWeek Labs identified 10 cost- and productivity-robbing problems. I agree many companies need some or better data-driven decision support systems to provide various business inteligence information. Sadly I think Cameron Sturdevant, the author of the BI comments, did a horrible job making a case for the need for more and better decision support.

Sturdevant begins "BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE IS NOT new: Large enterprises, especially in regulated industries such as finance and health care, have used BI tools including data warehouses for years." Using data warehouses and data-driven decision support is so much more wide spread than finance and health care and those are not the most sophisticated systems. When I think of applications, I think of retail, customer affinity programs in airlines and entertainment like gambling, cable TV and cell phones, so many industries. Also, using historical data for decision making is widespread.

Next we read "Midsize and smaller organizations are about to find that they may have a competitive problem if they aren't ready to implement these technologies, too." Give me a break Sturdevant, the problem already exists. Every organization needs access to better quality data to support decision making. This is not a "may have" situation.

In 237 words, Sturdevant shows we need to do a better job of educating some members of the industry press! He ends "A successful marriage of technology and business means making a commitment to discovering any hidden areas of business ignorance that reside in IT, as well as ensuring that technology is put in the service of supporting business success."

His analysis is so 20th Century. The problem of modern data-driven decision support is not IT ignorance. The 21st Century problem is getting superior systems that create real advantages. Decision support is a strategy enabler and key driver of business success if done correctly; an enormous drain on resources if mishandled.

Reference

eWeek Labs, "10 IT Problems You May Not Know You Have," eWeek, Vol. 25, No. 16, May 19, 2008, pp. 33-38.

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Posted June 9, 2008 11:28 AM
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