Book Contents

Ch. 7
Building Data-Driven Decision Support Systems

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Audit Questions

  1. What database product is primarily used in your company?
  2. Does your company have a data warehouse?
  3. Does your company have any Data-Driven DSS?
  4. Are users satisfied with the quality of data captured and stored at the company?
  5. Is spatial data relevant to managerial decisions?
  6. If your company has an Executive Information System, when was it implemented?

Questions for Review

  1. What is a Data-Driven DSS?
  2. How does DSS data differ from operating or transaction data?
  3. What types of DSS are grouped together as Data-Driven DSS?
  4. What are major benefits of a data warehouse, OLAP, EIS?
  5. For large data warehouse projects, what steps are followed in a "typical" development process?
  6. What is the FASMI test?
  7. What are the 4 main characteristics of a data warehouse?

Questions for Discussion

  1. How can managers increase the chances for success of a Data-Driven DSS project?
  2. Why is normalization not required (and not usually desirable) for DSS data?

Excel Pivot Table Exercise

The Pivot Table tool in Microsoft Excel has some similarities to many OLAP tools. Create a small table with 5 columns (time, shoe style, store, price and quantity). Load some data into the table and launch the Pivot Table tool. Place the column dimensions in the Row, Column and Page fields; put the measures price and quantity in the data area.


Web Exercises

1. Evaluate Data-Driven DSS Vendors. Critique and evaluate a group of DSS vendor Web sites and read their product information. Product categories and vendor groups include OLAP/Multidimensional database vendors, data mining, Executive Information Systems, GDSS, Report and Query tools, Geographic Information Systems. Check Larry Greenberg's "Data Warehousing Information Center" ( Web site and the DSSResources.COM Vendors ( Web page. Questions you should try to answers include: what is the product category? what is the product used for? how informative about the vendor's products are the web sites ? which are the best web sites? worst web sites? which products would you want to test or learn more about?

2. Visit Data Warehouse and OLAP Information Web Sites. Check the following sites.

CIO ( maintains a Data Warehouse Resource Center

Datamation ( maintains a comprehensive web site with information on OLAP and data warehouses. ( is a resource for Business Intelligence and Data Warehousing.

Data Warehousing Institute is at URL It is a great site for finding information on upcoming DW events, white papers, data warehouse case studies, publications you can order, and a large directory of data warehousing vendors.

Data Warehousing on the Internet at is dedicated to documenting all data warehousing related information on the Internet.

The Data Warehousing Information Center ( is a major collection of relevant information for data warehousing practioners.

Data Warehousing Knowledge Center ( has good articles and information.

DM Review ( covers data warehousing and business intelligence issues and solutions for executive and IT management.

The OLAP Council. Its mission is to educate OLAP users about new technology emerging in the market, provide standard and common definitions of what OLAP product are, and sponsor industry research.

The OLAP Report site provides regularly updated information on the OLAP market and OLAP products. This site is primarily designed for people and businesses that purchase "The OLAP Report" by Nigel Pendse and Richard Creeth.

3. Visit Bernard Lupin's OLAP Database tutorial page. "Best Foot Forward" Company example at URL



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