Chapter 8
Constructing a Decision
Support System and DSS
Research


What must be done to acquire a
DSS?
DSS must be custom tailored
Decision Support Systems and Intelligent Systems, Efraim Turban and Jay E. Aronson
Copyright 1998, Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ
8.1 Opening Vignette:
Hospital Healthcare Services
Uses DSS

Jewish Hospital Healthcare Services
(JHHS)
– Regional healthcare provider in Louisville,
KY
– 7 facilities, 1,000 patient beds, 3,500
employees
– Total information management and computer
services costs = 3 % of the operating budget
– SAS development tool 1991
– JHHS managers can take clinical and
Decision Support Systems and Intelligent Systems, Efraim Turban and Jay E. Aronson
financial
mainframe to perform
Copyright
1998, Prenticefiles
Hall, Upper from
Saddle River,the
NJ

1992 various DSS applications in
–
–
–
–
–

Productivity
Cost accounting
Patient mix
Nurse staff scheduling
Several different mainframe and PC software
packages
Early 1992, integrated mainframe-based DSS
development tool MAPS
•
•
•
•
•
•
Modeling
Forecasting
Planning
Communications
Database management systems
Graphics
– Productivity DSS in MAPS
– Faster and easy to interpret
Decision Support Systems and Intelligent Systems, Efraim Turban and Jay E. Aronson
Copyright 1998, Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ
8.2 Introduction

System Development Issues
– Various commercial development software
packages on different platforms
– Different software packages for different
DSS applications
– Development packages for the mainframe
applications PCs
– Diverse applications in different functional
areas
– Vendors assisted in DSS construction
Decision Support Systems and Intelligent Systems, Efraim Turban and Jay E. Aronson
Copyright 1998, Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ
DSS Construction is
Complicated



Technical Issues
Behavioral Issues
Many Different Approaches
Decision Support Systems and Intelligent Systems, Efraim Turban and Jay E. Aronson
Copyright 1998, Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ
T A B L E 8 .1 T o w a rd a B ro a d er V iew o f D ecisio n M a k in g
N a rro w V iew
B ro a d er V iew
S in g le d ecisio n -m a k er
M u ltip le d ecisio n -m a k ers
S in g le d ecisio n p ro cess
M u ltip le d ecisio n p ro cesses sep a ra ted in p la ce a n d tim e in flu en ce a
sin g le d ecisio n
E ffica cy o f co m p u ter m o d els
M u ltip le in flu en ces o n d ecisio n ch o ice
R elia n ce o n q u a n tifia b le in fo rm a tio n
Im p o rta n ce o f q u a lita tive, " so ft" in fo rm a tio n
R elia n ce o n ra tio n a l fa cto rs
Im p o rta n ce o f p o litics, cu ltu ra l n o rm s, a n d so o n
O p tim izin g a n d efficien cy a s g o a l
O th er criteria su ch a s fa irn ess, leg itim a cy, h u m a n rela tio n s, p o w er
en h a n cem en t
D ecisio n -m a k ers w a n t th e sa m e
S o m etim es, d ecisio n -m a k ers w a n t to fu rth er g o a ls a s th e o rg a n iza tio n
th eir o w n en d s o r a re in d ifferen t to o rg a n iza tio n a l g o a ls
S in g le g o a l fo r d ecisio n
M u ltip le co n flictin g g o a ls
C h o ice is th e m a jo r p ro b lem
S u p p o rt is n eed ed fo r o th er p h a ses o f d ecisio n p ro cesses su ch a s
in tellig en ce, d esig n , im p lem en ta tio n
Decision Support Systems and Intelligent Systems, Efraim Turban and Jay E. Aronson
Copyright 1998, Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ
T A B L E 8 .1 T o w a rd a B ro a d er V iew o f D ecisio n M a kin g (co n tin u ed )
N a rro w V iew
D ecisio n situ a tio n s a re u n iq u e
B ro a d er V iew
M a n y d ecisio n s a re rep etitive; th e a b ility to lea rn fro m p a st a p p ro a ch es
to stru ctu red a n d u n stru ctu red d ecisio n situ a tio n s is im p o rta n t
D ecisio n s a re m a d e w ith so m e in ten t in
S o m e d ecisio n s a re a rb itra ry, m in d less, o r ca p ricio u s
m in d
D ecisio n p ro cesses a lw a ys resu lt in
S o m e d ecisio n p ro cesses a re in itia ted to p rep a re fo r " p o ten tia lly"
d ecisio n s
n eed ed d ecisio n s; o th ers to ra tify p a st d ecisio n s
G o a ls, p o ssib le a ctio n s, co n seq u en ces o f
P ro b lem s a re o ften u n stru ctu red
a ctio n s ca n b e d eterm in ed (th e p ro b lem
is stru ctu ra b le)
S o u rce: E . A . S to h r a n d B . R . K o n syn ski (ed s.), In fo rm a tio n S ystem s a n d D ecisio n P ro cesses , L o s A la m ito s, C A :
IE E E S o ciety P ress, 1 9 9 2 . ( 1 9 9 2 IE E E .)
Decision Support Systems and Intelligent Systems, Efraim Turban and Jay E. Aronson
Copyright 1998, Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ
8.3 Development Strategies
1. Customized DSS in general-purpose
programming language
2. Fourth-generation language
3. DSS integrated development tool
(generator or engine)
4. Domain-specific DSS generator
5. CASE methodology
6. Integrate several of the above
approaches
Decision Support Systems and Intelligent Systems, Efraim Turban and Jay E. Aronson
Copyright 1998, Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ
8.4 The DSS Development
Process



