Decision Support Systems Web Tour

by D. J. Power

Editor, DSSResources.COM

Introduction

The purpose of this tour is to introduce DSSResources.COM and its premium content to new visitors and highlight Decision Support Systems (DSS) related content on the World-Wide Web. The Web pages linked to in this tour are also organized as part of Decision Support Systems Resources at URL http://DSSResources.COM (in a new window). In summer of 1995, this site was first created and called DSS Research Resources. In January 1999, the scope of the site was expanded and the name changed to Decision Support Systems Resources. On September 28, 1999, we launched the DSSResources.COM Web site.

DSSResources.COM (Decision Support Systems Resources) is a web-based knowledge repository about computerized systems that support decision making. The mission of the site is to help people who are interested in learning more about how to use information technologies and software to improve decision making. You can read our About Us page to find out about awards we have won, the history of the site, and other questions we have been asked over the years.

This tour web page contains hyperlinks to many DSS-related web pages. The hyperlinks are underlined and displayed in color by most Web browsers. When you click on the link and access a web page, the page will often appear in the main window of the tour. You can use the left frame menu or the back button to return to the main tour. The link you followed in the tour will change color. The Decision Support Systems (DSS) tour has seven major stops: What is a DSS?; Web sites of DSS Companies; University and Research Web sites related to DSS; DSS case studies available on the Web; Decision support systems accessible on the Web; DSS related articles on the web; and Other Web sites related to DSS. When you complete the tour check DSSResources.COM.

DSSResources.COM started as a bookmark list, a simple way of organizing the web sites and pages on DSS found during Webcrawler and Alta Vista searches for DSS-related web sites. Gradually, DSS Resources became an organized collection of papers, case studies, a glossary, web site links and an original hyperbook about computerized systems that support decision making. Since October 2, 1995, three DSS Resources Websites have transmitted files to visitors in more than 80 countries. The DSS Resources home page has been transmitted to more than three hundred thousand visitors. Each week more than 3000 unique visitors stop by to use the resources. Approximately, 10% of the visitors have been from internet nodes located at U.S. Universities and more than 20% of the visitors have been from nodes of U.S. and multinational companies. Subscribers are from more than 20 countries, including Australia, Brazil, South Africa, United Kingdom, Spain, Indonesia, and Ireland and from more than 45 states in the United States.

What is a DSS?

Decision Support Systems (DSS) are a specific class of computerized information system that support decision-making activities. DSS are interactive computer-based systems and subsystems intended to help decision makers use data, documents, knowledge and/or models to identify and solve problems and make decisions. DSSResources.COM uses an organizing framework with five major DSS types or categories: Communications-Driven DSS, Data-Driven DSS, Document-Driven DSS, Knowledge-Driven DSS and Model-Driven DSS (see the DSS Framework links page). A major focus at DSSResources.COM is resources on how to implement these types of DSS as Web-Based DSS. For more details on this framework check the on-line papers by Dan Power -- "Supporting Decision-Makers: An Expanded Framework" and "What is a DSS?". You can also check on terms like OLAP, Data Warehouse and business intelligence in the Free DSS Glossary.

Decision Support technologies are changing rapidly and a great deal of innovation is occuring related to these types of systems. The Decision Support Systems Hyperbook and other resources in the Subscriber Zone at DSSResources.COM provide the most up-to-date text and reference materials on DSS. You can find out more about the Subscriber Zone at the Subscriber Zone Information page. Also check the Table of Contents of the DSS Hyperbook.

Web sites of DSS Companies

There is considerable variation among online DSS company web sites with respect to content and design. Broadly speaking one can distinguish between comprehensive DSS company informational sites and DSS company promotional or advertising sites. Comprehensive sites have a broader mission and the information at the site has been assembled within a specific context. Outstanding DSS company web sites have a clear notion of the audience to whom the site is targeted. Promotional or advertising sites are characterized by a very narrow or a vague mission. Web DSS sites also vary with respect to the presence or absence of demonstration software, case studies, company information, and pricing and product information.

Go to DSSResources.COM and check the Vendor Directory. I especially recommend Teradata.com and Microstrategy.com.

