Decision Support Systems
The concept of decision support systems [DSS] is rather broad in
that it includes any system that supports decision-making. This
- Decision planning models - such as critical paths, fish tail
- Decision support systems that use a computer program to assist
For our purposes, we will focus on those software programs that
provide decision making support, using a variety of methods. These
are also known as 'expert systems'.
Expert systems are described as 'knowledge based systems'. They
consist of a computer program that contains subject-specific knowledge
and the analytical logic of one or more human experts. An expert
system is the first stage down the toward of artificial intelligence.
Expert systems focused on decision making use logic [sets of rules
and dependencies] that analyzes information related to a specific
class of problems. The DSS applies mathematical analysis of the
problem, and, depending upon their design, recommends a course of
user action to implement. The intelligence and reasoning capabilities
used to reach conclusions are constrained by the logical relationships
entered by the programmer.
A simple form of expert system is what we know as a 'wizard'. A
wizard walks you step by step through a scenario, and based upon
your answers at each step, presents you with the next set of questions,
until it reaches a point where a logical conclusion can be made
as to how best to action the task or remedy the issue. Software
installation "Wizards" are not expert systems.
Advantages and Disadvantages
Significant cost savings can result from the use of expert systems.
They are also highly valued in preserving corporate intelligence
- Speed up decision making
- Quality improvement by providing consistent answers for repetitive
decisions, processes and tasks
- Preserve scarce expertise
- Hold and maintain significant levels of information
- Reduces creating entry barriers to competitors
- Review transactions that human experts may overlook
- Lack human common sense needed in some decision making
- Creative responses human experts can respond to in unusual
- Domain experts not always able to explain their logic and reasoning
- Challenges of automating complex processes
- Lack of flexibility and ability to adapt to changing environments
as questions are standard and cannot be changed
- Not able to recognize when no answer is available
Expert systems are now commonly integrated with conventional information
technology and databases.
to Make A Decision Using DSS
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