Prototyping
Not all activities are performed for every
DSS
Process summary (Figure 8.1)
Decision Support Systems and Intelligent Systems, Efraim Turban and Jay E. Aronson
Copyright 1998, Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ

Phase A: Planning
– Need assessment and problem
diagnosis
– Define objectives and goals of the
DSS
– What are the key decisions?

Phase B: Research
– Identification of a relevant approach
for addressing user needs and
available resources
Decision Support Systems and Intelligent Systems, Efraim Turban and Jay E. Aronson
Copyright 1998, Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ

Phase C: System Analysis and
Conceptual Design
– Determination of the best construction
approach and specific resources required
to implement
– Includes
•
•
•
•
Technical resources
Staff resources
Financial resources
Organizational resources
– Conceptual design followed by a
feasibility study
Decision Support Systems and Intelligent Systems, Efraim Turban and Jay E. Aronson
Copyright 1998, Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ

Phase D: Design
– Determine detailed specifications of
system
• Components
• Structure
• Features
– Select appropriate software or write them

Phase E: Construction
– Technical implementation of the design
– Tested and improve continuously
– Interface DSS with other systems
Decision Support Systems and Intelligent Systems, Efraim Turban and Jay E. Aronson
Copyright 1998, Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ

Phase F: Implementation
–
–
–
–
–
–

Testing
Evaluating
Demonstration
Orientation
Training
Deployment
Phase G: Maintenance and
Documentation
– Planning for ongoing system and user
support
– Develop proper documentation

Phase H: Adaptation
Copyright 1998, Prentice
Hall, Upper Saddlethe
River, NJearlier steps
– Recycle
through
Decision Support Systems and Intelligent Systems, Efraim Turban and Jay E. Aronson
8.5 The Development Process:
Life Cycle versus Prototyping


Life-cycle approach
Evolutionary prototyping approach
(iterative process)
Decision Support Systems and Intelligent Systems, Efraim Turban and Jay E. Aronson
Copyright 1998, Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ
The System Development Life
Cycle (SDLC) Approach and DSS


