Beginning in the late 1970s, many vendors, practitioners and academics promoted computer-based Decision Support Systems (DSS). They created high expectations for DSS and much optimism about the prospects for improving decision-making. Despite the hyperbole, the success rate of DSS applications has been less than anticipated. Although the computing industry has transformed how business transactions and data are processed, managers have often been disappointed by attempts to use computers and information technology to support decision-making (cf., Drucker, 1998). Recently, because of technological developments, managers have become more enthusiastic about implementing innovative decision support projects. This is a positive development, but both managers and MIS practitioners need to discuss and review their expectations about Decision Support Systems before they begin important projects.
Anecdotes and research demonstrate that computer-based Decision Support Systems can provide managers with analytical capabilities and information that improves decision-making. In pursuing this goal, many different types of computerized Decision Support Systems have been built to help decision teams and individual decision makers. Some systems provide structured information directly to managers. Other systems help managers and staff specialists analyze situations using various types of models. Some DSS store knowledge and make it available to managers. Some systems support decision-making by small and large groups. Companies even develop DSS to support the decision-making of their customers and suppliers.
This book and chapter discuss how computers and information technology can support and improve business and managerial decision-making. The chapter begins with a short history of Decision Support and Management Information Systems; then the focus turns to examining the Decision Support Systems concept. Based on that examination, a revised framework for categorizing DSS is discussed. Finally, the new framework is linked to the traditional components of a Decision Support System.