Book Contents

Ch. 11
Building Web-Based and Inter-Organizational Decision Support Systems

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Managing Web-Based and Inter-Organizational DSS

Companies are using both traditional Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) and newer Web-Based extranet technologies to build "trading communities". These inter-organizational systems can support both transaction processing and cooperative or shared decision-making. Despite the possibilities, a number of real-world issues like re-engineering or redesigning business processes and encouraging trading partners to participate in e-business relationships remain major challenges. Managers in interdependent organizations need to cooperate to build shared DSS and suppliers need to consider what types of DSS can assist their customers. Also, managers must confront a variety of business, technical and legal issues and impediments if they want to build effective Inter-Organizational DSS.

The first major business issue that must be confronted is who will use the system -- customers, suppliers or both? Then managers need to ask a number of more specific questions: What is the cost of the proposed Web-Based, Inter-Organizational DSS and who will pay the cost? Then managers need to ask: "Do we need to reengineer or redesign our processes? Does the Internet increase the speed of decisions and transactions and create efficiencies for our business? Will the use of networks, Web-Based DSS and the Internet create new value for customers?" Too many No answers to the above questions and proposed DSS projects will certainly fail.

In terms of technical issues, managers need to ask if the initiating company has the staff and technology in place to build the proposed Inter-Organizational systems. Someone needs to determine what hardware and software partners and participants will need to acquire. Technical issues can be overcome if potential problems and needs are identified early in the development process.

Finally, from a legal perspective managers need to determine what material can be made available to external users, especially customers and suppliers, to support their decision-making. And managers should ask: Do we have privacy or liability issues or copyright issues associated with the proposed DSS project?


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