Decision Support System Evolution, Objectives

10/01/2021 0 By indiafreenotes

A decision support system (DSS) is an information system that supports business or organizational decision-making activities. DSSs serve the management, operations and planning levels of an organization (usually mid and higher management) and help people make decisions about problems that may be rapidly changing and not easily specified in advance i.e., unstructured and semi-structured decision problems. Decision support systems can be either fully computerized or human-powered, or a combination of both.


The concept of decision support has evolved mainly from the theoretical studies of organizational decision making done at the Carnegie Institute of Technology during the late 1950s and early 1960s, and the implementation work done in the 1960s. DSS became an area of research of its own in the middle of the 1970s, before gaining in intensity during the 1980s. In the middle and late 1980s, executive information systems (EIS), group decision support systems (GDSS), and organizational decision support systems (ODSS) evolved from the single user and model-oriented DSS.

According to Sol (1987) the definition and scope of DSS has been migrating over the years: in the 1970s DSS was described as “a computer-based system to aid decision making”; in the late 1970s the DSS movement started focusing on “interactive computer-based systems which help decision-makers utilize data bases and models to solve ill-structured problems”; in the 1980s DSS should provide systems “using suitable and available technology to improve effectiveness of managerial and professional activities”, and towards the end of 1980s DSS faced a new challenge towards the design of intelligent workstations.

In 1987, Texas Instruments completed development of the Gate Assignment Display System (GADS) for United Airlines. This decision support system is credited with significantly reducing travel delays by aiding the management of ground operations at various airports, beginning with O’Hare International Airport in Chicago and Stapleton Airport in Denver Colorado.[5] Beginning in about 1990, data warehousing and on-line analytical processing (OLAP) began broadening the realm of DSS. As the turn of the millennium approached, new Web-based analytical applications were introduced.

The advent of more and better reporting technologies has seen DSS start to emerge as a critical component of management design. Examples of this can be seen in the intense amount of discussion of DSS in the education environment.

DSS also have a weak connection to the user interface paradigm of hypertext. Both the University of Vermont PROMIS system (for medical decision making) and the Carnegie Mellon ZOG/KMS system (for military and business decision making) were decision support systems which also were major breakthroughs in user interface research. Furthermore, although hypertext researchers have generally been concerned with information overload, certain researchers, notably Douglas Engelbart, have been focused on decision makers in particular.

The Decision Support Systems can be divided into following categories:

Model-driven DSS

A model-driven DSS was based on simple quantitative models. It used limited data and emphasized manipulation of financial models. A model-drive DSS was used in production planning, scheduling and management. It provided the most elementary functionality to manufacturing concerns.

Data-driven DSS

Data-driven DSS emphasized the access and manipulation of data tailored to specific tasks using general tools. While it also provided elementary functionality to businesses, it relied heavily on time-series data. It was able to support decision making in a range of situations.

Communication-driven DSS

As the name suggests, communication-driven DSS uses communication and network technologies to facilitate decision making. The major difference between this and the previous classes of DSS was that it supported collaboration and communication. It made use of a variety of tools including computer-based bulletin boards, audio and video conferencing.

Document-driven DSS

A document-driven DSS uses large document databases that stores documents, images, sounds, videos and hypertext docs. It has a primary search engine tool associated for searching the data when required. The information stored can be facts and figures, historical data, minutes of meetings, catalogs, business correspondences, product specifications, etc.

Knowledge-driven DSS

Knowledge-based DSS are human-computer systems that come with a problem-solving expertise. These combine artificial intelligence with human cognitive capacities and can suggest actions to users. The notable point is that these systems have expertise in a particular domain.

Web-based DSS

Web-based DSS is considered most sophisticated decision support system that extends its capabilities by making use of worldwide web and internet. The evolution continues with advancement in internet technology.


  • Support for decision makers in semi structured and unstructured problems.
  • Support managers at all levels.
  • Support individuals and groups.
  • Support for interdependent or sequential decisions.
  • Support intelligence, design, choice, and implementation.
  • Support variety of decision processes and styles