Types of systems

Decision Support Systems

Decision support systems are targeted systems that combine analytical for models with operational data and supportive interactive queries and analysis for middle managers who face semi-structured decision situations. Decision support systems support semi-structured and unstructured problem analysis and emphasizes change, flexibility, and a rapid response.

With a DSS (Decision Support Systems) there is less of an effort to link users to structured information flows and a correspondingly greater emphasis on models, assumptions, ad hoc queries, and display graphics.

Model-driven Decision Support Systems

Model-driven decision support systems emphasize access to and manipulation of a statistical, financial, optimization or simulation model. Online analytical processing (OLAP) systems that provide complex analysis of data can be classified as hybrid DSS systems providing both modeling and data retrieval and data summarization functionality.

Model-driven DSS use data and parameters provided by decision makers to aid decision makers in analyzing a situation, but they are not necessarily data intensive, that is very large data bases are not needed for many model-driven DSSs.

Data-driven Decision Support Systems

Data-driven DSS support decision making by enabling users to extract useful information that was previously buried in large quantities of data. Often data from transaction processing systems are collected in data warehouse for this purpose. Online analytical processing (OLAP) and data mining can then be used to analyze the data. Companies are starting to build data-driven DSS to mine customer data gathered from their Web sites as well as data from enterprise systems.

Executive Support Systems

Executive support systems are computer-based systems that provide top managers with the capability to attain easy access to internal and external information which is relevant to strategic decision making and other executive responsibilities. The terms of “executive support systems” and “executive information systems” are often used interchangeably, although executive support systems typically refer to a system with a broader set of capabilities.

ESSs are specifically designed for senior executives and have made many CEOs first-time hands-on computer users. The ESS study conducted by the authors was directed to CEOs, with instructions to complete the questionnaire or forward it to a more appropriate individual to complete. More than one-half of the questionnaires returned were completed by the chief executive officer of a Fortune 500 company.

One-quarter of the respondents were individuals at the vice-presidential level, with the remaining respondents comprising presidents and other upper-level managers. In addition to other ESS issues, this research explored the levels of management - utilizing executive support systems within major corporations. Contrary to the commonly defined target market for ESS, findings revealed that this software technology is used at many levels, including but not limited to middle management and above. The above model illustrates the extent of usage for each level of management.

Group Decision Support Systems

During the past decades, many types of decision support systems have been developed to meet the unique needs of individual managers and executives. Now attention is being directed to the design of DSS technologies for being used by groups of managers and executive teams. Vogel and Nunamakers have broadly defined a group decision support system as any application of information technology to support the work of groups.

One frequently used GDSS design is decision conferencing. Unlike other types of GDSS in which group members work rather independently at their own keyboards and screens, decision conferencing employs a highly portable, chauffeur-driven computer systems to support face-to-face meetings devoted to a focal problem that demands intensive collaboration and consensus building.

Typical of organization innovation generally, most of the new GDSS designs have been developed in research environments apart from organizational units in which their intended users are located. For this reason, the technologies of GDSS typically must be transferred from the research and development settings that hosted the early creative work on innovation to the organizational settings into which the innovation may be assimilated and eventually institutionalized.

Between the preliminary phase of innovation development and the second phase of assimilation are found those activities of technology transfer best described as initiation, when some rudimental form of GDSS is introduced and used for the first time in an organization. Successful initiation arguably encourages a willingness to use the technology again, perhaps repeatedly, while problems at the time of introduction may doom, at least temporarily, subsequent progress toward assimilation. Nevertheless, as Cooper and Zmud make clear, virtually no research on the implement technology has focused on the initiation stage.

As more groups of managers and executive teams attempt to appropriate GDSS technologies, more documentation of apparent assimilation failures is likely to become available. Why does the process of GDSS technology transfer not always lead eventually to adoption, adaption, and acceptance in a particular work environment but rather come to a halt at the initiation stage? Bikson and Eveland concluded, “what most often goes wrong has to do with the fit between the new technology and functioning organization.” Clearly, the first opportunity to study such fit is at the time of its introduction.

Management Information Systems

Management information systems, as with any field of study, can benefit from a framework into which past and present research can be classified and from which potential research hypotheses may be generated. Although there are existing models, they tend to be fairly narrow in scope. The limitations of existing frameworks suggest the need for a more comprehensive framework or model for research.

MIS is defined as a computer-based organizational information system which provides information support for management activities and functions. The term MIS is well accepted, but the MIS may also be called an organizational information system, a computer-based information system, or information system. MIS researchers have focused not only on management information systems but also on transaction processing systems in organizations.

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