Inappropriate for Most DSS
Users and Managers may not
understand their information and
modeling needs
Decision Support Systems and Intelligent Systems, Efraim Turban and Jay E. Aronson
Copyright 1998, Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ
The Evolutionary Prototyping
Approach

Build a DSS in a series of short steps
with immediate feedback from users
– 1.Select an important subproblem to be built
first
– 2.Develop a small but usable system to
assist the decision maker
– 3.Evaluate the system constantly
– 4.Refine, expand, and modify the system in
cycles

Repeat
– Stable
comprehensive
system
Decision Supportand
Systems and
Intelligent Systems, Efraim Turban and
Jay E. Aronson evolves
Copyright 1998, Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ
Advantages of Prototyping

Short development time
Short user reaction time (feedback from user)
Improved users' understanding of the
system, its information needs, and its
capabilities.
Low cost.

Disadvantages and Limitations



– Gains might be lost through cycles

Combining prototyping with the critical
success method (Figure 8.3)
Decision Support Systems and Intelligent Systems, Efraim Turban and Jay E. Aronson
Copyright 1998, Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ
8.6 Team-Developed Versus
User-developed DSS

DSS 1970s and early 1980s

Large-scale, complex systems
Primarily provided organizational
support
Team efforts


Decision Support Systems and Intelligent Systems, Efraim Turban and Jay E. Aronson
Copyright 1998, Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ
User-Developed System Due
to the Development of









Personal computers
Computer communication networks
PC-mainframe communication
Friendly development software
Reduced cost of software and hardware
Increased capabilities of personal
computers
Enterprise-wide computing
Easy accessibility to data and models
Client/server architecture
Balance
Decision Support Systems and Intelligent Systems, Efraim Turban and Jay E. Aronson
Copyright 1998, Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ
8.7 Team-Developed DSS




Substantial effort
Extensive planning and organization
Some generic activities
Group of people to build and to
manage it. Size depends on
– effort
– tools
Decision Support Systems and Intelligent Systems, Efraim Turban and Jay E. Aronson
Copyright 1998, Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ
Organizational Placement of
the DSS Development Group
1. In the information services (IS) department
2. Highly placed executive staff group
3. Finance or other functional area
4. Industrial engineering department
5. Management Science group
6. Information center group
Decision Support Systems and Intelligent Systems, Efraim Turban and Jay E. Aronson
Copyright 1998, Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ
8.8 End-user Computing and
User-Developed DSS


End-user Computing (end-user
development) the development and
use of computer-based information
systems by people outside the formal
information systems areas
End-users
–
–
–
–
At any level of the organization
In any functional area
Levels of computer skill vary
Growing
Decision Support Systems and Intelligent Systems, Efraim Turban and Jay E. Aronson
Copyright 1998, Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ
User-Developed DSS
Advantages
1. Short delivery time
2. Eliminate extensive and formal
user requirements specifications
3. Reduce some DSS implementation
problems
4. Low cost
Decision Support Systems and Intelligent Systems, Efraim Turban and Jay E. Aronson
Copyright 1998, Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ
User-Developed DSS
Risks
1. Poor Quality
2. Quality Risks
– Substandard or inappropriate tools and
facilities
– Development process risks
– Data management risks
3. Increased Security Risks
4. Problems from Lack of Documentation
and Maintenance Procedures
Decision Support Systems and Intelligent Systems, Efraim Turban and Jay E. Aronson
Copyright 1998, Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ
D S S In F ocus 8 .3 : E xa m p le of R isk in U ser-d ev elop ed D S S
U sing a sp rea d sheet p a cka g e, in 1 9 9 6 , a C a lifornia executiv e p red icted
$ 5 5 m illion in sa les ov er the first tw o y ea rs for a com p uter his com p a ny
p la nned to introd uce. B a sed on this p rojection, other m a na g ers b eg a n
m a king p la ns for hiring a d d itiona l sta ff a nd exp a nd ing inv entories.
U nfortuna tely , the sa les p rojections w ere w rong b eca use the executiv e
ha d forg otten to includ e a p rice d iscount p la nned for a key com p onent.
O n closer exa m ina tion of the m od el, he d iscov ered the sa les estim a tes
w ere infla ted b y $ 8 m illion b eca use of a n error in the p ricing form ula .
H a d the executiv e's m ista ke not b een d etected , the a ctua l p rofit m a rg ins
w ould ha v e b een consid era b ly low er tha n the p rojection.
Decision Support Systems and Intelligent Systems, Efraim Turban and Jay E. Aronson
Copyright 1998, Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ
Issues in Reducing EndUser Computing Risks





