Decision support system

A decision support system (DSS) is a computer-based information system that supports business or organizational decision-making activities. DSSs serve the management, operations, and planning levels of an organization and help to make decisions, which may be rapidly changing and not easily specified in advance. DSSs include knowledge-based systems. A properly designed DSS is an interactive software-based system intended to help decision makers compile useful information from a combination of raw data, documents, personal knowledge, or business models to identify and solve problems and make decisions. Typical information that a decision support application might gather and present are: • inventories of information assets (including legacy and relational data sources, cubes, data warehouses, and data marts), • comparative sales figures between one period and the next, • projected revenue figures based on product sales assumptions. Another taxonomy for DSS has been created by Daniel Power. Using the mode of assistance as the criterion, Power differentiates communication-driven DSS, data-driven DSS, document-driven DSS, knowledge-driven DSS, and model-driven DSS.[6] • A communication-driven DSS supports more than one person working on a shared task; examples include integrated tools like Microsoft's NetMeeting or Groove[7] • A data-driven DSS or data-oriented DSS emphasizes access to and manipulation of a time series of internal company data and, sometimes, external data. • A document-driven DSS manages, retrieves, and manipulates unstructured information in a variety of electronic formats. • A knowledge-driven DSS provides specialized problem-solving expertise stored as facts, rules, procedures, or in similar structures.[6] • A model-driven DSS emphasizes access to and manipulation of a statistical, financial, optimization, or simulation model. Model-driven DSS use data and parameters provided by users to assist decision makers in analyzing a situation; they are not necessarily data-intensive. Dicodess is an example of an open source model-driven DSS generator.[8] Using scope as the criterion, Power[9] differentiates enterprise-wide DSS and desktop DSS. An enterprise-wide DSS is linked to large data warehouses and serves many managers in the company. A desktop, single-user DSS is a small system that runs on an individual manager's PC.

Components
Design of a Drought Mitigation Decision Support System. Three fundamental components of a DSS architecture are: 1. the database (or knowledge base), 2. the model (i.e., the decision context and user criteria), and 3. the user interface. The users themselves are also important components of the architecture.

Development Frameworks
DSS systems are not entirely different from other systems and require a structured approach. Such a framework includes people, technology, and the development approach.[10] DSS technology levels (of hardware and software) may include: 1. The actual application that will be used by the user. This is the part of the application that allows the decision maker to make decisions in a particular problem area. The user can act upon that particular problem. 2. Generator contains Hardware/software environment that allows people to easily develop specific DSS applications. This level makes use of case tools or systems such as Crystal, AIMMS, Analytica and iThink.

4. 2. A compound DSS is the most popular classification for a DSS. however. but may be a mix of two or more architectures. A problem faced by any railroad is worn-out or defective rails. it will need to be tested and revised where necessary for the desired outcome. and better allocation of business resources. DSS is extensively used in business and management. Holsapple and Whinston[13] classify DSS into the following six frameworks: Text-oriented DSS. User Knowledge and Expertise: Inputs requiring manual analysis by the user 3. One example is the clinical decision support system for medical diagnosis.[13] The support given by DSS can be separated into three distinct. Solver-oriented DSS. 5. principles. Inputs: Factors. A specific example concerns the Canadian National Railway system. many constraints to the successful adoption on DSS in agriculture. from log transportation. there are theoretical possibilities of building such systems in any knowledge domain. Benefits 1. Spreadsheet-oriented DSS. Other examples include a bank loan officer verifying the credit of a loan applicant or an engineering firm that has bids on several projects and wants to know if they can be competitive with their costs. There are. and techniques is in agricultural production. For example. and characteristics to analyze 2. 6. the DSSAT4 package. Classification There are several ways to classify DSS applications. concepts. Improves personal efficiency Speed up the process of decision making Increases organizational control Encourages exploration and discovery on the part of the decision maker Speeds up problem solving in an organization Facilitates interpersonal communication . marketing for sustainable development. Rule-oriented DSS. 3. has allowed rapid assessment of several agricultural production systems around the world to facilitate decision-making at the farm and policy levels. Under a DSS. which can result in hundreds of derailments per year. identification of negative trends. numbers. DSS components may be classified as: 1. Not every DSS fits neatly into one of the categories.3. All aspects of Forest management. Databaseoriented DSS. Applications As mentioned above. interrelated categories[14]: Personal Support. Outputs: Transformed data from which DSS "decisions" are generated 4.[15][16] developed through financial support of USAID during the 80's and 90's. Executive dashboard and other business performance software allow faster decision making. harvest scheduling to sustainability and ecosystem protection have been addressed by modern DSSs. Tools include lower level hardware/software.[17] DSS are also prevalent in forest management where the long planning time frame demands specific requirements.[citation needed] The nascent field of Decision engineering treats the decision itself as an engineered object. which tests its equipment on a regular basis using a decision support system. DSS generators including special languages. A growing area of DSS application. and Compound DSS. It is a hybrid system that includes two or more of the five basic structures described by Holsapple and Whinston. Decisions: Results generated by the DSS based on user criteria DSSs which perform selected cognitive decision-making functions and are based on artificial intelligence or intelligent agents technologies are called Intelligent Decision Support Systems (IDSS). Group Support. function libraries and linking modules An iterative developmental approach allows for the DSS to be changed and redesigned at various intervals. CN managed to decrease the incidence of derailments at the same time other companies were experiencing an increase. Once the system is designed. and Organizational Support. and applies engineering principles such as Design and Quality assurance to an explicit representation of the elements that make up a decision.

