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Beyond spreadsheets: tools for building decision support systems

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3 Author(s)
Bhargava, H.K. ; Carnegie Mellon Univ., Pittsburgh, PA, USA ; Sridhar, S. ; Herrick, C.

The complexity and long development time inherent in building decision support systems has thus far prevented their wide use. A new class of tools, DSS generators, seeks to cut the lead time between development and deployment. DSS generators provide tools that make it easier and faster to develop models, data, and user interfaces that are customized to the application's requirements. Using a DSS generator reduces DSS development to a decision analysis task-which requires expertise in decision analysis and mathematical modeling-rather than a programming task. DSS generators are crucial to the success of DSSs in practice. We describe the state of the art in DSS generator software, specifically in the realm of decision analysis methods. Decision analysis techniques account for the uncertain, dynamic, and multicriteria aspects of decisions. Essentially, they aid the evaluation of alternatives in the face of trade-offs. Well known decision analysis methods include decision trees and influence diagrams. We briefly describe the features of 11 commercially available DSS generators that specialize in decision analysis. Although not a comprehensive, complete analysis of these tools, the article clarifies the idea of DSS generators as DSS development environments and presents an overview of the progress in this area

Published in:

Computer  (Volume:32 ,  Issue: 3 )