DSS News
                     D. J. Power, Editor
              September 15, 2002 -- Vol. 3, No. 19
         A Bi-Weekly Publication of DSSResources.COM

Check the article by M. BenBassat on "Customer Satisfaction"

This newsletter is dedicated to the memory of those who died or were 
injured in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.


 * Ask Dan! - Is it feasible to track all visitors to the United States 
and then build a Data-driven DSS?
 * Spreadsheet-based DSS Tip - Use Data Forms
 * What's New at DSSResources.COM
 * DSS News Releases


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Ask Dan!
by Daniel J. Power

Is it feasible to track all visitors to the United States and then build 
a Data-driven DSS? 

The anniversary of the attack on the World Trade Center and Pentagon has 
just passed.  In response to that attack, the U.S. Congress required 
Attorney General John Ashcroft and the U.S. Immigration and 
Naturalization Service (INS) to develop a plan for a National Security 
Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS). The first phase of NSEERS was 
implemented by the U.S. INS at selected ports of entry throughout the 
United States on September 11, 2002. After an initial 20-day period for 
testing and evaluating the system, on October 1, 2002 all remaining 
ports of entry -- including land, air and sea -- will have the system in 
place (see 08/12/2002 release). This Ask Dan! discusses the transaction 
processing system called NSEERS and the prospects for decision support 
that may result from implementing the system.

When fully implemented NSEERS will be operational at more than 100 
airports and 200 land and sea ports of entry. In a June 6, 2002 
statement, Attorney General Ashcroft called the initiative "a vital line 
of defense in the war against terrorism." Ashcroft outlined three 
components of NSEERS:

-- Fingerprinting and photographing at the U.S. border.
-- Periodic registration of aliens who stay in the United States 30 days 
or more.
-- Exit controls that will help the Immigration and Naturalization 
Service to remove those aliens who overstay their visas.

Ashcroft asserted on June 6 that "with new technologies, we are able to 
perform a quick fingerprint check at the border that takes only three 
minutes to complete." 

NSEERS is a massive information systems project.  For both political and 
technology reasons it seems that the system may not capture the same 
data for all visitors.

In assessing the feasibility of the system, I developed a list of 

1) What decision support is needed?

2) What data should be stored by NSEERS?

3) How large would a comprehensive database need to be to track all 
visitors to the U.S.?

4) What architecture would one create for real-time data entry and 
access to information in such a database? 

I'll briefly share my answers to these questions, feel free to suggest 
additions and to challenge the assumptions I have made.

First, decision support is needed at the border to determine if a person 
should be admitted to the U.S. and in some cases allowed to leave. 
Currently the plan does not provide for gathering and checking 
fingerprints and taking photos of all visitors to the United States. My 
guess is that the technology is not in place for such an ambitious 
undertaking. Political concerns may also be slowing down such universal 
data gathering. Decision support is also needed by INS and Law 
Enforcement agents to enforce immigration and visa regulations. Finally, 
decision support is needed to help prevent terrorist attacks. Knowing 
what types of analyses and reports will help law enforcement  spot 
illegal activity is not clear.  How can suspicious patterns in entry and 
exit be spotted? What exception reports should be available and to whom?

Decision support capabilities will need to be developed. More decision 
support is need than lists of people who are unlawfully in the U.S. and 
many officials in INS, at U.S. embassies and at law enforcement agencies 
will need to query a National Security Entry-Exit Decision Support 

Second, what data should be stored? Clearly some personal data -- name, 
address, citizenship, date of birth, height, weight -- needs to be 
stored; a photo and a thumb print. Then a "transaction log" of entries 
and exits needs to be maintained.  For many visitors they will have only 
two entries in the log in a calendar year - an entry and an exit. Some 
frequent visitors at the Canadian or Mexican borders might enter and 
exit 5 times a week.

Third, the database would be very large.  The transaction processing 
database will need to be loaded regularly (probably daily) into a data 
warehouse for analysis and decision support. According to FBI materials, 
it takes about 45 KB to store a single fingerprint. A photo of visitors 
would take about 10 KB. Personal information would take about 5 KB. For 
35 million visitors, each at 60 KB of storage, that would equal 2.1 
Terabytes per year. A data warehouse would probably needed to store 5-10 
years of data.

Fourth, the architecture will require communication with a centralized 
database for fingerprint comparisons, but it is possible to store some 
data at each port of entry and upload it in batches. Data entry hardware 
for NSEERS needs to be in place and
network connections are needed at each port of entry. Multiple input 
devices will be needed at many ports of entry. Maintenance of the 
hardware at ports of entry can probably be outsourced. The software and 
hardware will need to scale to manage a very large database. The TPS 
database will grow rapidly and the query demands could become very 
demanding on the system once it has 5 to 10 million visitor records. 