A transaction is an event that generates or modifies data that is eventually stored in an information system. Errors can occur during these steps. The database is not accessible all of the time for batch processing. Transactions in real-time processing are stand-alone both in the entry to the system and also in the handling of output. it cannot complete only one of those steps.7. It is not part of a group of transactions. the turnaround time from the input of the transaction to the production for the output must be a few seconds or less. More computer operators are required in real-time processing. Infrequent errors may occur in real-time processing. double bookings may occur. TPSs collect.[1] there is a time delay. The essence of a transaction program is that it manages data that must be left in a consistent state. With batch processing. as the operations are not centralised.g. To be considered a transaction processing system the computer must pass the ACID test. and retrieve the transactions of an organization. Reliability . including a journal. Other transaction monitor functions include deadlock detection and resolution (deadlocks may be inevitable in certain cases of cross-dependence on data). Promotes learning or training 8. Real-time processing has fewer errors than batch processing. the seat reservation data must be locked until the reservation is made. or neither. Real-time processing requires the master file to be available more often for updating and reference than batch processing. Transaction Processing is not limited to application programs. and the results of each transaction are not immediately available when the transaction is being entered. the amount must be both withdrawn from one account and added to the other. Without proper transaction monitoring. they are often tolerated. It is not practical to shut down the system for infrequent errors. In case of a failure preventing transaction completion. Creates a competitive advantage over competition 10. It is more difficult to maintain a real-time processing system than a batch processing system. an airline seat reservation system is accessed by multiple operators. Batch processing involves processing several transactions at the same time. modify. Helps automate managerial processes Transaction processing system A transaction processing system is a type of information system. Either both must occur. it is particularly important for online processing: if e. even though those transactions are processed in the same manner. Businesses cannot afford to have customers waiting for a TPS to respond. Real-time and batch processing There are a number of differences between real-time and batch processing.g. and transaction logging (in 'journals') for 'forward recovery' in case of massive failures. after an empty seat inquiry. the partially executed transaction must be 'rolled back' by the TPS. The 'journaled file system' provided with IBMs AIX Unix operating system employs similar techniques to maintain file system integrity. if an electronic payment is made. These are outlined below: Each transaction in real-time processing is unique. however. otherwise another user may get the impression a seat is still free while it is actually being booked at the time. While this type of integrity must be provided also for batch transaction processing. Online transaction processing is the form of transaction processing that processes data as it becomes available. Types Contrasted with batch processing Batch processing is a form of transaction processing. Features Rapid response Fast performance with a rapid response time is critical. Reveals new approaches to thinking about the problem space 11. Transactions are accumulated for a certain period (say for day) where updates are made especially after work. e. the data is organised and stored before the master file is updated. store. as transaction data is validated and entered immediately. Generates new evidence in support of a decision 9.

