Book Contents

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

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Advanced Inter-Organizational Systems

The most advanced Inter-Organizational systems (IOS) use the public Internet to create communications links. The systems may involve any stakeholder with access to the Internet and authority or privileges to use specific capabilities. These advanced systems are associated with electronic commerce, DSS and Extranets. The increasing importance of easy and efficient access to information has lead many companies especially large ones to move toward more advanced Inter-Organizational systems. The increasing use of the Internet is significantly decreasing the costs of complex networks between suppliers, customers and manufacturers/retailers. The networked economy is creating electronic business communities -- networks of suppliers, distributors, commerce providers, customers, and even competitors, according to the Alliance for Converging Technologies. The mission of the Alliance is to help companies collectively produce products and services by exchanging information online (see Tapscott, 1998).

Web technologies offer firms the opportunity to gather market intelligence and monitor consumer choices through customers' revealed preferences in navigational and purchasing behavior on the Web. Inter-Organizational DSS reduce costs to suppliers by letting them electronically access on-line databases of bid opportunities, online abilities to submit bids, and online review of awards. The Web facilitates cooperative processes and can include buyers, suppliers, and partners in redesigned business processes.

With Web-Based DSS supporting value chains, the supply-chain management system and the customer support system can be integrated. Integration can provide sharing of manufacturing, inventory and sales data. With such a system suppliers build to order and do not stock inventory based on projections. A collaborative Extranet supports relationships with key accounts. With an Extranet departmental peers in customer and supplier organizations are connected for real-time collaboration. A well-designed Extranet with Web-Based DSS should reduce cycle time and promote greater creativity in solving shared business problems.


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