Is it feasible to track all visitors? YES. Will NSEERS be an easy 
TPS/DSS project to implement? NO. Implementation and OPERATION of the 
system must be managed with care andd sensitivity. Visitors to the 
United States must be treated as guests and not as potential criminals 
and potential violators of our immigration laws. A good model for INS to 
emulate from the business sector is the customer relationship 
transaction and decision support system at Harrah's Entertainment.  
Harrah's tracks more than 15 million guests in its system.  That is only 
about one fourth to one half the number of people that may be in NSEERS, 
but the scale is similar. INS will probably need to issue guest cards 
and INS may want to use the Mastercard/Visa system and card readers for 
periodic registration of visitors who are here for more than 30 days 
like international students.


Teradata staff, "Harrah's Entertainment, Inc.," NCR-Teradata, 2000, at 

U.S. Department Of Justice Press Release, "U.S. Proposes Registration 
System for Selected Foreign Visitors", June 5, 2002. 

U.S. Department Of Justice Press Release, "Foreign Visitors to U.S. Will 
Face New Entry-Exit System", August 12, 2002. 

 Visit DSS News Sponsors - and

Spreadsheet-based DSS Tip

Use Data Forms

You probably do not want users to add data in a spreadsheet-based, 
data-driven DSS, but a data form can still be useful in the design of 
the system. A data form can assist a user in finding records
of interest. From a cell in a data list, a user can click on Data on the 
menu bar and then click Form and Criteria. The data form changes so all 
fields are blank and "Criteria" appears in the upper-right
corner. Type a value in a field and then click on Find Next. You may 
want to record a Macro that attaches to a "Search" button. With a macro 
users of the DSS do not need to use the menu commands. 


What's New at DSSResources.COM

09/14/2002 Posted article by BenBassat, M. "Customers can't get no 


 Get information about Dan Power's new book, Decision Support 
 Systems: Concepts and Resources for Managers, at .


DSS News Releases - August 31, 2002 to September 13, 2002

Complete news releases can be found at DSSResources.COM.

09/11/2002 New Intel Xeon processors ship for dual processing systems at 
2.8 and 2.6 gigahertz.

09/10/2002 City of DeKalb improves public works operations using 
Intergraph's GeoSpatial Infrastructure Management solutions. 

09/10/2002 Documentum delivers major new release of market leading 
enterprise content management platform - Documentum 5. 

09/10/2002 New Apple iCal application to manage and share multiple 
calendars now available for free download.

09/09/2002 DecisionOne deploys for online sales force 

09/09/2002 MicroStrategy announces new version of its 7i business 
intelligence platform tailored to help companies implement financial 
reporting systems..

09/06/2002 Teradata executives to share data warehousing and technology 
expertise at annual user conference.

09/06/2002 Call for Participation: SIGGRAPH 2003 International 
Conference on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques, July 27-31, 
2003 in San Diego.

09/06/2002 Infowave announces new wireless e-mail and calendar software; 
a messaging solution for companies with mobile employees. 

09/05/2002 Algorithmics selects Journyx Timesheet to manage workforce 
and optimize project costing.

09/05/2002 Research confirms electronic workforce selection and hiring 
systems increase median employee tenure by 42 percent.

09/05/2002 Xerox fosters office collaboration with cost-effective 
document management software. 

09/05/2002 SGI is enhancing the way surgery is done: 3D visualization in 
the operating room improves accuracy of surgery. 

09/05/2002 Fuzion decision support software shows corporate managers 
risk exposure. 

09/05/2002 Otis Elevator company selects Extended Systems' mobile 
solutions platform for worldwide pilot initiative.

09/05/2002 Intergraph advances linear referencing and dynamic 
segmentation with release of GeoMedia 5.0 transportation products. 

09/04/2002 First National Bank of Omaha selects Fair, Isaac's Liquid 
Credit Service for more profitable small business credit decisioning. 

09/04/2002 Nordstrom selects Blue Martini software for in-store retail 

09/03/2002 Ernst & Young study finds only 2 percent of Info Tech buyers 
trust vendors' financial justification for purchase decisions.

09/03/2002 ClickSoftware releases the integration between ClickSchedule 
7.1 and mySAP™ CRM 3.1. 

09/03/2002 Business Objects delivers business intelligence benefits to 

09/03/2002 Business Objects announces new enterprise desktop education 
training service. 

09/03/2002 BG Group increases visibility of the corporate budget process 
with Comshare® Corporate Performance Management software.


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