. it appears to each transaction T. the customer or the time for day. network or relational structures. If a TPS were flexible. but not both. Its top to bottom like structure consists of nodes and branches. a relational database organizes its data in a series of related tables.Many organizations rely heavily on their TPS. Databases are always protective of their delicate data.Input 2.[2] Consistency Consistency: A transaction is a correct transformation of the state. unlike hierarchical. For a TPS to be effective its failure rate must be very low. which stores the accounting and operational records in the database. Databases and files The storage and retrieval of data must be accurate as it is used many times throughout the day. If a TPS does fail. Components 1. one user cannot change a piece of data before another user has finished with it. hence why it is called hierarchal. A database is a collection of data neatly organized. This gives flexibility as relationships between the tables are built. network structures also organizes data using nodes and branches. then the TPS should enforce and maintain this requirement. The actions taken as a group do not violate any of the integrity constraints associated with the state. accepting different transactions data from different travel agents would be a problem. for example.Storage 4. and actions on transducers. that others executed either before T or after T. its changes to the state survive failures.[2] Durability Once a transaction completes successfully (commits). • Hierarchical structure: organizes data in a series of levels. so they usually have a restricted view of certain data. These changes include database changes. Databases are designed using hierarchical. • Network structure: Similar to hierarchical. Controlled processing The processing in a TPS must support an organization's operations. a commercial airline needs to consistently accept airline reservations from a range of travel agents. For example. That is. But. • Relational structure: Unlike network and hierarchical. then another agent cannot tell another passenger that a seat is available Storing and retrieving Storing and retrieving information from a TPS must be efficient and effective.[2] Concurrency Ensures that two users cannot change the same data at the same time. the system must be well designed for its backup and recovery procedures. The data are stored in warehouses or other databases. then quick and accurate recovery must be possible. higher parent nodes.Output ACID test properties: first definition Atomicity Main article: Atomicity (database systems) A transaction’s changes to the state are atomic: either all happen or none happen. if an airline ticket agent starts to reserve the last seat on a flight. each child node has branches and is only linked to one higher level parent node. each structure is effective in its own sense. there would be too many opportunities for non-standard operations. a breakdown will disrupt operations or even stop the business.Processing 3. An example of this is an ATM transaction. This requires that the transaction be a correct program![2] Isolation Even though transactions execute concurrently. Inflexibility A TPS wants every transaction to be processed in the same way regardless of the user. For example if an organization allocates roles and responsibilities to particular employees. each child node can be linked to multiple. This makes well–designed backup and recovery procedures essential. messages.

incorrect or invalid data. • High normalization: This lowers redundant information to increase the speed and improve concurrency. this also improves backups. it becomes read-only. it involves the backup. software application errors or natural or man-made disasters. time of transaction and terminal number. querying the database could return a different response. • Good hardware configuration: Hardware must be able to handle many users and provide quick response times. including data values. historical and read-only: • Consolidated: Data are organised with consistent naming conventions. some data could be irrelevant for reports and makes querying the data difficult. This keeps tables small and also improves backup times. It allows data from a data warehouse from across the organization to be effectively used in a consistent manner. a breakdown in their TPS may stop the business' regular routines and thus stopping its operation for a certain amount of time. It provides data that are consolidated. • Work file: Temporary files in the system used during the processing. A database change log contains before and after copies of records that have been modified by transactions. • Program file: Contains the instructions for the processing of data. journal. In order to prevent data loss and minimize disruptions when a TPS breaks down a well-designed backup and recovery procedure is put into use. If past data are kept. The recovery process can rebuild the system when it goes down. • Short transactions: Short transactions enables quick processing. an example could be stock levels. a TPS must be able to cope with failures. It organizes only key business information from operational sources so that it's available for analysis. Only operations which occur in a data warehouse are loading and querying data. The TPS uses the files to store and organize its transaction data: • Master file: Contains information about an organization’s business situation. a transaction log records all the essential data for each transactions. This avoids concurrency and paces the systems. • Archiving of historical data: Uncommonly used data are moved into other databases or backed up tables. These reasons could include a system failure. • Read-only: Once data are moved into a data warehouse. • Real-time backup: Backup should be scheduled between low times of activity to prevent lag of the server. Since it represents a snapshot of a certain time. • Subject-oriented: Large amounts of data are stored across an organization. it must never be updated. computer viruses. • Historical: Real-time TPS represent the current value at any time. there are 5 different types of files. and recovery manager: • Journal: A journal maintains an audit trail of transactions and database changes. . hardware failure. checkpoint. subject-oriented. A TPS will go through a recovery of the database to cope when the system fails. Since business organizations have become very dependent on TPSs. Most transactions and databases are stored in the master file. In a TPS. When it's gathered in real-time transactions it can be used for analysis efficiently if it's stored in a data warehouse. unless it was incorrect. Transaction logs and Database change logs are used. • Report file: Contains data that has been formatted for presentation to a user.The following features are included in real time transaction processing systems: • Good data placement: The database should be designed to access patterns of data from many simultaneous users. attributes and semantics. Data warehouse Main article: Data warehouse A data warehouse is a database that collects information from different sources. As it's not possible to prevent all TPS failures. The TPS must be able to detect and correct errors when they occur. It stores series of snapshots for an organisation's operational data generated over a period of time. Recovery process A TPS may fail for many reasons. measurements. It helps to update the master file and also serves as audit trails and transaction history. • Transaction file: It is the collection of transaction records. human errors.

