DSS News
                       by D. J. Power
             September 9, 2001 -- Vol. 2, No. 19
         A Bi-Weekly Publication of DSSResources.COM

   Check the article by Nathan Rudyk at DSSResources.COM


* DSS Wisdom
* Ask Dan! - What is the job of a decision support analyst? How does it 
differ from a DSS analyst?
* What's New at DSSResources.COM
* DSS News Stories


This newsletter has more than 630 subscribers from more than 50 
countries. Please forward this newsletter to people interested in 
Decision Support Systems or suggest they visit DSSResources.COM.


Join us at IFIP WG 8.3 Conference on Decision Support Systems (DSS),
Decision Support in the Internet Age, Cork, Ireland, July 4-7, 2002. 
Paper submissions due November 30, 2001. Check


DSS Wisdom

Aaron Wildavsky studied budgeting and the use of information in 
organizations. His findings emphasize the need for Decision Support 
Systems and the difficulty in constructing them. In a 1983 article, 
Wildavsky concludes "The very structure of organizations -- the units, 
the levels, the hierarchy -- is designed to reduce data to manageable 
and manipulatable proportions. ... at each level there is not only 
compression of data but absorption of uncertainty.  It is not the things 
in themselves but data-reduction summaries that are passed up until, at 
the end, executives are left with mere chains of inferences.  Whichever 
way they go, error is endemic:  If they seek original sources, they are 
easily overwhelmed; if they rely on what they get, they are easily 

from Wildavsky, A., "Information as an Organizational Problem," Journal 
of Management Studies, January, 1983, p. 29.


Ask Dan! 

What is the job of a decision support analyst? How does it differ from a 
DSS analyst?

A few years ago, I saw a large ad for a Decision Support Analyst in a 
Sunday Newspaper.  A major hospital wanted to hire someone who knew SPSS 
to prepare studies and analyses for administrators and outside agencies. 
This job function is certainly important, but it wasn't what came 
immediately to mind for me when I heard the phrase "Decision Support 
Analyst". Rather I'd been using the term to describe an Information 
Systems specialist who helps with building and using Decision Support 
Systems.  In this Ask Dan!, I'll try to provide some details and my 
conclusions about two job titles: Decision Support Analyst and DSS 

In some companies, Decision Support Analysts are support staff "users" 
of Decision Support Systems who prepare special studies for middle-level 
and senior managers. These analysts may use a Data-Driven DSS to conduct 
an ad hoc query that is then analyzed with a statistical package, Excel 
or a desktop OLAP tool. They may build small Model-Driven DSS and 
write-up the results of the analysis prepared with the DSS. 

A Decision Support Analyst may conduct various types of analyses 
including cost-benefit analyses, financial analyses, and feasibility 
studies. A Decision Support Analyst documents analytical findings and 
conducts internal and external research.

An example may help clarify the Decision Support Analyst job and job 
description. At SUNY Upstate Medical University, the Decision Support 
Systems group "provides hospital departments with the tools, technology, 
and applications to access clinical, financial, and administrative 
information on a timely basis. The development of an enterprise data 
repository makes information available to support the hospital's 
critical planning, management, and decision-making activities. Decision 
Support analysts assist departmental users in determining the 
information necessary to satisfy specific business requirements."

What is the job of a DSS Analyst (Decision Support System Analyst)? For 
starters, a DSS Analyst is usually the intermediary or liaison between 
users and DSS developers. He/she may work as a member of a DSS 
application support team. A DSS Analyst often works gathering 
requirements, analyzing solutions, writing specifications, maintaining 
product information as well as assisting in training and documentation 
support. A Decision Support System Analyst often works with users to 
define and document system requirements for Decision Support Systems. A 
DSS Analyst may help redesign business processes to better use a 
computerized Decision Support System. Some DSS Analysts manage a 
specific DSS or ensure data integrity in a focused data mart like a 
customer data mart. 

Well, the job descriptions for these two job titles are not 
standardized, but my generalization is that a Decision Support Analyst 
is a staff specialist who uses DSS and prepares special studies for 
decision makers and a DSS Analyst is a technical analyst who serves as a 
liaison with actual and potential users of a DSS and may help build a 
specific DSS with technical experts and IS/IT "toolsmiths". It works for 
me ... what do you think about the appropriateness of the tasks and 
duties I have associated with each of these important jobs?


What's New at DSSResources.COM

09/02/2001 Posted article by Rudyk, N., "Delivering Information Outreach 
to the Masses: A Critical Requirement of Today’s "Insight Economy"", 
DSSResources.COM, 09/02/2001. 

09/01/2001 Posted case by Business Objects Staff, "Shell Delivers the 
New Face of Fuel Retailing with Business Objects", Business Objects, 
Inc., 2000, URL DSSResources.COM/cases/shell.htm.

08/26/2001 Updated Site Map.


DSS News Stories - August 24 to September 9, 2001

Note: We will rotate news stories for August into the Subscriber Zone on 
September 11, 2001.

09/06/2001 Artemis experts identify project management obstacles and 

09/05/2001 CrossWorlds® Software announced that Union Financière de 
France selected its Business Integration Management System.

09/04/2001 Roadmap Technologies released HeatWave, an expert system that 
helps executives analyze effects of weather on sales.

09/04/2001 LOG-NET provides Supply Chain Execution Solutions for Dollar 
Tree Stores.

09/04/2001 Imation signed agreement with Optiant to implement Supply 
Chain Decision Support.

09/03/2001 Hewlett-Packard and Compaq agree to merge; create an $87 
billion global technology company.

08/30/2001 Crystal Decisions and Ascential Software announced a 
marketing partnership for an end-to-end business intelligence solution.

08/29/2001 A&P selected Vality INTEGRITY to help manage inventory and 
supplier data and reduce procurement costs.

08/29/2001 Optiant sponsors executive seminar series.

08/28/2001 U.S. Geological Survey chose the Informatica data integration 
platform to extract and integrate critical data for analysis from its 
water-resources programs.

08/28/2001 Datawatch began shipping ES Cube, a web enabled module for 

08/28/2001 SPSS announced SmartViewer Web Server 3.0.

08/27/2001 The Modeling Agency (TMA) offers new course on leveraging Web 

08/27/2001 DBMiner Technology introduced DBMiner Analytical System 3.0.

08/27/2001 MapInfo announced launch of Routing J Server v2.0 for 
improving drive time and routing efficiency.


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