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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, the Web-based knowledge repository about computerized systems that support decision making; the editor of; 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!

December 2008 Archives

Recently I signed a contract to serve as the Information Systems Collection Editor for Business Expert Press (

My goal will be to recruit authors who can prepare a "concise, academically reliable, yet no-nonsense applied book" on a specific Information Systems topic. These books will be 50 pages to a maximum of 150 pages in length -- focused, authoritative, and a fast read.

Over the next few years the goal is 40-50 titles in this collection. Please contact me with your ideas, email .

Some titles that I brainstormed include:

1. Understanding Data-driven Decision Support

2. Modern Decision Support

3. Practical Knowledge Management

4. Relational Database Basics

5. Creating Collaborative Supply Chains

6. Building a Real-time Enterprise

7. Designing and Building a Datawarehouse

8. Information Stewardship and Master Data Management

9. Designing an Information System

10. Managing the Information Systems Function

11. Managing Information Systems Projects

12. Requesting Proposals from Vendors

13. Renovating an Information Systems Architecture

14. Using Virtual Worlds for Decision Support

15. Implementing Enterprise Resource Planning

16. Adoption and Diffusion of Inormation Technology

17. Using Information Technology in Health Care

18. Evaluating Information System User Interfaces

19. Outsourcing Information Systems

20. Business Performance Management

21. Decision and Process Automation

22. Information Systems Security

23. Implementing Accounting Information Systems

24. Social Networking

25. Implementing Web Services

26. Using Open Source Software in the Enterprise

27. Mobile Computing

28. Electronic Government Applications

29. Strategic Information Systems

30. Role of the Chief Information Officer

31. Using Quantitative Models for Decision Support

Technorati Tags: Business Expert Press, Business Intelligence, Decision Support .

Posted December 23, 2008 6:24 AM
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In preparation for my talk on challenges of real-time decision support, I revisited the arguments of Davis and Meyer in BLUR. In their 1998 book, Davis and Meyer correctly identified three trends or forces in developed countries that were and are changing how businesses operate and that are creating BLUR. The forces are an increasing need for speed, increasing connectivity and a greater emphasis on intangibles. BLUR is the "meltdown" of traditional boundaries between products and services, and anything else!

Speed: Every aspect of business and the connected organization operates and changes in real time.

Connectivity: Everything is becoming electronically connected to everything else; products, people, companies, countries, everything.

Intangibles: Every offer has both tangible and intangible economic value. The intangible is growing faster.

These forces are stronger and are creating BLUR, real confusion. Davis and Meyer suggest ways organizations and individuals can adapt to, respond to, and become BLUR. That approach is wrong!

These forces are much more powerful today in 2008 than in 1998, and much harm has been done by accepting BLUR. My solution is to provide more, better, and innovative real-time decision support. We must see clearly. BLUR and these 3 forces are compounding the current financial crisis and may have created it. Speed, connectivity and intangibles have led many to make poor choices. Blurry vision is never good!

It will not be easy, but managers, regulators, and consumers need better real-time decision support to cope with BLUR and make better decisions. We need to deBLUR.

Davis, S. and C. Meyer, BLUR, Cambridge, MA: Perseus Books, 1998.

Technorati Tags: BLUR, Business Intelligence, Decision Support .

Posted December 14, 2008 11:02 AM
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Saturday, December 13, 2008, I will give a key note address on "Challenges of Real-Time Decision Support" at the AIS SIG DSS pre-ICIS workshop. The agenda is on the web at URL If you are in Paris, join us.

This year, 2008, marks the 50th anniversary of the first, sophisticated real-time decision support system. The SAGE (Semi-Automatic Ground Environment) Air Defense system project was begun in 1954 and the first "Direction Center" building went operational at McGuire Air Force Base in 1958.

The Semi-Automatic Ground Environment (SAGE) system was the first major real-time, computer-based command and control system.

"The SAGE system was fully deployed in 1963; the 24 SAGE Direction Centers and three SAGE Combat Centers were spread throughout the U.S. Each was linked by long-distance telephone lines to more than 100 interoperating air defense elements, requiring system integration on a scale previously unimagined. At the heart of each center was a new large-scale digital computer that had evolved from MIT's experimental Whirlwind computer of the 1950's. The largest real-time computer program of that time, it automated information flow, processed and presented data to 100 operator stations, and provided control information to the weapons systems. This processed information, including aircraft tracks and identification, was presented to operators on a cathode ray tube—one of the first uses of this device to display computer-generated data. In spite of this complexity, remarkable for its time, SAGE exceeded virtually all the original stringent requirements, and was continuously in operation for more than 25 years. (cf., Mitre)"

SAGE had an enormous impact on the decision support possibilities in 2008.


Technorati Tags: SAGE, Business Intelligence, Decision Support .

Posted December 10, 2008 8:32 AM
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