that were committed at the time checkpoint creation was started. filing. Depending on the type of database management system implemented a checkpoint may incorporate indexes or storage pages (user data). indexes must be created when the database is restored from the checkpoint image. but all modifications made by transactions. Office automation helps in optimizing or automating existing office procedures. The backbone of office automation is a LAN. collect. fax. A checkpoint. are fully present. there can be two different recovery procedures used. store. manipulate. additional information is needed. Writing these updates to storage disk creates a point in time in which the database system can apply changes contained in a transaction log during recovery after an unexpected shut down or crash of the database system.Checkpoint: The purpose of checkpointing is to provide a snapshot of the data within the database. Therefore. If no indexes are incorporated into the checkpoint. Office automation was a popular term in the 1970s and 1980s as the desktop computer exploded onto the scene. If a checkpoint is interrupted and a recovery is required. A non-transaction-consistent checkpointing results in a persistent database image that is insufficient to perform a recovery of the database state. Two types of recovery are backward recovery and forward recovery: • Backward recovery: used to undo unwanted changes to the database. including dictation. Modifications to database pages are performed in memory and are not necessarily written to disk after every update. which allows users to transmit data. . is any identifier or other reference that identifies at a point in time the state of the database. All office functions. Telex. Depending on how the system failed. Transaction-consistent checkpointing produces a persistent database image that is sufficient to recover the database to the state that was externally perceived at the moment of starting the checkpointing. It involves the logic of reprocessing each transaction. and the management of electronic business information comprise the basic activities of an office automation system. electronic transfer. indexes and storage pages. Checkpointing can be either transaction-consistent or non-transaction-consistent (called also fuzzy checkpointing). and relay office information needed for accomplishing basic tasks. Forward recovery: it starts with a backup copy of the database. copying. typing. the database system must perform a checkpoint to write these updates which are held in-memory to the storage disk. which doesn't necessarily include all the latest committed transactions. the procedures involves restoring data that has been collected from a backup device and then running the transaction processing again. typically contained in transaction logs. Generally. Transaction consistent checkpointing refers to a consistent database. microfilm and records management. which is very time-consuming. fall into this category. mail and even voice across the network. Raw data storage. in general. and can't be recovered to one without all log records generated for open transactions included in the checkpoint. • Recovery Manager: A recovery manager is a program which restores the database to a correct condition which can restart the transaction processing. periodically. A non-consistent transaction refers to a checkpoint which is not necessarily a consistent database. To perform the database recovery. telephone and telephone switchboard operations. The transaction will then reprocess according to the transaction journal that occurred between the time the backup was • Office automation Office automation refers to the varied computer machinery and software used to digitally create. It reverses the changes made by transactions which have been aborted. then the database system must start recovery from a previous successful checkpoint.