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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!

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.


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

Technorati Tags: Need BI, Business Intelligence, Decision Support

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Posted June 9, 2008 11:28 AM
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