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                           DSS News
                    D. J. Power, Editor
           April 22, 2007 -- Vol. 8, No. 8

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Featured:

* Ask Dan: How will Web 2.0 impact design and development of decision
support systems? 
* DSS Conferences
* What's New at DSSResources.COM
* DSS News Releases

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Ask Dan!

How will Web 2.0 impact design and development of decision support
systems? 

by Dan Power
Editor, DSSResources.com

New information technologies drive innovation in computerized
decision support systems. My quick count suggests we are at DSS 7.0.
 
DSS 1.0 were built using timesharing systems. 

DSS 2.0 were built using minicomputers. 

DSS 3.0 were built using personal computers and tools like Visicalc,
Lotus and Excel. 

DSS 4.0 were built using DB2 and 4th generation languages.
 
DSS 5.0 were built using a client/server technology on LANs.

DSS 6.0 were built using large scale datawarehouses with OLAP
servers. 

DSS 7.0 were built using Web technologies. 

Has enough changed with Web 2.0 technologies that we are now
embarking on DSS 8.0? Are the Web 2.0 technologies really something
new? Based upon an examination of the Web 2.0 conference and expo site
(web2expo.com), some of the technologies/phenomena associated with Web
2.0 include: social networking applications, online mapping, portable
visual elements, mashups, syndication, tagging, open source, rich
Internet applications, Ruby on Rails, AJAX, Flex, Flash, LAMP, web
services, virtual worlds and the mobile web.

Claudia Imhoff in her blog on February 12, 2007 wrote "I recently
complained to my husband that I couldn't keep up with all the
marvelous and innovative ways that people are using technology these
days. Take Web 2.0 for example. Do you know what it means? Do you
understand the ramifications it generates? Do you see how you might
use it? Do you understand how YOU will influence it?" Claudia's
husband recommended watching Michael Wesch's video titled "Web 2.0 ...
The Machine is Us/ing Us" (4.33 min.) at YouTube
(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NLlGopyXT_g&NR=1). Wesch is an
Assistant Professor of Cultural Anthropology at Kansas State and is
primarily focused on the impacts of digital technology on human
interaction. 

Based on Claudia's recommendation and questions, I have watched
Wesch's video many times and visited the web sites he mentions. His
main message is the "machine" is us! With Web 2.0 form and content can
be separated, data can be exported, and it is now easier to upload
content to the web. Users of the Web are creating and organizing a
database-backed Web. In some unspecified way, the "machine" is
learning from our actions. Web 2.0 is "people sharing, trading,
collaborating." Somehow all of us are organizing and managing the
content of the web by our individual actions. Because of Web 2.0 we
supposedly need to rethink many things like copyright, authorship,
privacy and even love and ourselves. So its seems opportune to
"rethink" decision support and DSS.

Some of the Web 2.0 examples shown by Wesch include Blogger, flickr
maps, YouTube and Wikipedia. Flickr is probably the best online photo
management and sharing application and it may be useful to have
geotagged photos accessed from a map representation. Blogs are now
well accepted, but just because a new blog is created every half
second doesn't mean anyone really reads much in all of the blogs.
Claudia Imhoff's blog on the b-eye-network gets many "hits" or page
views. I check it periodically and do a quick scan. I also
occasionally read Jill Dyche's blog. I get RSS feeds from a few more
blogs. I quickly check the new topic and either scan or delete. I am
not a regular blog reader and I'm not currently a blogger. We've all
read the criticism of Wikipedia and YouTube. "And so it goes."

On April 11, 2007, Kurt Vonnegut died. He has always been one of my
favorite author's so I decided to reread his novel,
Slaughterhouse-Five (1969). It weaves together what seem like random
blog postings that when combined in a linear way by a great author
create a powerful novel. I'm unsure about where the great author or
the decision support designer fits in Michael Wesch's or Tim
O'Reilly's Web 2.0.