Error detection
Use of auditing techniques
Determine the proper amount of
controls
Investigate the reasons for the
errors
Solutions
Decision Support Systems and Intelligent Systems, Efraim Turban and Jay E. Aronson
Copyright 1998, Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ
8.9 DSS Technology Levels
and Tools

Three Levels of DSS Technology
– Specific DSS [the application]
– DSS Integrated Tools (generators) [Excel]
– DSS Primary Tools [programming languages]

Plus
– DSS Integrated Tools


Now all with Web Hooks and easy GUI
interfaces
Relationships Among the Three Levels
(Figure 8.6)
Decision Support Systems and Intelligent Systems, Efraim Turban and Jay E. Aronson
Copyright 1998, Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ
8.10 Selection of DSS
Development Tools

Questions
a)
b)
c)
d)

Which tool(s) to use?
Which hardware?
Which operating system?
Which network(s) to run it on?
Options
– Mainframe DSS Software
– PC DSS Software
– (Unix) Workstation Software
Decision Support Systems and Intelligent Systems, Efraim Turban and Jay E. Aronson
Copyright 1998, Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ
Complexity of the Software
Selection Process
1. DSS information requirement and
outputs are not completely known
2. Hundreds of software packages
3. Software packages evolve very rapidly
4. Frequent price changes
5. Several people involved
Decision Support Systems and Intelligent Systems, Efraim Turban and Jay E. Aronson
Copyright 1998, Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ
6. One language for several DSS? Tool
requirements may change
7. Dozens of criteria, some intangible,
some conflict
8. Technical, functional, end-user, and
managerial issues
9. Published evaluations are subjective
and superficial
10.Trade off between open and closed
environments
Decision Support Systems and Intelligent Systems, Efraim Turban and Jay E. Aronson
Copyright 1998, Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ
DSS Generator Selection

Some DSS generators are better for
certain types of applications than
others
Decision Support Systems and Intelligent Systems, Efraim Turban and Jay E. Aronson
Copyright 1998, Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ
8.11 Developing DSS





Putting the System Together
Development tools and generators
Use of highly automated tools
Use of prefabricated pieces
Both increase the builder’s
productivity
Decision Support Systems and Intelligent Systems, Efraim Turban and Jay E. Aronson
Copyright 1998, Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ
DSS Development System
Includes






Request (query) handler
System analysis and design facility
Dialog management system
Report generator
Graphics generator
Source code manager
Decision Support Systems and Intelligent Systems, Efraim Turban and Jay E. Aronson
Copyright 1998, Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ







Model base management system
Knowledge management system
Object-oriented tools
Standard statistical and
management science tools
Special modeling tools
Programming languages
Document imaging tools
Decision Support Systems and Intelligent Systems, Efraim Turban and Jay E. Aronson
Copyright 1998, Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ
DSS Development System
Components






