Advantages of Decision Support System

(1) Time savings. For all categories of decision support systems, research has demonstrated and substantiated reduced decision cycle time, increased employee productivity and more timely information for decision making. The time savings that have been documented from using computerized decision support are often substantial. Researchers, however, have not always demonstrated that decision quality remained the same or actually improved.

(2) Enhance effectiveness. A second category of advantage that has been widely discussed and examined is improved decision making effectiveness and better decisions. Decision quality and decision making effectiveness are however hard to document and measure. Most researches have examined soft measures like perceived decision quality rather than objective measures. Advocates of building data warehouses identify the possibility of more and better analysis that can improve decision making.

(3) Improve interpersonal communication. DSS can improve communication and collaboration among decision makers. In appropriate circumstances, communications- driven and group DSS have had this impact. Model-driven DSS provides a means for sharing facts and assumptions. Data-driven DSS make "one version of the truth" about company operations available to managers and hence can encourage fact-based decision making. Improved data accessibility is often a major motivation for building a data-driven DSS. This advantage has not been adequately demonstrated for most types of DSS.

(4) Competitive advantage. Vendors frequently cite this advantage for business intelligence systems, performance management systems, and web-based DSS. Although it is possible to gain a competitive advantage from computerized decision support, this is not a likely outcome. Vendors routinely sell the same product to competitors and even help with the installation. Organizations are most likely to gain this advantage from novel, high risk, enterprise-wide, inward facing decision support systems. Measuring this is and will continue to be difficult.

(5) Cost reduction. Some researches and especially case studies have documented DSS cost saving from labor savings in making decisions and from lower infrastructure or technology costs. This is not always a goal of building DSS.

(6) Increase decision maker satisfaction. The novelty of using computers has and may continue to confound analysis of this outcome. DSS may reduce frustrations of decision makers, create perceptions that better information is being used and/or creates perceptions that the individual is a "better" decision maker. Satisfaction is a complex measure and researchers often measure satisfaction with the DSS rather than satisfaction with using a DSS in decision making. Some studies have compared satisfaction with and without computerized decision aids. Those studies suggest the complexity and "love/hate" tension of using computers for decision support.

(7) Promote learning. Learning can occur as a by-product of initial and ongoing use of a DSS. Two types of learning seem to occur: learning of new concepts and the development of a better factual understanding of the business and decision making environment. Some DSS serve as "de facto" training tools for new employees. This potential advantage has not been adequately examined.

(8) Increase organizational control. Data-driven DSS often make business transaction data available for performance monitoring and ad hoc querying. Such systems can enhance management understanding of business operations and managers perceive that this is useful. What is not always evident is the financial benefit from increasingly detailed data.

Regulations like Sarbanes-Oxley often dictate reporting requirements and hence heavily influence the control information that is made available to managers. On a more ominous note, some DSS provide summary data about decisions made, usage of the systems, and recommendations of the system. Managers need to be very careful about how decision-related information is collected and then used for organizational control purposes. If employees feel threatened or spied upon when using a DSS, the benefits of the DSS can be reduced. More research is needed on these questions.

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