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Ch. 1
Supporting Business Decision-Making

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An Expanded DSS Framework

The terms frameworks, taxonomies, conceptual models and typologies are often used interchangeably. Taxonomies classify objects and typologies show how mutually exclusive types of things are related. The general desire is to create a set of labels that help people organize and categorize information. In this section we want to categorize the large number of computerized systems that support decision-making. Sprague and Watson (1996) argue typologies, frameworks or conceptual models are "often crucial to the understanding of a new or complex subject." A good framework shows the parts of a topic and how the parts interrelate.

A new, broader typology or framework than Alterís is needed today because DSS are much more common and more diverse than when he conducted his research and proposed his framework. Alterís typology is still relevant for categorizing some types of DSS, but not for all DSS. To keep the number of categories in a new framework manageable, one can and should simplify Alter's typology into three types of Decision Support Systems: Data-Driven, Model-Driven and Knowledge-Driven DSS. We can also categorize DSS in terms of internal and external users, specificity or function and technology. The following expanded DSS framework is probably not comprehensive and parsimonious, but it helps categorize the most common DSS currently in use. Some DSS are hybrid systems driven by more than one major DSS component. The framework focuses on one major dimension with 5 categories and 3 secondary dimensions.


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