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                  August 14, 2000--Vol. 1, No. 8
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* Ask Dan! -- What do managers need to know about IS/IT, MIS and DSS?
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What do managers need to know about IS/IT, MIS and DSS?
In the academic field of Information Systems we have repeatedly asked 
the question "What do managers need to know about IS/IT, MIS and DSS?"  
All of us know that managers CAN NOT know everything about Information 
Systems and Decision Support Systems. We also know that Information 
Systems specialists and IS managers CAN NOT know everything about DSS, 
MIS and IS/IT either. So what does a broad group of line and staff 
managers need to know about IS/IT, MIS and DSS?
Our DSS, Computing and IT knowledge and skill needs are constantly 
evolving. We all need to continually learn new concepts and new skills. 
Some new requirements build on previously learned materials; others 
force us to change dramatically and to "un" learn what we had learned.
A report from the Commission on Physical Sciences, Mathematics, and 
Applications titled "Being Fluent with Information Technology" (1999)
provides a contemporary perspective on this general question. Check
I agree with the authors that people and especially managers need three 
types of knowledge about Information Technology. They label these as 
intellectual capabilities, fundamental concepts, and 
contemporary skills. The reports provides details on each knowledge 
area.  I'll try to summarize with a focus on knowledge needs of 
Managers need to develop the ability to apply information technology in 
complex and sustained situations and to understand the consequences of 
doing so. Some intellectual capabilities needed 
include an ability to:
  1. engage in sustained reasoning about IT including defining a
     problem, formulating a solution, and planning, designing,
     executing, and evaluating a solution,
  2. manage complexity,
  3. test a solution,
  4. "debug" and cope when technological tools fail,
  5. organize and navigate information structures and evaluate
  6. collaborate on IT tasks,
  7. use technology appropriately when communicating with others,
  8. expect the unexpected,
  9. anticipate changing technologies, and
  10. think about information technology abstractly.
Managers need to learn the foundations on which information technology 
and applications are built. Some key fundamental concepts include:
  1. computers,
  2. information and decision support systems,
  3. networks,
  4. digital representation of information,
  5. information organization,
  6. modeling and abstraction,
  7. algorithmic thinking and programming,
  8. universality (any computational task can be performed by any
  9. limitations of information technology, and
  10. societal impact of information and information technology. 
Skills refer to the ability to use particular hardware or software 
resources to accomplish information processing tasks. Managers need 
current or contemporary skills including:
  1. using a PC and basic operating system features,
  2. using a word processor to create a text document,
  3. using a graphics and/or artwork package to create illustrations,
     slides, or other image-based expressions of ideas,
  4. connecting a computer to a network,
  5. using the Internet to find information and resources,
  6. using a database system to set up and access useful information,
  7. using a spreadsheet to model simple processes or financial
  8. using a computer to communicate with others, and
  9. using instructional materials to learn how to use new
     applications or features. 
In my opinion, managers need to be fluent and proficient in the use of 
Information Technologies and especially in capabilities, concepts and 
skills related to DECISION SUPPORT SYSTEMS. In two weeks, I'll
focus on what managers need to know specifically about Decision Support 
Note to DSS News Subscribers: If you have opinions on this question, 
please email me or post to the DSSResources.COM bulletin board.
DSS News Stories
08/14/2000 Sagent awarded $10 Million contract by U.S. Department of 
Defense. Sagent Solution provides budget data via the Web.
08/13/2000 IBM captures top spot over Oracle in eWeek Lab Review; First 
Server Database in five years to receive recognition.
08/11/2000 Decision Consultants and SAS team to provide software 
solutions and services to customers.
08/10/2000 AMD released the x86-64™ Architecture Programmers Overview. 
"Hammer" processors planned for end of 2001.Provides transition to 
64-bit environments while supporting 32-bit applications.
08/09/2000 Cognos(R) announced an agreement with GE's Employers 
Reinsurance Corporation. It includes providing OLAP and enterprise 
reporting and visualization via the Cognos business intelligence portal.
08/09/2000 IBM announced its Knowledge and Content Management Services 
practice will help clients manage organizational knowledge and create 
communities of practice.
08/08/2000 A security hole has been identified in Netscape's Web 
browser. Once a computer is infected, a hacker can see, run and delete 
files on the target computer. The method is dubbed "Brown Orifice". 
Netscape users should disable Java.
08/08/2000 Management changes at Computer Associates and Sagent 
Technologies. COO Kumar new CEO at CA. Sagent names IBM Executive Ben C. 
Barnes new President and CEO. 
08/08/2000 PricewaterhouseCoopers and Comshare join forces to deliver 
Management Planning and Control solutions to the Thai Market. 
08/08/2000 results show Oracle and Microsoft lead in European 
Business Intelligence/Data Warehousing Market. 
08/07/2000 Polo Ralph Lauren successfully deployed Informatica's 
PowerCenter(TM) data-integration software for corporate-wide Business 
08/07/2000 More than 40 percent of end users are dissatisfied with their 
data warehousing system, according to Giga Information Group's polling 
surveys.
08/04/2000 The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) is considering 
three competing proposals for creating a framework for instant messaging 
interoperability. Check Instant Messaging and Presence Protocol working 
group at
08/03/2000 NSF awarded $45 Million to Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center 
for "terascale" computing capability for U.S. researchers. The proposed 
six teraflop system will be an interconnected network of 682 Compaq 
08/03/2000 According to International Data Corporation, Information 
Builders had the highest percentage revenue growth for End User 
Query/Reporting software. Its WebFOCUS product is a Business 
Intelligence solution that delivers Web deployed reports and analysis.
08/02/2000 The Meyers Group received 1st Place in the MapObjects 
Application Contest from ESRI; Award recognizes excellence in 
application architecture. Meyers Residential Pro-GIS 2000 is a GIS-based 
real estate research tool. 
08/01/2000 Liberty Group of South Africa will deploy Gentia's Web-Based 
Balanced Scorecard Software for Strategy Management. 
07/31/2000 Informix announced its extended Parallel Server and Ardent 
DataStage will provide Data Warehouse Infrastructure for Choice Hotels, 
World's second-largest hotel franchiser.
What's New? at DSSResources.COM
08/14/2000 Updated DSS Researchers Web Page Directory.  (If you are not 
listed, please contact us)
08/07/2000 Posted link and local PDF copy of Cox, B. F. "Spreadsheets: 
Bigger And Better, Information Week, August 7, 2000 or see copy at .
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