IMS3001 Business Intelligence Systems , Unit Information Guide (Semester 1, 2006)

Chief Examiner Dr Rob Meredith
Caulfield : Dr Rob Meredith

The subject describes the evolution and current state of the art of the theory and practice of business intelligence systems. It describes the role of these systems in providing information to business decision makers, and explains the development process and some of the key techniques that support it.

Topics covered include:

  • An overview of the business intelligence industry, comprising a definition of business intelligence, the history and evolution of the area, current practice.
  • The role of business intelligence systems, comprising managers and the work they do, decision making, management information, paradigms within business intelligence.
  • EIS and data warehouses, comprising the nature of EIS, EIS characteristics, OLAP, EIS and the warehouse, warehouse design.
  • Decision Support Systems, comprising approaches to DSS design, DSS Architecture, typical DSS applications, the analyst/client relationship, evolutionary development.
  • Modelling and DSS, comprising typical DSS models, influence diagrams, model construction, financial models, forecasting, optimisation, decision trees.
  • Knowledge Based DSS, comprising the nature of 'expertise', the role of expertise in business decision making, modelling knowledge, eliciting knowledge, knowledge representation, development techniques for knowledge discovery, knowledge in data warehouses.
  • Groupware, comprising groupware funtions, groupware technology.
  • Other business intelligence approaches, comprising group DSS, likely trends in the business intelligence industry.
  • Objectives Knowledge of:
    • The role of information systems in support of the work of a manager
    • The major information systems paradigms relevant to business intelligence
    • Understanding of:

    • The process of developing decision support systems
    • The design and development issues involved in data warehouse development
    • The major methods and technologies that are appropriate for business intelligence.
    Attitudes, Values and Beliefs

    An Appreciation of:

    • The nature of management work
    • Realistic expectations of the benefits of managerial use of information technology
    Skills in:
    • Describing decision situations using influence diagrams, decision trees and formalised representations
    • Constructing a data based decision support system using relational database technology
    • Designing multi-dimensional data structures.
    • Developing appropriate user interfaces for business intelligence.
    Appreciation of:
    • The skills required to be able to work with a managerial decision maker to improve the decision process
    Prerequisites Before attempting this unit you must have satisfactorily completed core first year IMS units, or equivalent. You should have knowledge of the systems development lifecycle and data modelling expertise - specifically, an understanding of entity-relationship modelling and how this relates to physical database implementation. No other background knowledge is required for the subject.

    Unit relationships IMS3001 is an elective unit in the Bachelor of Information Management & Systems.
    Texts and software

    Required text(s)

    Due to the breadth of the subject, there is no single text that adequately covers the subject. Relevant sources of information for each lecture will be given as appropriate.

    Text books are available from the Monash University Book Shops. Availability from other suppliers cannot be assured. The Bookshop orders texts in specifically for this unit. You are advised to purchase your text book early.

    Software requirements:

    No software, other than that in the student computer labs is required. Students may wish to have a recent copy of Microsoft Office, including Microsoft Access and Microsoft Excel available to them for work at home.

    Software may be:

    • purchased at academic price at good software retailers

    Hardware requirements:

    Students may use the facilities available in the computing labs. Information about computer use for students is available from the ITS Student Resource Guide in the Monash University Handbook.

    Recommended reading

    The unit website lists a number of recommended readings, most of which are available electronically via the library, or physically available for borrowing. Most electronic resources accessed through the library require an authcate username and password.

    Library access You may need to access the Monash library either personally to be able to satisfactorily complete the subject.  Be sure to obtain a copy of the Library Guide, and if necessary, the instructions for remote access from the library website.
    Study resources

    Study resources for IMS3001 are:

    All study resources will be made available via the unit webpage. Printed lecture notes will be provided at each lecture.

    Structure and organisation



    Study Guide

    1 Overview of Business Intelligence
    2 Introduction to Data Warehousing
    3 Datawarehousing 2 - Multidimensional Data Structures
    4 The Nature of Managerial Work and Decision Theory
    5 Executive Information Systems
    6 Introduction to Decision Support Systems
    7 Decision Support Systems Modelling
    8 Group Decision Support
    9 Expert Systems
    10 Customer Relationship Management
    11 Ethics
    12 Guest Lecture/Case Studies in Business Intelligence
    13 Revision

    The timetable for on-campus classes for this unit can be viewed in Allocate+


    Assessment for the unit consists of 2 assignments with a weighting of 40% and an examination with a weighting of 60%. Read this section VERY carefully.

    Assessment Policy

    To pass this unit you must:

    • gain at least 40% of the examination component: i.e. the final examination and any tests performed under exam conditions, taken as a whole
    • gain at least 40% of the assignment component: i.e. the assignments and any other other assessment tasks (such as presentations) taken as a whole
    • gain at least 50% of the total marks for the unit
    Where a student gains less than 40% for either the examination or assignment component, the final result for the unit will be no greater than ‘44-N’.

    Your score for the unit will be calculated by:

    0.2 x Assignment 1 Result + 0.2 x Assignment 2 Result + 0.6 x Exam Result

    Note the caveat above regarding obtaining at least 40% in both the exam and assignment marks.

    Assessment Requirements


    Due Date


    Assignment 1 Friday, 5pm, Week 7 20 %
    Assignment 2 Friday, 5pm, Week 11 20 %
    Examination 3 hour(s), closed book Exam period starts 5th June. 60 %

    Assignment specifications will be made available via the unit webpage, and distributed during lectures. Information about assignments will be published on the Unit's Notices Newsgroup.

