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Decision support system

            Decision support systems are a class of computerized information system that assist and supports business and organizational decision-making activities.  A usual decision support system would be an interactive computer software that helps decision makers gather raw data, documents, experience, knowledge, and business models, to identify and solve problems as well as making business decisions.  Typical types of information that can be acquired using a DSS can be inventory, current and past sales, projected sales, and consequences for alternative decisions.

            Different orders of decision support systems exist.  Daniel Power states that those are communication-driven DSS, data-driven DSS, document-driven DSS, knowledge-driven DSS, and model-driven DSS.  A communication-driven DSS supports multiple people working on a shared task; for example, Microsoft’s Netmeeting or Groove.  A data-driven 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 offers specialized problem-solving expertise stored as facts, rules, and procedures.  Lastly, a model-driven DSS emphasizes and manipulation of statistical, financial, optimization, or simulation model.

            The architecture of the decision support systems consists of three things.  The first is the database, which contains numerous amounts of information.  The second is the model which is overall structure.  Lastly, we have the user interface which provides the means of input and output.  As for the components, the decision support system classifies them as inputs, user and knowledge expertise, outputs, and decisions.  Inputs are the factors, numbers, and characters that are to analyze.  User and knowledge expertise are inputs requiring manual analysis by the user.  Outputs are transformed data in which DSS “decisions” are generated.  And the decisions are the results generated by the DSS based on user criteria.

            There are plenty of uses for decision support systems.  Medical centers Clinical decision support systems for medical diagnosis.  In business and management, decision support systems are used to track business trends, performance, resource allocation, etc.  Another notable use would be for sustainable agriculture.  The DSS has been used here to maintain proper farming policy levels.  These uses come with many benefits as well.  DSS improves efficiency, expedites problem solving, facilitates interpersonal communication, promotes learning and training, increases organizational control, generates new evidence in support of a decision, creates a competitive advantage over competition, encourages exploration and discovery on the part of the decision maker, and reveals new approaches to thinking about the problem.