O'Reilly (2005) has been a major proponent of the Web 2.0 vision. He
identified seven principles: 1) the web as platform, 2) importance of
harnessing collective intelligence, 3) primacy of database management
and importance of owning data, 4) end of the software release cycle,
5) using lightweight programming models that allow for loosely coupled
systems, 6) ensuring software is not limited to a single device, and
7) creating rich user experiences. And so it goes.

When I recently visited flickr, I was amazed by all of the reader
comments. Who has time to read and write comments about other people's
photos. As far as social networking, I do have a Facebook page and a
linkedin page. BUT I'm not an active user. I have 9 friends in
Facebook. I joined to try it out and I can see how it can help one
keep up with the happenings in the lives of a few people one cares
about. I don't understand why I would ever want hundreds of Facebook
"friends". As far as linkedin, I was invited by Alexander Verharen,
Manager of the QAD Demo Center, a few years ago to join. I'm linked to
five additional people: Malini Jayaganesh, a Researcher at Monash
University, Willem Kossen an advisor at M&I/Partners, Alan See, at
Aberdeen Group, Ron Swift, Vice President Cross Industry Solutions
(Marketing) at Teradata and Mike Tully, President & CEO at Aerial
Services, Inc. Supposedly my network is 30% complete. LinkedIn is an
online network of more than 10 million people from around the world,
representing more than 130 industries. Please help me complete my
network by visiting http://www.linkedin.com/in/danpower. LINK TO ME
and write a recommendation for me.

So web 2.0 is about linking people, about sharing content, about
blogging. Because of XML, information is now in reusable containers or
repositories. The Internet with wired and wireless access has high
capacity bandwidth, is low cost to use and is universally accessible.
Because of AJAX and similar tools, Web users can now manipulate data,
not just retrieve data. Supposedly because of Web 2.0, users can do
things on the Web now that can not be done in any other way (Carton,
March 5, 2007).

This past week I have been trying to virtually attend the Web 2.0
conference. My attempt has not been successful. Very little video has
been available and what I did watch was of low quality. Few authors
have posted slides of their presentations, the photos are more
artistic than informative, the live twittering is boring. I did enjoy
Sharon Cordese's web posts using computer generated speech. Etelos is
a Diamond sponsor of the conference so I spent some time at the
company's web site. "Etelos provides on-demand, customizable Web
applications on the hosting environment that you choose. The Etelos
Ecosystem for developing and deploying on-demand applications is
revolutionizing the world of software distribution." I watched the ads
and demonstration and it seems like an easy to use and customize
application for companies that are involved in direct sales like
insurance agencies, software, and various luxury goods. "And so it
goes."

Danny Kolke, President and CEO of Etelos (www.etelos.com), argues
"all applications are based on content. When you are looking at a page
- it's just content." For data-driven decision support we need
structured data -- precontent. For model-driven DSS, we need access to
models that can be manipulated -- content creators. For
knowledge-driven DSS, we need access to knowledge and rules --
metacontent. Finally, we need communications capabilities for decision
support-- content creating and sharing. Web 2.0 technologies may help
with managing, accessing and using our decision support content.

The evolving technologies that seem most useful for creating a new
generation of DSS are associated with building rich Internet
applications (RIA). Web applications built with AJAX, Flex, etc. have
the features and functionality of traditional desktop applications.
With new client-side presentation-layer tools, we can use a slider to
change data and perform calculations without sending data back to the
server. These tools should help implement dashboards and improve
web-based charts. Social networking in organizations seems useful for
creating innovative communications-driven DSS. Tools like Wikipedia
may be the forerunners of novel document-driven DSS. Tag clouds may or
may not help DSS users interact with and understand a specific DSS. 

Tim Berners-Lee (2006) questioned if Web 2.0 is meaningful since many
of the technology components have been present since the creation of
the Web. He states "I think Web 2.0 is of course a piece of jargon,
nobody even knows what it means. If Web 2.0 for you is blogs and
wikis, then that is people to people. But that was what the Web was
supposed to be all along." He notes "I hope the Semantic Web will take
off so that basically all the data which is out there which you have
access to, to the Web pages, will now be available as data so you can
treat it as data." The semantic web is another topic for a future
column. "And so it goes."

