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DSS Hyperbook Review Questions

Revised 2/17/2009

Ch. 1 Supporting Business Decision-Making

  1. What is a transaction processing system? How does it differ from a DSS?
  2. What general type of DSS would include the following: file drawer systems, data analysis systems, data warehouses, on-line analytical processing (OLAP) systems, and Executive Information Systems?
  3. What general type of DSS emphasizes "What if?" and sensitivity analysis?
  4. What are the two underlying assumptions of Decision Support Systems?
  5. What are the four major characteristics that managers want for business decision support information and analyses?
  6. The MIS concept is an extension of the concepts of what discipline?
  7. What is the MIS concept? How is it related to DSS?
  8. What were the two main streams of research that led to the evolution and development of the concept of Decision Support Systems?
  9. What type of DSS retrieves and manages unstructured documents and web pages?
  10. What is the most important component when building any DSS? Why?
  11. What are the major practitioner and managerial issues associated with building and using Decision Support Systems?
  12. What type of computerized system records current information about sales, payroll, payments, receipts, etc. and emphasizes data integrity and consistency?
  13. What are the 5 categories or types of DSS in the expanded DSS framework?Are the 5 primary DSS Framework Categories mutually exclusive?
  14. What are the limitations of Alter's taxonomy? Why is an expanded framework need?
  15. The primary dimension used to categorize DSS is the dominant component. What are the 3 secondary dimensions?
  16. What components are common to the design and implementation of computerized Decision Support Systems?
  17. Why do managers need the support provided by DSS?
  18. What is causing an increased interest in computerized support for decision-making?
  19. What factors create limitations for the design and development of Decision Support and Information Systems?
  20. What is the definition of a DSS?
  21. What are three major characteristics of a DSS?
  22. What are four major milestones in the historical evolution of Decision Support Systems?
  23. What are the 4 traditional DSS components? How is each component linked to the expanded DSS framework?
  24. What are the definitions of the 7 characteristics of a DSS? Facilitation, Interaction, Ancillary, Repeated Use, Task-oriented, Identifiable, and Decision Impact.

Ch. 2 Gaining Competitive Advantage with DSS

  1. What is an example of a company that obtained a competitive advantage from a Decision Support System? What type of system did they implement?
  2. What technology trends provide opportunities for building and designing new DSS?
  3. What impact do new DSS projects usually have in an organization where IS/IT has a factory type role? strategic role?
  4. How can information technology affect competition in an industry?
  5. How can DSS provide a firm a competitive advantage?
  6. What criteria must a Decision Support System meet if we are to conclude it provides an organization with a competitive advantage?
  7. In what category of the Strategic Impact grid are firms dependent on cost-effective, reliable IT operational support for internal operations, and DSS are not fundamental to a firm's ability to compete?
  8. What is the greatest risk when trying to gain a competitive advantage?
  9. In general should managers "showcase" or discuss innovative DSS? If not, why not?
  10. Why do managers want to create a competitive advantage for their organzation?
  11. What are the potential benefits of a Decision Support System?
  12. What two factors affect the level of risk associated with DSS projects? What is project structure? What is project scope? How do project objectives impact project structure?
  13. What category or type of DSS was implemented at Frito-Lay, L. L. Bean, Lockheed-Georgia, Mrs. Field's Cookies and Wal-Mart?
  14. Did the EOM DSS at L. L. Bean create a competitive advantage? Did it change the structure of the industry? Did it improve the efficiency of a value chain activity? Did it create a new service? What type of DSS was implemented?
  15. What are three general advantages that commonly result from effectively implementing a decision support system?
  16. Some DSS have been poorly designed in the past and this creates resistance to implementing new DSS. How can this problem be overcome?
  17. What are the limitations of DSS?
  18. What are three reasons managers give for resisting or not using DSS?

