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                          DSS News
                    D. J. Power, Editor
             January 29, 2006 -- Vol. 7, No. 3

       A Free Bi-Weekly Publication of DSSResources.COM 
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      "Executive Dashboards" at DSSResources.COM

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Featured:

* Ask Dan! - What is involved in providing decision support for
global enterprises?
* DSS Conferences 
* What's New at DSSResources.COM
* DSS News Releases 

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Ask Dan!

What is involved in providing decision support for global
enterprises?

by Dan Power

The theme for the upcoming 9th International Conference for AIS SIG
DSS: the International Society for Decision Support Systems
(ICDSS2007.org) is "Decision Support for Global Enterprises". The
conference will be held in Kolkata, India, January 2-4, 2007. Papers
for the published conference book must be submitted by May 10, 2006
to info@icdss2007.org. Abstracts and papers for presentation should
be submitted by September 18, 2006.

Those of us involved with the conference are interested in leading
edge decision support systems and interesting research related to the
theme. The emphasis is on emerging enterprise decision making
processes and DSS, new infrastructure for decision making in
organizations and society, the role of Web technologies in decision
making, and emerging theories and practices for Web-based knowledge
management.

When one hears the term global enterprise, companies like IBM,
Microsoft, Coca Cola and Procter & Gamble come to mind. My local
newspaper, The Courier (www.wcfcourier.com), published its Annual
Progress Edition focused on the "Global Marketplace" Sunday, January
29, 2006. So over morning coffee I reexamined my ideas for this Ask
Dan!

Saul Shapiro, a neighbor and Courier Editor, summarized the special
feature by noting "our quest was to find businesses in the Cedar
Valley adapting to the changes in the global marketplace." Various
feature articles focused on Wayne Engineering a manufacturer of
garbage trucks, Engineered Products a manufacturer of engine filters,
Fox River Mills a manufacturer of athletic socks, Doefer Companies a
manufacturer of custom automation equipment, Delta Industries a
manufacturer of archery targets, Deere a manufacturer of farm
equipment, and Bertch Cabinet a manufacturer of custom kitchen
cabinets. The orientation was clearly on products versus services and
that reflects the historical economic orientation here in the Cedar
Valley. In one way or another all of these enterprises can be viewed
as global enterprises. Managers in each company seem to view markets
and operations from a global perspective. Some of the companies are
also culturally diverse or are moving in that direction. Managers in
all of these companies need to communicate with peers, partners,
suppliers and customers in various countries many miles from Cedar
Falls, Iowa. Chief Executive Officers of these firms located in the
Cedar Valley are at the center of economic networks that may be more
or less organized and coherent.

Shapiro writes "In his best-selling book, 'The World Is Flat: A Brief
History of the 21st Century,' New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman
contends new technology has leveled the global economic playing
field." Friedman visited the Cedar Valley in Fall 2005, but I chose
to turn down the invitation to his speech and a reception. Why? His
message seems simplistic and I didn't want to be one more face in the
crowd. 

Friedman is correct that major economic and cultural changes are
occurring on a global scale and perhaps these changes are more
important in the long run than the upheaval in Islamic nations and
global terrorism, BUT the world is still ROUND! Because of improved
communications technologies and the Internet perceptually the world
seems smaller and more homogeneous, but it is still a medium-sized
planet with diverse flora and fauna circling the sun. Globalization
refers to the increasingly world-wide integration of markets for goods
and services and does not necessarily imply political change or an
increasing domination of global economic institutions. Whether you
agree with me or Friedman improving decision support for global
enterprises is important if they are to remain competitive. Also, the
focus needs to be on much more than communications-driven DSS.

Let's examine what makes a global enterprise different from most
other organizations and then examine how those characteristics impact
the provisioning of DSS. 

A major difference between global enterprises and localized
enterprises is geographically distributed employees and facilities.
The more globally distributed the enterprise, the more complex the
potential range of interconnections and information needs. A
corporation, a non-governmental organization, a global organization
like the World Bank or a nation state, may have a central
headquarters, but decision making may be more or less decentralized.
The more centralized the decision making that is desired or required
the more sophisticated the decision support of ALL types that is
needed.

Another major difference between global enterprises and localized
enterprises is the diversity in the composition of the workforce and
cultural differences among decision makers. Diversity and cultural
differences can impact decision making in both positive and negative
ways and computerized decision support systems need to reinforce the
positive impacts such as more diverse views on issues and mitigate
negative impacts associated with cultural stereotypes.

Finally, managers of global enterprise have perceived a need to
provide their goods and services in many diverse markets and source
their inputs of raw materials, labor and services based upon cost,
quality and availability rather than proximity. This globalization of
production has become a core value in the firm and a driver of
strategy. Hence DSS need to be designed and built to support the
strategy.

Communications-driven DSS

In a global enterprise it is especially important to use technology
to facilitate collaboration and communication. Communications
technologies are central to supporting decision-making. Technologies
include: LANs, WANs, Internet, ISDN, Virtual Private Networks. Tools
used include groupware, chat, Videoconferencing, and Bulletin Boards.

Data-driven DSS

Global enterprises generate data in many operational systems and the
only way to gain a "single version" of the truth is to create an
integrated decision support data store that is accessible to all
decision makers no matter where they happen to be physically located.


