Decision Support Systems: an overview


Mrs. Manjusha P. Inamdar
P.E. Society's
Institute of Management and Career Development
Nigdi, Pune-44

Decision is most important in any organization. One wrong decision causes many problem in organization it affects on whole organizational environment as well as external environment.

Let us Define Decision making which is a process of choosing among alternative courses of action for the purpose of attaining a goal or goals. According to Simon (1977), managerial decision-making is synonymous with the whole process of management.  Consider the important managerial function of planning. Planning involves a series of decisions.  What should be done? when? How Where? By whom? Hence planning implies decision-making. Other functions in the management process such as organizing and controlling also involve making decisions.

What is A DSS ?

DSS is "MODEL - BASED set of procedures for processing data and judgments to assist a manager in his decision making.  DSS is identified it as a system intended to support managerial decision makers in semi structured decision situations. It helps decision makers to extend their capabilities but not to replace their decisions.

Characteristics and capabilities of DSS

1. DSS provide support for decision makers mainly semi structured and unstructured situations by bringing together human judgment and computer.

2. Support is provided for various managerial levels.

3. Support is provided to individuals as well as to groups.

4. DSS provide support to several interdependent and sequential decisions.

5. It support all phases of the decision-making process.

6. DSS attempt to improve the effectiveness of decision making.

7. Decision maker has complete control over all steps of the decision making process in solving a problem .

8. A DSS usually utilizes models for analyzing decision-making situations.

Classification of DSS

Test-oriented DSS

Information is often stored in a textual format and must be accessed by decision makers. This text document can be refer by decision maker as and when required.. Information technologies such as Web based documents.

Database-oriented DSS

In this type of DSS the database organization plays a major role in the DSS structure

Spreadsheet-oriented DSS

A spreadsheet is a modeling language that allows the user to write models to execute DSS analysis

Solver oriented DSS: A solver is an procedure written as a computer program for performing certain computations for solving a particular problem type.

Rule-oriented DSS: The knowledge component of DSS described earlier includes both procedural rules.

Some Common examples of DSS Applications

An airlines DSS : an analytical information Management System is a decision support system used in the airline industry. It was developed by American Airlines but is used by other airlines, aircraft manufacturers , and airline financial analysts , consultants, and associations. It supports a variety of airline decisions by studying factors such as aircraft utilization seating capacity and utilization ,traffic  statistics, market share and revenue and profitability results..

A marketing DSS :- Brandaid is a DSS used for marketing planning especially in the packaged goods industries.  It helps brand managers make pricing, sales effort, promotion, advertising, and budgeting decisions for products, product lines and brands of products.  It produces sales forecasts and profitability estimates using internal and external data about customers, competitors retailers, and other economic and demographic information.

A government DSS GADS (Geodata Analysis and Display System) was developed by IBM. It constructs and displays maps and other graphics displays that support decisions affecting the geographic distribution of people and other resources. E.G. it can analyze and display the geographic distribution of crimes and thus help decide how to assign police to geographic areas of a city. It has also been used for urban growth studies defining school district boundaries, and fire department inspection and equipment deployment..

A Banking DSS: MAPP(Managerial Analysis for profit planning ) is a DSS developed by city bank. It was designed to support decisions involved in the financial planning, budgeting costing and pricing of bank products . It helps bank executives define banking products and services and identify the cost incurred in providing them.  I also helps determine how resources should be shifted among bank products and services, and it prepares budges for the bank departments producing each banking product.


Two recent developments in computer technology provide a fertile ground for new or enhanced DSS application .  The first one is Web technologies (Internet,intranet, and extranets), and the second one is enterprise software such as ERP and SCM.

The Web development is divided into to two categories:

DSS development

The Web can be used for collecting both external and internal data for the DSS database. In addition the web can be used to download DSS software or to use DSS application provided by the company.


The DSS is used on the Web in several ways. First users can go on the intranet and activate ready-made DSS applications Namely all they have to do is to enter some data, or specify dates and other information . Dss can get online advice and help for using DSS application . They can communicate with others regarding the interpretation of the DSS results.

Group Support System(GSS) : Most major decisions are made collectively .  Working in a group may be complicated process, and it can be supported by computers is called Group support system.

Mrs. Manjusha P. Inamdar
P.E. Society's
Institute of Management and Career Development
Nigdi, Pune-44

Source: E-mail May 21, 2007


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