Ch. 3 Analyzing Business Decision Processes

  1. What level of management decision making includes day-to-day decisions made in functional units by managers to implement strategic decisions, functional tactics, and operational activities? Allocating resources?
  2. What term describes decisions that are routine and repetitive with set responses?
  3. What is a problem? What three conditions indicate a problem exists?
  4. In what decision situations should computerized support be considered? How do we know a computerized decision aid is needed?
  5. What is a structured problem?
  6. How does a decision automation system differ from a DSS and from a decision support special study?
  7. The success of a decision is a function of its _______________ and of how it is _____________________________.
  8. What is the major difference between reengineering a business decision process and redesigning a business decision process?
  9. What are the 5 elements of a decision situation that provide the context for decision making?
  10. What are some impediments to "good" decisions?
  11. What are the typical characteristics of an organization that has been reengineered?
  12. Many of us make successful decisions without using specific Decision Support Systems, so what is the issue that must be addressed when evaluating the need for a DSS?
  13. What are the 3 stages in Simon's sequential decision-making process?
  14. What are the seven steps in the General Decision Process model?
  15. Do managers differ in the way they use DSS to make decisions? If so, are the differences important in designing DSS?
  16. Why do DSS analysts need to understand decision behavior? What should DSS analysts study specific decision processes in the organizations where they work?
  17. Can all managerial decisions benefit from computerized decision support? Why or why not?
  18. How does the job of a decision support analyst differ from that of a DSS analyst?
  19. What is the difference betweeen the operational control and operational performance levels in an organization hierarchy? How does level in the hierarchy impact need for and type of DSS?
  20. How does a structured problem/decision situation differ from an unstructured problem/decision situation? What are examples in managing inventory?
  21. What is the "context" of a managerial decision making situation? Does context impact the design and use of a specific DSS?
  22. What does it mean to say that a decision is successful? When can and should managers conclude a decision has been successful?
  23. What is decision process cycle time?
  24. What do we call a major, radical change in a decision process that may include a novel DSS that has a goal to improve efficiency and effectiveness of the process?

Ch. 4 Designing and Developing Decision Support Systems

  1. What task is the key to "securing a decision-oriented approach" to DSS design and development?
  2. What are the tasks of a DSS project manager?
  3. If a DSS is intended to support managers throughout a company or if company-wide data is required, then what development approach is probably best?
  4. Who participates in a DSS project? What is the role of the Executive Sponsor of a DSS?
  5. What are the steps in rapid prototyping?
  6. What is SDLC? What is end-user DSS development?
  7. What is a major advantage and disadvantage of each of the 3 alternative DSS development approaches? End user development? SDLC? Prototyping?
  8. What term is used for an organized set of practices and procedures used by DSS developers?
  9. What activities are involved in diagnosis of a decision process?
  10. What task concludes each step in the systems development life cycle approach?
  11. What systems development approach provides the most structure and discipline to developers?
  12. How can the problems of end-user DSS development be minimized, reduced or eliminated?
  13. What are the major concerns of Information Systems staffs about end-user DSS development?
  14. What are the risks and benefits of outsourcing DSS projects
  15. When should DSS be built in-house and when should development be outsourced?
  16. Who should design and develop DSS? Is this an IS department task? Do we need a design team?
  17. How much data should be collected during the diagnosis step? Who should collect it? Is a consultant needed?
  18. Does one design process seem to work better for Enterprise-Wide DSS and another for small-scale DSS?
  19. What is involved in a Decision Process Audit? What is a Decision Support Readiness Audit (Appendix I)? How does it differ from a Decision Process Audit (p. 58)?

Ch. 5 Designing and Evaluating DSS User Interfaces

  1. What is the set of menus, icons, commands, and graphical display formats that allow a user to communicate and use a program called?
  2. What interface style is the "oldest form" of computer control?
  3. What are the four user-oriented entities in the ROMC approach to designing DSS user interfaces?
  4. A help system is an example of which ROMC entity?
  5. A graph or table is an example of which ROMC entity?
  6. What are guidelines for a graphical display in a DSS user interface?
  7. What is the most frequently violated guideline for user interface design?
  8. What do we call a measure of the degree to which a user's memory is being used to process information on display screens of a DSS?
  9. What factors influence User Interface design success?
  10. What is a symmetrical screen design? What do we call an exact or balanced placement of design elements on opposite sides of a dividing line or about a center of an axis?
  11. What is a user interface?
  12. What are the various user interface styles?
  13. What steps should be followed in building a DSS User Interface?
  14. What is the ROMC approach? What is an example of each ROMC entity?
  15. What are five important guidelines for designing a user interface? Why is each especially important?
  16. What user interface style do you prefer? Why? Is a GUI better for building DSS?
  17. Why are graphics and charts important in DSS?
  18. What is meant by the statement "From the user's perspective, the dialog is the system"? Do you agree with this statement? Discuss.
  19. User interface design guidelines standardize the "look and feel" of a user interface. Why is this important?
  20. Should a DSS provide shortcuts for frequent users? If so, why?

