Follow up on Expert / Decision Support Systems for Web Analysts

A lively discussion came about after the recent post on the lack of expert systems to aid web analysts in their work with web analytics solutions.

In that post I referred to medical expert systems as an analogy to convey that this is a realistic idea even if it may seem at first that the web is too complicated. But I was struggling to find a good link to such medical expert systems even after torturing my favored search engine.

Well, turns out this was because they aren’t called expert systems anymore, but Clinical Decision Support Systems.

Below is a relevant exert from the related Wikipedia article.



The main purpose of modern CDSS [clinical decision support system] is to assist clinicians at the point of care. This means that a clinician would interact with a CDSS to help determine diagnosis, analysis, etc. of patient data.

Previous theories of CDSS were to use the CDSS to literally make decisions for the clinician. The clinician would input the information and wait for the CDSS to output the “right” choice and the clinician would simply act on that output. The new methodology of using CDSS to assist forces the clinician to interact with the CDSS utilizing both the clinician’s knowledge and the CDSS to make a better analysis of the patients data than either human or CDSS could make on their own.


In the case of our analytics world, it wouldn’t just be analyst vs. this “WDSS” (web analytics DSS) but it would be a matter of combining:

  • analyst
  • WDSS
  • Web analytics solution to supply information on “the patient”, a.k.a “the web site”
  • CompIntel benchmarking / audience mesaurement
  • VOC
  • Customer experience mgmt.
  • etc.

But I think the WDSS will be a great addition to help the analyst work with these other “talkative” but very deep systems.

Can’t wait to provide some examples.

2 Comments on “Follow up on Expert / Decision Support Systems for Web Analysts

  1. I thought we already had such a system that made the “unified” decision from all these sources – it’s called the Marketing Manager.

    Oh, wait a minute, that means the Marketing Manager would have to know about something about human behavior, not just demographics.


  2. Hi there, Jim.
    Oh boy. That would be a tall order to package such knowledge about human behavior into rules. But even just the logical “path” of reports that an analyst should run in order to investigate / troubleshoot issues is complicated enough. And that should be easier to express in rules within a DSS.
    Maybe decision support system (DSS) isn’t even the right thing to use here since that is synonymous with BI. So, somebody could ask whether the analytics solution (e.g. Unica’s) isn’t the DSS.
    Rather than decision support system, I think I am trying to say that we want a question support system, i.e. what questions should be asked in what order..

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