Some may be integrated into a DSS
generator
Others may be added as needed
Components used to build a new DSS
Core of the system includes a
development language or a DSS
generator
Construction is done by combining
programming modules
Windows environment handles the
Decision Support Systems and Intelligent Systems, Efraim Turban and Jay E. Aronson
Copyright 1998, Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ
8.12 DSS Research Directions*
The DSS of the Future
1. Intelligent DSS can be proactive
2. Future DSS should be creative
3. DSS will become decision-paced
4. Larger role for management science, cognitive
psychology, behavioral theory, information
economics, computer science, and political
science
5. Latest advances in computer technology improving
DSS
* Source: Based on J. J. Elam, J. C. Henderson, P. G. W. Keen and B. Konsynski, A
Vision for Decision Support Systems, Special Report, University of Texas, Austin,
TX,Decision
1986. Support Systems and Intelligent Systems, Efraim Turban and Jay E. Aronson
Copyright 1998, Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ
6. Improved DSS apply to more unstructured
problems
7. Must be able to create alternatives
independently
8. Much longer-range perspective of DSS
research
9. Research on interactions between individuals
and groups
10.More examination of the human component of
DSS: learning and empowerment.
11.The integration of DSS with other systems
(ES, CBIS)
12.Expansion of the model management concept
Decision Support Systems and Intelligent Systems, Efraim Turban and Jay E. Aronson
Copyright 1998, Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ
13.Enhancement of DSS theory (decision quality
measurement, learning, and effectiveness)
14.New theories for of organizational decision
making and group decision making
15.Enhancement of DSS applications with
values, ethics, and aesthetics
16.Major research thrust in human-machine
interfaces and their impacts on creativity and
learning
17.Exploration to find the appropriate
architectures for decision makers to use ES
18.Organizational impacts of DSS
Decision Support Systems and Intelligent Systems, Efraim Turban and Jay E. Aronson
Copyright 1998, Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ
Extensive DSS Research
1. Broader view of decision making
2. Behavioral research
3. Research based on team theory
4. Stimulus-based DSS
5. Qualitative DSS
6. Usefulness of DSS
7. DSS and the Internet
8. Profile of DSS Research
Decision Support Systems and Intelligent Systems, Efraim Turban and Jay E. Aronson
Copyright 1998, Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ
8.13 The DSS of the Future
DSS Trends
1. PC-based DSS continues to grow
2. For institutionalized DSS: trend is toward
distributed DSS
3. For pooled interdependent decision support, group
DSS
4. Decision support system products are
incorporating artificial intelligence: intelligent DSS
5. Focused versions of DSS toward specific sets of
users or applications (EIS, GSS)
6. DSS groups moving into mainstream support
7. Continued development of user-friendly capabilities
8. The DSS software market continues to develop and
mature
– Sprague and Watson [1996]
Decision Support Systems and Intelligent Systems, Efraim Turban and Jay E. Aronson
Copyright 1998, Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ
Challenges of DSS




Integrated Architecture
Connectivity
Document Data Management
More Intelligence
– Sprague and Watson [1996]
Decision Support Systems and Intelligent Systems, Efraim Turban and Jay E. Aronson
Copyright 1998, Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ
Highlights / Summary









DSS are complex and their construction can be
DSS Technologies
Iterative (prototyping) approach
DSS teams or individuals.
End user computing allows decision makers to build
their own DSS
Most DSS are constructed with DSS development
generators or with nonintegrated 4GL development
tools
Many DSS are also constructed in integrated software
suites on personal computers.
Tool and generator selection can be tricky.
DSS research continues
Decision Support Systems and Intelligent Systems, Efraim Turban and Jay E. Aronson
Copyright 1998, Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ
Debate
Debate the issues (advantages and risks)
in end-user DSS development. Use
examples from the literature to back up
your arguments.
Decision Support Systems and Intelligent Systems, Efraim Turban and Jay E. Aronson
Copyright 1998, Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ
Internet Assignments
1.Explore software vendors. Find
vendors, download demos,
identify user groups, and prepare
a report.
Group 1--Spreadsheet and
modeling tools
Group 2--Database related tools
Group 3--Graphics and user
interface tools.
Decision Support Systems and Intelligent Systems, Efraim Turban and Jay E. Aronson
Copyright 1998, Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ
Questions for the Opening
Vignette
1. Describe the steps in Figure 8.1 that you
can identify for the JHHS Vignette.
2. Why was a quantitative cost/benefit
analysis not done?
3. Comment on the various DSS tools and
generators. Can you classify them?
4. Why was the high level of trust and
credibility in the integrity of the provided
information important?
5. Discuss the benefits of the DSS.
Decision Support Systems and Intelligent Systems, Efraim Turban and Jay E. Aronson
Copyright 1998, Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ
CASE APPLICATION 8.1:
Wesleyan University--DSS for
Student Financial Aid
Questions
1.Why was there a need for a DSS?
2.What kind of generators and tools were
used during construction?
3.Identify some DSS capabilities that were
used.
Decision Support Systems and Intelligent Systems, Efraim Turban and Jay E. Aronson
Copyright 1998, Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ
APPENDIX 8-A: Prototyping