Ch. 6 Understanding DSS Architecture, Network and Security Issues

  1. What are the four general components of a DSS? Explain each.
  2. What term do we use for how hardware is organized, how software and data are distributed in a DSS and how components of the DSS are integrated and connected?
  3. What are the benefits of defining a DSS architecture?
  4. What is a client/server architecture?
  5. What is an IP number?
  6. What does the acronym TCP/IP mean?
  7. When evaluating security needs, managers and systems administrators must balance the needs for ___________________ against the needs for ______________.
  8. What is the first line of defense in the security of a computer system?
  9. What is the purpose of the architecture and network??
  10. What is a DSS architecture?
  11. What factors have lead to the increase in networks? What problems can networks cause companies?
  12. What is a network operating system (NOS)?
  13. Give examples of possible security problems related to passwords, file permissions, and using the global Internet for a DSS.
  14. Outline the steps you would take to break-in to a DSS. How can managers make it more difficult for you to break-in to a specific DSS?
  15. What steps should be followed in managing IS/IT security?
  16. Who should be concerned about IS/IT security issues?
  17. What role should managers play in developing a DSS architecture?
  18. How would you respond to the comment that a Client/Server architecture is not feasible in your company?
  19. What are the benefits of establishing a DSS Security Policy?
  20. What are the Information Systems Architecture layers?
  21. What is a network protocol?

Ch. 7 Implementing Communications-Driven and Group DSS

  1. What are three examples of group support tools?
  2. Two-way video, audio conferencing, white boards, screen sharing and chat tools can be used for what time and place combination for Group Decision Support?
  3. What are the four categories of group decision support situations?
  4. What group support tool "allows for real-time communication among meeting participants using a graphical drawing or painting interface"?
  5. When would you use two-way interactive video as a group support tool?
  6. A small consulting firm uses the Internet to facilitate collaboration by its employees who are professionals working at home offices and at client sites. Staff and teams meet face-to-face weekly at a breakfast meeting or as needed to deal with project or interpersonal issues. What would you call this type of organization?
  7. What three dimensions are "crucial" or important for designing or choosing Group Support Software?
  8. What are the major benefits of a Group Decision Support System?
  9. What factor(s) impact the success of group support systems?
  10. What are the benefits of a virtual organization?
  11. What is a Federation organization structure?
  12. What could one call an organization structure where "A large number of interdependent organizations are grouped into a multi-level hierarchy where individual organizations retain autonomy"?
  13. What technology makes a virtual organization possible?
  14. What is a definition for a "Virtual Organization"?
  15. What media best fits the decision task of generating ideas and plans?
  16. What are the metaphorical labels for the four organization structures that may result from implementing Communications-Driven DSS?

Ch. 8 Building Data and Document-Driven DSS

  1. What is a Data-Driven DSS?
  2. What is a Document-Driven DSS?
  3. How does a Data-Driven DSS differ ffrom a Document-Driven DSS?
  4. What are the major characteristics of a data warehouse?
  5. What is a star schema?
  6. What term do we use for the concept of "data about data"?
  7. What is a well-known example of an Executive Information System?
  8. What type of DSS was Lockheed-Georgia MIDS?
  9. What are the components of a Data-Driven DSS architecture?
  10. What are the two database technologies used to store DSS data?
  11. On which dimensions do DSS and operating data differ?
  12. What are the major sub-categories of Data-Driven DSS?
  13. What is an example of a Spatial DSS application?
  14. What is the FASMI test?
  15. What are major benefits of a data warehouse, OLAP, EIS?
  16. For large scale data warehouse and Data-Driven DSS projects, what steps are followed in a "typical" development process?
  17. How can managers increase the chances for success of a Data-Driven DSS project?
  18. Why is normalization not required (and is usually not desirable) for DSS data?
  19. How does a Data Mart differ from a Data Warehouse?

Ch. 9 Building Knowledge-Driven DSS and Mining Data

  1. What are the major components of a Knowledge-Driven DSS?
  2. What are the two main types of models used in data mining?
  3. What are the characteristics of a Knowledge-Driven DSS?
  4. What are the main categories of Data Mining tools?
  5. In choosing a Knowledge-Driven DSS project, what "test" can be used to help determine if a problem is appropriate?
  6. What are two ways an inference engine can manipulate rules?
  7. What data mining tool builds models by trial and error and attempts to learn patterns from data directly by repeatedly examining the data to identify relationships?
  8. What steps must you follow to make the best use of Data Mining tools?
  9. How does a Knowledge-Driven DSS differ from data mining?
  10. What is a rule in an Knowledge-Driven DSS?
  11. What data mining tool uses optimization programs similar to linear programming models?
  12. What Data Mining tool involves three steps -- predict, compare and adjust -- to build a model from data?
  13. **What are the general benefits of using a Knowledge-driven DSS?
  14. **How does a Knowledge-driven DSS differ from a Model-driven DSS?
  15. **Briefly, what is the "true" story about data mining and beer and diapers?
  16. Siemens uses a DSS to aid technical customer support services staff. The program uses the results of previous customer inquires to help quickly answer the questions from current inquires. What type of DSS is in use in this example?

