Widely defined, a decision support system (DSS) It is a computer-based information system that combines models and data in an attempt to solve semi-structured and some unstructured problems with broad user participation. But the term decision support system (DSS), like the terms MIS and MSS, means different things to different people. DSS can be viewed as an approach or philosophy rather than a precise methodology. However, a DSS has certain recognized characteristics, which we will introduce later. First, let’s look at a classic case of a successfully implemented DSS, which happened a long time ago, but the scenario is typical.
The case demonstrates some of the main features of a DSS. The risk analysis performed first was based on the initial definition of the situation by the decision maker, using a management science approach. Then, the executive vice president, using his experience, judgment and intuition, felt that the model should be modified. The initial model, although mathematically correct, was incomplete. With a regular simulation system, a modification of the computer program would have taken a long time, but the DSS provided a very quick analysis.
Many companies are turning to DSS to improve decision making. Reasons cited by managers for the increasing use of DSS include the following: New and accurate information was needed; information was needed quickly; and keeping track of the company’s many business operations was becoming increasingly difficult. However, the company operated in an unstable economy; faced increasing domestic and foreign competition; the company’s existing IT system did not adequately support the objectives of increasing efficiency, profitability and entry into profitable markets. Other reasons include: the IS department was unable to address the diversity of company needs or ad-hoc inquiries from management, and business analysis functions were not inherent in the existing system.
In many organizations that have adopted a DSS, conventional information systems, which were built for the purpose of supporting transaction processing, were not sufficient to support several of the critical response activities of the business, especially those that require a final and / or complex decision making. A DSS, on the other hand, can do just that.
Another reason for the development of DSS is the computing movement of the end user. With the exception of large-scale DSSs, end users can build systems themselves, using DSS development tools such as Excel.
Group decision-making support system
Decision making is often a shared process. For example, meetings between groups of managers from different areas are a fundamental element to reach consensus. The group can participate in decision-making or decision-related task, such as creating a short list of acceptable alternatives or deciding the criteria for accepting an alternative. When a decision-making group receives electronic support, the support is called group decision support. Two types of groups are considered: a group in a room whose members are in one place (for example, a meeting room) and a virtual group, whose members are in a different location.
A group decision support system (GDSS) is an interactive computer system that facilitates the solution of semi-structured and unstructured problems when done by a group of decision makers. The goal of a GDSS is to support the decision-making process. The first generation of GDSS was designed to support face-to-face meetings in what is called a decision room.
Some GDSS applications
An increasing number of companies use GDSS, especially when it comes to virtual groups. An example is the Internal Revenue Service, which used a one-room GDSS to implement its quality improvement programs based on the participation of several of its quality teams. The GDSS was helpful in identifying problems, generating and evaluating ideas, and developing and implementing solutions. Another example is the European automotive industry, which used a one-room GDSS to examine the competitive automotive business environment and make ten-year forecasts necessary for strategic planning.