Deci sion Suppo rt Sy ste ms

Definitions of a Decision Support System
General definition - a system providing both
problem-solving and communications capabilities for semistructured problems

Specific definition - a system that supports a
single manager or a relatively small group of managers working as a problem-solving team in the solution of a semistructured problem by providing information or making suggestions concerning specific decisions.

Decision Making

Simon’s types of decisions
– Programmed – Nonprogrammed


Simon’s phases (activities) of decision making
– – – – Intelligence Design Choice Review

The Decision Support System Concept
Gory and Scott-Morton coined the phrase ‘DSS’ in 1971, about ten years after MIS became popular s Structured problems could be solved by algorithms and decision rules s Unstructured problems have no structure in Simon’s phases s Semistructured problems have structured and unstructured phases

The Gorry and Scott Morton Grid
Management levels
Operational control Structured
Accounts receivable Order entry Inventory control Production scheduling Cash management Variance analysis-- Mergers and overall budget acquisitions Budget preparation Sales and production New product planning R&D planning

Management control
Budget analysis-engineered costs Short-term forecasting

Strategic planning
Tanker fleet mix Warehouse and factory location

Degree of problem structure


PERT/COST systems

Alter’s DSS Types
The least degree of problem-solving support comes from retrieval of information elements s More support comes from retrieving information files s Still more support comes from reports from multiple files

Alter’s DSS Types (continued)
Even more support from systems that can estimate decision consequences s More support from systems that can propose decisions s And the most support comes from systems that can make decisions

Alter’s DSS Types

Retrieve information elements

Analyze entire files

Prepare reports from multiple files

Estimate decision consequences

Propose decisions

Make decisions

Degree of problem solving support


Degree of complexity of the problem-solving system


The DSS Focuses on Semistructured Problems

Computer Solution

Manager + Computer (DSS) Solution

Manager Solution





Peter Keen Believes That a DSS Should:
1. Assist in solving semistructured problems 2. Support, not replace, the manager 3. Contribute to decision effectiveness, rather than efficiency

A DSS Model
Individual problem solvers Other group members

Report writing software

Mathematical Models

GDSS GDSS software software


Decision support system Environment
Data Communication Information

Contents of the Database are Used by Three Software Subsystems
Report writers (including COBOL) s Mathematical models s GDSS -- contributes to communications effectiveness

Group Decision Support Systems
Definition - a computer-based system that supports groups of people engaged in a common task (or goal) and that provides an interface to a shared environment. s GDSS is used in problem solving s Electronic meeting system (EMS) is used for group interaction of all kinds. Example JAD session.

GDSS Environmental Settings
Asynchronous exchange as well as synchronous exchange of information s There is less wasted time. s There is more balanced participation.

Group Size and Location Determine GDSS Environmental Settings GROUP SIZE
Smaller Face-toface Larger

Decision Room Local Area Decision Network

Legislative Session ComputerMediated Conference


GDSS example: U. of Arizona's Group System (Groupware)
Electronic brainstorming (EBS) program s Parallel communication s Anonymity

– Idea Organizer – Vote program

Functions - electronic mail, FAX, voice messaging, internet access, and others s Lotus Notes has been a particularly popular groupware product

Main Groupware Functions
IBM TeamWARE Lotus Function Workgroup Office Notes Electronic mail X X X FAX X X O Voice messaging O Internet access X X O Bulletin board system X 3 Personal calendaring X X 3 Group calendaring X X O Electronic conferencing O X 3 Task management X X 3 Desktop video conferencing O Database access O X 3 Workflow routing O X 3 Reengineering O X 3 Electronic forms O 3 3 Group documents O X X
X = standard feature O = optional feature

Novell GroupWise X X X X O X X 3 X


3 = third party offering

A Groupware Strategy
Orientation session to familiarize the group to the groupware s Implementation tips

– – – –

designate a groupware champion pick a pilot project define the problem select the groupware

Groupware Implementation
Company politics Corporate culture Individual resistance


Designate a groupware champion 2. Pick a pilot project 3. Define the problem 4. Select the groupware

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