Decision Support Systems

I think it’s interesting that this article (written in 1988) starts the discussion by suggesting that there has been no consensus on defining what a DSS is – it reminds me of the intersection we’re at with GIS; it is a tool or a science? M.C. ER notes that some have tried to different a DSS from a non-DSS through the intention of the design, though many counter examples arise (M.C. ER’s, 1988). Similar to our discussion about GIS as tool, science, or somewhere in-between, perhaps we can use a similar methodology in how we define what a DSS is. How the DSS (or tool of a DSS) it is used, and the intention of the tool in that particular context dictates whether or not it a DSS.

M.C. ER acknowledges that “it cannot replace upper-level managers in decision making”  (M.C. ER’s, 1988), yet I would suggest that if the decision to be made involves any type of complexity, or exceptions, the group should be broadened to encompass a wider range of people. After all, it is a “support” system, implying that it is there to help with the process, rather than making decisions unless the path to a decision can always be deduced to a binary logic.  Since 1988, DSS has significantly evolved and grown in complexity and sophistication. Group DSS (I think of group DSS in terms of electronic meeting systems, such as web conferencing from around the world) have made its mark in the workplace, while I’m less sure about how AI DSSs have progressed since the 90’s. Perhaps a missing, or unsuspected trend that emerged was the integration a spatial component into a DSS, whether it be the ability to web conference from around the world, or the ability to seek new patterns that can affect decisions when factors and information can be geographically tagged.


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