Process of building a "quick and
dirty" version of an information
system
– Throwaway
– Evolutionary
Decision Support Systems and Intelligent Systems, Efraim Turban and Jay E. Aronson
Copyright 1998, Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ
Evolutionary Steps
1. Identify user's information and operating
requirements in a "quick and dirty" manner.
2. Develop a working prototype that performs only
the most important function (e.g., using a
sample database).
3. Test and evaluate (done by user and builder).
4. Redefine information needs and improve the
system.

Repeat the last two steps several times
Decision Support Systems and Intelligent Systems, Efraim Turban and Jay E. Aronson
Copyright 1998, Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ
The Primary Features of
Prototyping
1. Learning is explicitly integrated into the
design process
2. Short intervals between iterations
3. User involvement is very important (joint
application development (JAD) method)
4. Initial prototype must be low cost
5. Prototyping essentially bypasses the lifecycle stage of information requirements
definition
Decision Support Systems and Intelligent Systems, Efraim Turban and Jay E. Aronson
Copyright 1998, Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ
A P P E N D IX 8 -B : S p e c ific T a c tic s W ith in
D iffe re n t Q u a lity -c o n tro l A p p ro a c h e s A im e d
a t R e d u c in g th e R is k s o f U s e r-d e v e lo p e d
DSS

U ser-d ev elo p ed
Q uality -co ntro l
D S S R isks
A p p ro aches
Inco rrect p ro b lem

A naly st rev iew s and aud its
S p ecific T actics

sp ecificatio ns

P iecem eal and increm ental

d ev elo p m ent ap p ro ach
F o rm atio n o f q uality
assurance team s
M o d eling erro rs

T hreats to d ata security and
integ rity

O rg anizatio nal and

D ata m anag em ent p o licies
m anag em ent p o licies

H ard w are/so ftw are
D ev ice/so ftw are
inco m p atib ility


stand ard s

F o rm al justificatio n p o licies
M isco nceiv ed inv estm ent o f
o rg anizatio nal reso urces
Decision Support Systems and Intelligent Systems, Efraim Turban and Jay E. Aronson
Copyright 1998, Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ

Incorrect problem

S upport and training
specifications


O rganizational consultants

T raining in end-user
Insufficient search for
com puting
solution

M odeling errors

Piecem eal developm ent

and D P concepts

S oftw are for spreadsheet
approach

T hreats to data integrity
and security

Poor data integrity

H ardw are/softw are

C alculation errors

A uditing techniques

Poor data security
audits

S oftw are/hardw are for
access and m onitoring
(S ou rce: M . A lavi, " E nd-U ser D eveloped D S S : S teps T ow ards Q uality C ontrol,"
P roceedings: M anagers, M icros and M ainfram e , N Y U S ym posium , N ew Y ork, M ay 1985.
U sed w ith perm ission.)
Decision Support Systems and Intelligent Systems, Efraim Turban and Jay E. Aronson
Copyright 1998, Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ
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Chapter 8 Constructing a Decision Support System and …