decision support system

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decision support system

[di′sizh·ən sə′pȯrt ‚sis·təm]
(computer science)
A computer-based system that enables management to interrogate the computer system on an ad hoc basis for various kinds of information on the organization and to predict the effect of potential decisions beforehand. Abbreviated DSS.

Decision support system

A system that supports technological and managerial decision making by assisting in the organization of knowledge about ill-structured, semistructured, or unstructured issues. A structured issue has a framework comprising elements and relations between them that are known and understood. Structured issues are generally ones about which an individual has considerable experiential familiarity. A decision support system (DSS) is not intended to provide support to humans about structured issues since little cognitively based decision support is generally needed.

Emphasis in the use of a decision support system is upon provision of support to decision makers in terms of increasing the effectiveness of the decision-making effort. This support involves the systems engineering steps of formulation of alternatives, the analysis of their impacts, and interpretation and selection of appropriate options for implementations. See Systems engineering

Decisions may be described as structured or unstructured, depending upon whether or not the decision-making process can be explicitly described prior to its execution. Generally, operational performance decisions are more likely than strategic planning decisions to be prestructured. Thus, expert systems are usually more appropriate for operational performance and operational control decisions, while decision support systems are more appropriate for strategic planning and management control. See Expert systems

The primary components of a decision support system are a database management system (DBMS), a model-base management system (MBMS), and a dialog generation and management system (DGMS). An appropriate database management system must be able to work with both data that are internal to the organization and data that are external to it. Model-base management systems provide sophisticated analysis and interpretation capability. The dialog generation and management system is designed to satisfy knowledge representation, and control and interface requirements.

decision support system

An information and planning system that provides the ability to interrogate computers on an ad hoc basis, analyze information and predict the impact of decisions before they are made.

An Integrated Solution
Database management systems (DBMSs) let you select data and derive information for reporting and analysis. Spreadsheets and modeling programs provide both analysis and "what if?" planning. However, any single application that supports decision making is not a decision support system (DSS). A DSS is a cohesive and integrated set of programs that share data and information. A DSS might also retrieve industry data from external sources that can be compared and used for historical and statistical purposes. An integrated DSS directly impacts management decision-making. See EIS and OLAP.


Multidimensional Views
Decision support systems may use OLAP databases, which provide rapid access to multidimensional views of the data. A user can quickly flip from "by product" to "by region" with a multidimensional database.