I found a very old book, called Decision Support Systems: An Organizational Perspective, in a library last weekend. It was written by Peter Keen,
an author of several popular books, which help many business managers
and users understand the value of information technology. His DSS book
draw my attention because he is also the author of my textbook Network in Actions.
The DSS book uses a very typical and conventional categorization system which puts the IT systems into three types:
Transactional System, Structure Decision system, and Decision Support System.
These categories are created based on the classification of
decisions into structured, unstructured, and partially structured
decision. His focus is the 3rd category, DSS. Peter believes that a DSS
should assist in solving the semi-structured problems. A DSS should
support, not replace, the managers.
I feel that the above is a very good framework to view the role of
an analytics apps. A BI analytics application should be a DSS solution.
However, BI analytics apps can do much more then just a decision
support system. BI may help the structured decision making.
BI is not just a collection of reports. The design of a BI analytics
apps needs to consider what are the business decision need to make and
what kind of information is helpful for making the decision.