In honor of Kurt Vonnegut, let's repeat the serenity prayer: "God
grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to
change the things I can, and wisdom always to tell the difference."
"And so it goes."

As always your comments, questions and suggestions are welcomed.

References

Carton, S., "Web 2.0: What Is It Really?" Cickz experts, March 5,
2007, http://www.clickz.com/showPage.html?page=3625146 .

Imhoff, C., "What is Web 2.0?" Business Intelligence Network,
February 12, 2007 at URL 
http://www.b-eye-network.com/blogs/imhoff/archives/2007/02/what_is_web_20.php

Laningham, S., developerWorks interviews: Tim Berners-Lee, recorded
7-28-2006, at URL
http://www-128.ibm.com/developerworks/podcast/dwi/cm-int082206.txt .

O'Reilly, T., "What Is Web 2.0: Design Patterns and Business Models
for the Next Generation of Software," OReillynet.com, 09/30/2005, at URL
http://www.oreillynet.com/pub/a/oreilly/tim/news/2005/09/30/what-is-web-20.html.

"Rich Internet application." Wikipedia, URL
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rich_Internet_application

Vonnegut, K., Slaughterhouse-Five, New York: Dell Publishing, 1969.

Wesch, M., "Web 2.0 ... The Machine is Us/ing Us" (4.33 min.),
YouTube, version of March 08, 2007, 
at URL http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NLlGopyXT_g&NR=1. 

PS: Alex Power, DSSResources.com Webmaster, will be covering the
MySQL Users Conference for DSS News, April 23-26, 2007 in Santa Clara,
California, check http://www.mysqlconf.com for more information on the
conference.

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DSS Conferences

1. MySQL Users Conference, April 23-26, 2007 Santa Clara,
California. Check http://www.mysqlconf.com .

2. ISCRAM 2007, May 13-16, 2007 Delft, The Netherlands. 
Check http://www.iscram.org .

3. MWAIS data warehousing workshop with Ron Swift, Friday 
morning, May 18, 2007, check http://mis.uis.edu/MWAIS2007/ .

4. Crystal Ball User Conference, May 21-23, 2007 Denver. 
Check http://www.crystalball.com/cbuc/index.html.

5. AMCIS 2007, Americas Conference on Information Systems,
Keystone, CO USA, August 9-12, 2007. SIG DSS mini-tracks.
Check http://www.biz.colostate.edu/amcis07/ .

6. DaWaK 2007, 9th International Conference on Data
Warehousing and Knowledge Discovery, Regensburg, Germany,
September 3-7, 2007. Check http://www.dexa.org/ .

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  83 frequently asked questions about computerized DSS 
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DSS News Releases - April 6 to April 20, 2007
Read them at DSSResources.COM and search the DSS News Archive

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04/18/2007 Oracle(R) outlines content management product roadmap.

04/18/2007 O'Reilly Media and CMP Technology announce Web 2.0 Expo
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04/12/2007 World's decision-makers gather to 'shape the future' at
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04/11/2007 Predictive modeling turns good intentions into measurable
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04/11/2007 SAS brings business intelligence to the IBM mainframe.

04/11/2007 Competing on velocity: real-time data is key to providing
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many industries.

04/10/2007 Online telescope customers convert at a significantly
higher rate when using DecisionStep's interactive product selection
module.

04/10/2007 2 in 3 small business owners say technology is important
to success of their businesses.

04/10/2007 Decision Dynamics' delivers business performance module in
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04/10/2007 Chesterfield County Police Department selects Attensity's
text analytics solution to fight crime.

04/09/2007 Oracle(R) Database 10g release 2 sets new decision support
benchmark record.

04/09/2007 Haley’s new business rules suite 6.0 maximizes
business users’ ability to manage, automate and enforce business
processes, policies and compliance.

04/09/2007 Hyperion joins 33 of its customers on Forbes.com list of
100 most trustworthy companies.

04/09/2007 IDC explores the future of email as it navigates through a
resurgence of spam and real-time market substitutes.

04/09/2007 Oco deploys business intelligence solution For
Dunkin’ Donuts in six weeks.

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