University and Research Web sites related to DSS

There are many DSS researchers, but DSS research-oriented Web sites are still quite limited in number. Most such sites provide basic information about a research group and provide few on-line articles, working papers, or Web-based DSS tools. We are always trying to identify additional sites and links in this content area so contact us about sites that should be added to our lists. At DSSResources.COM, check the For Researchers resource channel and then follow links like the DSS Research Centers page, the DSS Researchers Web Page Directory, and the DSS Design and Development Questionnaire.

DSS case studies on the Web

DSSResources.COM has many DSS case studies in its on-line Library. Also, the Data Warehousing Institute (URL http://www.dw-institute.com) has case studies prepared by "users" of a specific DSS. Additionally, many DSS software vendors provide case studies (customer success stories) of successful decision support implementations at their web sites. Some of the case study material on the web is very detailed, including quotations from managers in companies that installed a specific DSS, while other case examples are very brief.

Check the DSSResources.COM Library for DSS Case Studies.

Decision Support Systems accessible on the Web

An area of rapid growth and enormous development potential is Web-based on-line DSS. The following is a brief list of sites that show the breadth of possibilities for DSS projects on the web.

Stop first at the Decision Aids at DSS Resources. These decision aids are Javascript programs. You can try a Cost-Benefit tool and 7 more are available in the Subscriber Zone.

At the Cognos site you can take the Cognos Series 7 Self-Guided Tour.

Check the Analytica 2.0 online demo at www.lumina.com. Analytica is used for developing some types of Model-Driven DSS and it is an alternative to spreadsheets for some purposes.

A number of vendors have demonstration versions of software and/or graphics of screens from their DSS software.

DSS related articles on the Web

Articles and papers are becoming more common on the web. DSSResources.com has more than 40 articles written by subject area experts. Check the DSS Articles On-Line page.

The following are good overview articles:

Other Web sites related to DSS

I've grouped sites into 8 major categories: (1) Artificial Intelligence; (2) Business Process Reengineering; (3) Database and Data Warehousing; (4) Geographic Information Systems; (5) Human-Computer Interaction; (6) Management Science; (7) Multicriteria and Baysian Decision tools; and (8) Software Engineering.

DSSResources.COM's General DSS Related WWW Links page has additional information.

Conclusions: Web Support for Research on DSS

What can one conclude from taking the DSS Web tour? First, there is currently extensive support for Decision Support Systems Research on the World-wide Web. The number of pages that can be visited that are relevant to DSS number in the thousands (1000s) and new pages are added almost daily. Second, the Web is where the DSS action is today. Most major DSS vendors have made a major commitment to the Web for providing product information and for creating new DSS products. Third, visiting DSS Web sites is a great learning experience for students, teachers and practioners. Reading Web pages provides invaluable information. Keeping track of what you learn on the Web is however somewhat difficult. I still find advantages to printing out copies of web pages for reference and for more careful review. Finally, the evolving DSS Web needs more academic content, including more working papers, more prototype DSS, more on-line surveys, more ...... If you have questions, Ask Dan!

Other DSSResources.com pages

The following hyperlinks take you to other DSSResources.COM pages.

  • Brief History of Decision Support Systems by D. J. Power

  • Brief History of Spreadsheets by D. J. Power

  • DSS Books (maintained by D. Power and P. Gray)

  • HTML and Programming links

  • Top 5! DSS web sites

  • What's new! at DSSResources.COM

    Check the index at DSSResources.COM for more pages.

    List of some DSS Vendor URLs

    The following hyperlinks take you to the company Web site. Check the Vendor Directory at DSSResources.COM for more URLs.

    SAP/Business Objects http://www.businessobjects.com

    Expert Choice, Inc. http://expertchoice.com

    MicroStrategy http://microstrategy.com

    SAS Institute http://www.sas.com/

    Author Notes

    Daniel J. Power, Daniel.Power@uni.edu, is Professor of Information Systems at the University of Northern Iowa, and editor of DSSResources.COM, URL http://dssresources.com. Version 1.0 of this paper was prepared for presentation at the International Federation for Information Processing (IFIP WG 8.3) conference, "Implementing Systems for Supporting Management Decisions: Concepts, Methods, and Experiences", London, UK, July 21-24, 1996.

    This is version 6. It was last updated January 2, 2014. Version 1.0 was published on the Web July 3, 1996.

    Copyright (c) 1996-2014 Daniel J. Power


    How to cite the DSS Web Tour

    This Web page should be cited as:

    Power, D.J. Decision Support Systems Web Tour. World Wide Web, http://dssresources.com, version 6, January 2014


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