Three Secondary Dimensions of DSS
A relatively new category of DSS made possible by new technologies and the rapid growth of the public Internet is Inter-Organizational DSS. These DSS serve a company's customers or suppliers. The public Internet is creating communication links for many types of inter-organizational systems, including DSS. An Inter-Organizational DSS provides stakeholders with access to a company’s intranet and authority or privileges to use specific DSS capabilities. Companies can make a Data-Driven DSS available to suppliers or a Model-Driven DSS available to customers to design a product or choose a product. Most DSS are Intra-Organizational DSS that are designed for use by individuals in a company as "stand-alone DSS" or for use by a group of managers in a company as a Group or Enterprise-Wide DSS. The prefix "intra" means the DSS is used within a specific organization and "inter" means the DSS is used more widely.
Many DSS are designed to support specific business functions or types of businesses and industries. We can call such DSS function-specific or industry-specific DSS. A Function-Specific DSS like a budgeting system may be purchased from a vendor or customized in-house using a more general-purpose development package. Vendor developed or "off-the-shelf" DSS support functional areas of a business like marketing or finance; some DSS products are designed to support decision tasks in a specific industry like a crew scheduling DSS for an airline. A task-specific DSS has an important purpose in solving a routine or recurring decision task. Function or task-specific DSS can be further classified and understood in terms of the dominant DSS component, that is as a Model-Driven, Data-Driven or Suggestion DSS. A function or task-specific DSS holds and derives knowledge relevant for a decision about some function that an organization performs (e.g., a marketing function or a production function). This type of DSS is categorized by purpose; Function-Specific DSS help a person or group accomplish a specific decision task. General-purpose DSS software helps support broad tasks like project management, decision analysis, or business planning.
Finally, all of the above types of DSS can be implemented using Web technologies and we can call these systems Web-Based DSS. A Web-Based DSS is a computerized system that delivers decision support information or decision support tools to a manager or business analyst using a "thin-client" Web browser like Netscape Navigator or Internet Explorer. The computer server that is hosting the DSS application is linked to the user's computer by a network with the TCP/IP protocol. In many companies, a Web-Based DSS is synonymous with an intranet or Enterprise-Wide DSS. A company intranet is supporting a large group of managers using Web browsers in a networked environment. Managers often have Web access to a data warehouse as part of a DSS architecture. Today Web technologies are the primary tools used to create Inter-Organizational DSS that support the decision-making of customers and suppliers.
Web or Internet technologies are the leading edge for building DSS, but some Intra-Organizational DSS will continue to be built using traditional programming languages or fourth generation languages or application development tools using "thick-client" or mainframe enabling technologies.
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