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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!

July 2008 Archives

Keeping data for business intelligence and data-driven DSS consumes lots of energy. What is the BI community doing to conserve and use energy efficiently?

"According to energystar.gov, the total annual energy consumption for a typical commercial desktop is 354 kilowatt-hours and being left on in an idle state accounts for 90 percent of that number." Should managers turn off computers at the end of the work day?

"Worldwide, the electricity consumption for data center servers in 2005 was equivalent to 14 power plants ... The energy consumed by data center servers and related infrastructure equipment in the United States and worldwide doubled between 2000 and 2005 ... (McGee, 2007)." Do we need to invest in new technology?

Historical data for business inteligence is growing very fast globally. Our data needs are part of the problem. Recently I toured a medium sized data center. The problem is more than energy inefficient hardware. We need to recycle heat in a data center to use when the outside weather is cold in heated parts of the center. We need to shade cooling units from direct sun and high summertime outside temperatures. We need better insulation in the structures. We need to use energy efficient lighting.

Data Centers consume about 1.5% of all power use in the United States, approximately 60kwh/year. Chris Preimesberger has an article "Green IT Growth" in the July 7, 2008 eWeek. So what does Chris and eWeek recommend?

1) evaluate new servers for power consumption,

2) eliminate unused servers, turn on power management,

3) improve site infrastructure,

4) consolidate servers,

5) use direct liquid cooling when possible.

The BI and data-driven DSS community of users and consultants need to lead the way.


McGee, M. K., "Data Center Energy Consumption Has Doubled Since 2000,"
InformationWeek, February 15, 2007, http://www.informationweek.com/news/management/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=197006210 .

Preimesberger, C., "Green IT Growth," eWeek, July 7, 2008, pp. 42-48, www.eweek.com.

Ramirez, R., "Computer energy consumption explored," Spartan Daily, Issue date: 3/7/07,

Technorati Tags: green BI, Business Intelligence, Decision Support

Posted July 28, 2008 8:56 AM
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My cell phone service is with Verizon. I do not have a data service. Why? I don't travel enough to justify a data service. But I want an iPhone toy. Why? I want to try all of the new apps that are becoming available for decision support.

Well my wife Carol, who handles the finances for the family web businesses and for my consulting, is skeptical about any real need on my part. So to do a review Apple will need to provide me with a loaner. So all the Apple execs who believe in managerial use of the iPhone who are reading this, please email me (power@dssresources.com) so we can arrange a test drive.

PS: I am sure my colleagues on the BI network will participate in a trial as well.

Technorati Tags: iPhone, Business Intelligence, Decision Support

Posted July 17, 2008 7:50 AM
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My jet lag is almost corrected. On Friday morning, July 4th, I listened to Tung Bui (U Hawaii) on the question "Is DSS research running out of steam or ready to perk?". Tung's web page is http://itm.shidler.hawaii.edu/ITMBui.html .

What was Tung's answer? Maybe ready to perk ...Tung is most excited about research possibilities related to using virtual environments for advanced modeling. He attended my talk on training managers to use Second Life to support distributed decision making. Thanks for the comments Tung.

My sense is that a big infusion of research money on virtual worlds will stimulate tremendous research related to advanced decision support systems. Let's see what the typical funding agencies and corporations do with targeting funds.

So overall a good conference, thanks to Conference Chair Pascale Zaraté and the program and organizing committees.

Also, on the virtual world front. Google has a new virtual world in beta testing, check http://www.lively.com . I activated an account and created an avatar and started creating my first meeting room. The approach is different than Second Life, and in many ways easier for new users because it is so limited right now, eg., no building tools for regular users, few choices for avatars. We shall see what happens. The client runs in Internet Explorer so that is a plus compared to Second Life. My biggest complaint is the slow performance. It took almost 4 minutes for the Superhero HQ room to load for me. Navigating is also a problem. For some reason my avatar looked like a girl so I changed to John Doe.

Are virtual worlds the future of decision support?

Technorati Tags: lively.com, Business Intelligence, Decision Support

Posted July 10, 2008 10:52 AM
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Hello from Toulouse. Monday, June 30, 2008, I arrived here for the IFIP TC8/WG8.3 Working Conference on Collaborative Decision Making. I am blogging fron a small Internet cafe in a self serve photocopy store. The charge is small, 1 euro per hour, but I am struggling with the French keyboard. For example, "q" is where "a" should be and in general it is good that I am basically a "hunt and peck" keyboarder and not a touch typist.

So what am I learning and doing?

On Tuesday, July 1, I attended a pre-conference workshop conducted by Patrick Humphreys and Carol Lorac (London School of Economics), I especially enjoyed Carol's discussion of using images and sounds to convey information and stimulate creativity in collaborative spaces.

Wednesday morning, Robert Winter (St. Galllen) delivered a keynote on Enterprise-wide Information Logistics to start the conference. No direct connection to collaborative decision making, but moving data around in and between organizations is something we need to better understand and perform for data-driven decision support. I had met Robert at a Teradata conference and he makes a good case for how important his topic is for managers and researchers.

My presentation of a paper coauthored with Susan Wurtz, "Designing and Delivering Training to Enable Managers to Use the SL Environment to Support Organizational Decision-Making", seemed to go well. The university, Manufacture des Tabacs, blocks peer to peer file sharing so I could not demonstrate Second Life, but I showed the Decision Support World YouTube video to help people better understand collaboration in a multiuser virtual world.

Following lunch, I attended a number of domain specific sessions. The program is online at http://www.irit.fr/CDM08/. At 18 hundred hours, we had a welcome reception at the City Hall (Capitole) and a Toulouse Guided Tour. Then I had a quiet dinner at La Cantina des Blachers with Gloria Phillips-Wren (Loyola) and Mary Daly (Cork). The conversation, food and wine was excellent.

This morning, July 3, Leif Edvinsson gave a keynote on intellectual capital and knowledge navigation. Leif tries to be provocative and stimulating and sometimes succeeds. I am still not persuaded we can quantify, encourage or develop meaningful "intellectual capital" in companies or countries. Leif is a true believer however and he tries to persuade us it is important. Somehow again the link to collaboration was lost. Does colaboaration increase intellectual capital and if so how.

After talks on mobile decision support and enjoyable lunch conversation with Tung Bui (Hawaii), I made my way here to check email and blog. Time to return to sessions and the conference dinner this evening.

A bientot,

Technorati Tags: collaborative decision making, Business Intelligence, Decision Support

Posted July 3, 2008 6:01 AM
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