Book Contents

Ch. 1
Supporting Business Decision-Making

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Decision Support versus Transaction Processing Systems

Development of Decision Support Systems is one of the rapidly changing frontiers in the application of computers in organizations. One reason we study DSS is to understand how they differ from other systems. We have successfully implemented computer-based Transaction Processing Systems (TPS), but knowledge of building these operational systems is not adequate to create effective Decision Support Systems. So if DSS are to be successfully designed, developed and implemented, then both managers and many MIS professionals need a more sophisticated technical and philosophical understanding of Decision Support Systems.

Technology is creating new decision support capabilities, but much learning and discussion needs to occur to successfully exploit the technological possibilities. Decision Support Systems differ in many ways from operational Transaction Processing or Online Transaction Processing Systems. For example, a popular system that has been widely implemented is called Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP). ERP is NOT a Decision Support System even though the term suggests that decision-making and planning will be improved. In general, Enterprise Resource Planning is an integrated Transaction Processing System that facilitates the flow of information between all of the functional areas of a business. Recently, DSS have been built to help managers analyze the data from ERP systems.

This section discusses how Decision Support and Transaction Processing Systems differ. Letís begin by briefly reviewing the concept of a system.


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