    Assignment Submission Methods

    Assignments will be submitted by paper submission to your tutor. Students must attach the appropriate cover sheet correctly filled out.

    Extensions and late submissions

    Late submission of assignments

    Work without a formal extension may be accepted up to one week late, with a penalty of loss of 5% of marks per day (including weekends). Work submitted more than one week late will not be accepted.

    This policy is strict because comments or guidance will be given on assignments as they are returned, and sample solutions may also be published and distributed, after assignment marking or with the returned assignment. 


    It is your responsibility to structure your study program around assignment deadlines, family, work and other commitments. Factors such as normal work pressures, vacations, etc. are seldom regarded as appropriate reasons for granting extensions. 

    All applications for extensions must be made in writing to your tutor and approved prior to the due date. Medical certificates or appropriate proof supporting your application will be required.

    Grading of assessment

    Assignments, and the unit, will be marked and allocated a grade according to the following scale:

    HD High Distinction - very high levels of achievement, demonstrated knowledge and understanding, skills in application and high standards of work encompassing all aspects of the tasks.
    In the 80+% range of marks for the assignment.
    D Distinction - high levels of achievement, but not of the same standards. May have a weakness in one particular aspect, or overall standards may not be quite as high.
    In the 70-79% range.
    C Credit - sound pass displaying good knowledge or application skills, but some weaknesses in the quality, range or demonstration of understanding.
    In the 60-69% range.
    P Pass - acceptable standard, showing an adequate basic knowledge, understanding or skills, but with definite limitations on the extent of such understanding or application. Some parts may be incomplete.
    In the 50-59% range.
    N Not satisfactory -  failure to meet the basic requirements of the assessment.
    Below 50%.

    We will aim to have assignment results made available to you within two weeks after assignment receipt.

    Feedback Feedback to you

    You will receive feedback on your work and progress in this unit. This feedback may be provided through your participation in tutorials and class discussions, as well as through your assignment submissions. It may come in the form of individual advice, marks and comments, or it may be provided as comment or reflection targeted at the group. It may be provided through personal interactions, such as interviews and on-line forums, or through other mechanisms such as on-line self-tests and publication of grade distributions.

    Feedback from you

    You will be asked to provide feedback to the Faculty through a Unit Evaluation survey at the end of the semester. You may also be asked to complete surveys to help teaching staff improve the unit and unit delivery. Your input to such surveys is very important to the faculty and the teaching staff in maintaining relevant and high quality learning experiences for our students.

    And if you are having problems

    It is essential that you take action immediately if you realise that you have a problem with your study. The semester is short, so we can help you best if you let us know as soon as problems arise. Regardless of whether the problem is related directly to your progress in the unit, if it is likely to interfere with your progress you should discuss it with your lecturer or a Community Service counsellor as soon as possible.

    Plagiarism and cheating

    Plagiarism and cheating are regarded as very serious offences. In cases where cheating  has been confirmed, students have been severely penalised, from losing all marks for an assignment, to facing disciplinary action at the Faculty level. While we would wish that all our students adhere to sound ethical conduct and honesty, I will ask you to acquaint yourself with Student Rights and Responsibilities and the Faculty regulations that apply to students detected cheating as these will be applied in all detected cases.

    In this University, cheating means seeking to obtain an unfair advantage in any examination or any other written or practical work to be submitted or completed by a student for assessment. It includes the use, or attempted use, of any means to gain an unfair advantage for any assessable work in the unit, where the means is contrary to the instructions for such work. 

    When you submit an individual assessment item, such as a program, a report, an essay, assignment or other piece of work, under your name you are understood to be stating that this is your own work. If a submission is identical with, or similar to, someone else's work, an assumption of cheating may arise. If you are planning on working with another student, it is acceptable to undertake research together, and discuss problems, but it is not acceptable to jointly develop or share solutions unless this is specified by your lecturer. 

    Intentionally providing students with your solutions to assignments is classified as "assisting to cheat" and students who do this may be subject to disciplinary action. You should take reasonable care that your solution is not accidentally or deliberately obtained by other students. For example, do not leave copies of your work in progress on the hard drives of shared computers, and do not show your work to other students. If you believe this may have happened, please be sure to contact your lecturer as soon as possible.

    Cheating also includes taking into an examination any material contrary to the regulations, including any bilingual dictionary, whether or not with the intention of using it to obtain an advantage.

    Plagiarism involves the false representation of another person's ideas, or findings, as your own by either copying material or paraphrasing without citing sources. It is both professional and ethical to reference clearly the ideas and information that you have used from another writer. If the source is not identified, then you have plagiarised work of the other author. Plagiarism is a form of dishonesty that is insulting to the reader and grossly unfair to your student colleagues.


    Students are encouraged to participate in class discussion in both lectures and tutorials. Outside of class times, students should contact their tutor or lecturer via email. Requests for meetings should be made via email.


    Notices related to the unit during the semester will be placed on the Unit Website. Check this regularly. Failure to read the unit website is not regarded as grounds for special consideration.

    Consultation Times

    Requests for consultation should be made via email.

    If direct communication with your unit adviser/lecturer or tutor outside of consultation periods is needed you may contact the lecturer and/or tutors at:

    Mr Rob Meredith
    Phone +61 3 990 32396
    Fax +61 3 990 31204

    All email communication to you from your lecturer will occur through your Monash student email address. Please ensure that you read it regularly, or forward your email to your main address. Also check that your contact information registered with the University is up to date in My.Monash.

    Last updated: Feb 27, 2006