Document-driven DSS

Friedman argued one of the "flatteners" is workflow software. In an
earlier Ask Dan, the discussion was about BPM and DSS. Business
process management (BPM) is another name for workflow software. Such
software can computerize the flow of work in business processes. We
can create survey software, web-based forms, and build
document-driven DSS for requests and approvals. A web-based workflow
system can potentially help global enterprises manage and improve
decision processes. At e-workflow.org, a workflow is defined as
"automation of a business process, in whole or part, during which
documents, information or tasks are passed from one participant to
another for action, according to a set of procedural rules." They
cite the following key benefits: improved efficiency, better process
control, improved customer service, more flexible re-design, and
streamlining and simplification of business processes. When documents
are a key part of a decision making process, paperless is "best" and
the only practical alternative in a global enterprise.

Knowledge-driven DSS

Knowledge refers to what one knows and understands. In a global
enterprise, knowledge can be especially hard to share and maintain.
Knowledge-driven DSS can expand the base of explicit knowledge in
global enterprises and facilitate distribution, access and retrieval
of such knowledge. 

Model-driven DSS

One might assume that model-driven DSS are the same in localized or
global enterprises, but in many cases such systems will differ in the
complexity of the quantitative model and in the demands placed upon the
user interface. For example, it may be necessary to rapidly convert
solutions into various currencies or to deal with widely differing
tax rates and tariffs.

Enterprise Architecture

Integrating decision support systems in an enterprise architecture
for a global enterprise remains challenging. A computing architecture
reflects the translation of the overall vision of an enterprise into
specific technology solutions. More work is needed to incorporate
decision support into an evolving distributed architecture.

If you want to discuss and debate these issues and share your
knowledge and research, then join me in Kolkata, India, January 2-4,
2007.

References

Friedman, T. L., The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the
Twenty-First Century, Farrar, 
Straus and Giroux, April 2005, ISBN: 0374292884.

Porter, K., "Guide to Globalization Issues," About.com,
http://globalization.about.com/od/whatisit/

Power, D. J., "How is BPM related to DSS?", DSS News, Vol. 6, No. 19,
August 28, 2005.

Shapiro, S., "The Courier's Annual Progress Edition: Cedar Valley a
portal to the world," Sunday, January 29, 2006,
wcfcourier.com/articles/2006/01/29/news/metro/
d8c9d6f2e5d5a02e862571050005ef97.txt

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 Purchase Dan Power's DSS FAQ book 
 83 frequently asked questions about computerized DSS 
 http://dssresources.com/dssbookstore/power2005.html 

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 DSS Conferences 

 1. ISCRAM2006, the Third International Conference on Information 
Systems for Crisis Response and Management, Newark, New Jersey, USA, 
at the New Jersey Institute of Technology from May 14-17, 2006.
Check http://www.iscram.org .

 2. ICKEDS 2006, the Second International Conference on Knowledge
Engineering and Decision Support, Lisbon, Portugal, May 9-12, 2006.
Check http://www.gecad.isep.ipp.pt/ICKEDS06/ .

 3. CIDMDS 2006, International Conference on Creativity and
Innovation in Decision Making and Decision Support 
sponsored by IFIP WG 8.3, June 28th - July 1st 2006, London,
UK. Check http://www.ifip-dss.org/ .

 4. DEXA 2006, 17th International Conference on Database 
and Expert Systems Applications, September 4-8, 
2006, Krakow, Poland. Check http://www.dexa.org .

 5. ICDSS 2007, 9th International Conference on DSS, Jan. 2-4, 2007, 
Calcutta, India. Theme: Decision Support for Global Enterprises.
Check http://www.ICDSS2007.org . Papers due May 10, 2006.

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 Call for Nominations: AIS SIG DSS Award for Best Journal 
 Article 2005, nominations due March 15, 2006. 
 Check http://dssresources.com/news/1063.php .
 
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What's New at DSSResources.COM

01/20/2006 Posted an article by Alex Kirtland "Executive Dashboards".
Check the articles page.
 
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 Please tell your DSS friends about DSSResources.COM

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 DSS News Releases - January 14 to January 27, 2006
Read them at DSSResources.COM and search the DSS News Archive

01/25/2006 MicroStrategy recognizes five companies for excellence in
enterprise-class business intelligence.

01/23/2006 Experian leads market in providing customer intelligence
management.

01/23/2006 LiveOffice launches new IMConferencing website for small
businesses.

01/23/2006 Polycom integrates desktop and group video into IBM
Collaboration Solutions in technology demo at Lotusphere.

01/19/2006 MicroStrategy announces access to multidimensional data
sources.

01/18/2006 Oracle(R) marks a year of success, details milestones for
Oracle Fusion Architecture and Oracle Fusion applications.

01/18/2006 Mobile Healthcare Inc. launches Lifewatcher - the true
convergence of Internet and mobile disease management.

01/18/2006 Firm to offer near-real-time trade performance analysis.

01/18/2006 Factiva Search 2.0 revolutionizes search for business
information.

01/17/2006 Polycom Video Bridges honored by Frost and Sullivan,
Internet Telephony magazine and Video Conferencing Insight for
performance and market leadership.

01/17/2006 Business Objects and Salesforce.com to take World's
leading business intelligence solution on-demand on the AppExchange.

01/17/2006 Dress Barn selects Oracle(R) Retail Merchandising System
and Oracle Retail Data Warehouse.

01/17/2006 CMiC dashboard delivers business data to all project
stakeholders.

01/17/2006 Experian-Scorex's Fast Start(SM) scoring model selected by
Wescom Resources Group.

01/16/2006 MicroStrategy announces Barcelona, Spain as location for
Winter Symposium.

01/16/2006 Cognos offers new performance blueprint for the retail
industry.

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DSS News is copyrighted (c) 2006 by D. J. Power. Please send your 
questions to daniel.power@dssresources.com.

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