Ch. 10 Building Model-Driven DSS

  1. What is a quantitative model? What are the general components of a quantitative model? Input variables? Result variables? others? Expression? Objective function? Constraints?
  2. What are the types of models used in building a Model-Driven DSS?
  3. What is an example of a multi-criteria Decision Analysis Model?
  4. What general type or category of model is best characterized as a descriptive rather than a normative model?
  5. What is the most widely known technique in the family of tools called mathematical programming or optimization models?
  6. What are the advantages of building a model-driven DSS using a simulation model?
  7. What do we call the capability of manipulating a software model to examine the effect of changing some of the input data or independent variables?
  8. Explain sensitivity and "what if? analysis". How does sensitivity analysis differ from "what if?" analysis? Are both needed and useful?
  9. What forecasting model and method is generally considered the most complex and the most powerful?
  10. What are the six formal and analytical forecasting method categories?
  11. What is an example of a Model-Driven DSS?
  12. What are the advantages of developing and using models in a DSS?
  13. What is the role of forecasting in decision support?
  14. What question does model validation attempt to answer?
  15. What are some Management Science problem types?
  16. What is a major assumption of a typical break-even model?
  17. What type of model involves structuring problems into a hierarchy of objectives and then studying the performance of decision alternatives on specific criteria?
  18. **How does sensitivity analysis differ from "what if?" analysis?
  19. **What are 2 advantages of developing and using models in a DSS?
  20. **What are 2 disadvantages of using simulation in a model-driven DSS?
  21. Suppose you have several factories and want to find the best locations to manufacture different products to meet demand in nearby cities. You want to maximize profits and minimize shipping costs. What kind of model would your use for an analysis? Would you build a Model-Driven DSS or is this an example of a special study or ad hoc analysis? What if you use flexible manufacturing and you can change where products are manufactured on a weekly or even daily basis, would you then build a model-driven DSS?

Ch. 11 Building Web-Based and Inter-Organizational DSS

  1. What is a Web-Based DSS?
  2. What is HTML? Is it a programming language?
  3. How does Java differ from JavaScript?
  4. What is a Common Gateway Interface script?
  5. Do JavaScript programs consist of functions that are called as a result of Web browser events?
  6. What issues should managers consider when deciding if their company should build a Web-Based DSS?
  7. What benefits does a Web-Based DSS provide a company?
  8. What is an Inter-Organizational DSS?
  9. What is a "thin-client" architecture?
  10. What are three advantages of Intranets and Web-based DSS?
  11. What factors have led to the increase in Inter-Organizational systems including Inter-Organizational DSS?
  12. What term is used for describing "a personalized Web front-end that provides access to information from the Global Internet as well as a wide variety of corporate systems, including document servers, business intelligence systems, Groupware databases, and enterprise resource planning systems"?
  13. What is an example of a client-executed Decision Aid program?
  14. What are potential problems with building and using Web-Based DSS?
  15. How do Web-Based DSS extend "information reach" and "information range"?
  16. What problem(s) are companies trying to solve by implementing an Intranet?
  17. **How does a web-based DSS differ from a web-enabled DSS?
  18. **What are 2 major advantages of building and deploying a web-based DSS?
  19. **What are 2 ways that JavaScript differs from Java?

Ch. 12 Evaluating DSS Projects

  1. What type of DSS project should be evaluated most critically? What are its characteriscs?
  2. What are obstacles to using technology to create DSS for global corporations and globally distributed DSS?
  3. Evaluating DSS projects should involve evaluation activities that are commensurate or proportionate to what three factors?
  4. What do we call the calculation of how much a dollar of costs or benefits is worth today, even though it will be realized in the future?
  5. When benefits equal costs the Benefit/Cost ratio is equal to what number?
  6. What do we call the resources that have already been expended on a project?
  7. What evaluation tool and approach attempts to estimate what decision-making will be like when a proposed DSS is in place and hence speculate on how the company will benefit?
  8. What evaluation method attempts to reduce risk by requiring prototyping?
  9. What international/cultural issues impact evaluation of a DSS project?
  10. What are two problems one faces in trying to justify DSS investments?
  11. What are examples of DSS cost factors?
  12. When making a DSS project decision, what general question should managers ask and evaluate?
  13. **For a large scope, low structure DSS project, what type of evaluation is needed and justified?
  14. **What 2 cost factors are easy to overlook in a DSS project evaluation?
  15. **What are the four evaluation "tests" for proposed DSS/IT projects?

last updated 01/16/2003

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