Decision Support Systems
Oracle Tips by Burleson Consulting
High Performance Data Warehousing
Decision Support Systems And Expert Systems
Decision Support Systems And Data
Decision support systems (DSS) are generally defined as the class of
warehouse system that deals with solving a semi-structured problem.
In other words, the task has a structured component as well as an
unstructured component. In short, the unstructured component
involves human intuition and requires human interaction with the DSS.
The well-structured components of a DSS are the decision rules
stored as the problem-processing system. The intuitive, or creative,
component is left to the user.
The following represent some examples of semi-structured problems:
* Choosing a spouse. While there are many structured rules (I want
someone of my religion, who is shorter than me), there is still the
unstructured, unquantifiable component to the process of choosing a
* Choosing a site for a factory. This is a nonrecurring problem that
has some structured components (cost of land, availability of
workers, and so on), but there are many other unstructured
components in this decision (i.e., quality of life).
* Choosing a stock portfolio. Here the structured rules are the
amount of risk and the performance of stocks, but the choice of
stocks for a portfolio requires human intuition.
Decision support technology recognizes that many tasks require human
intuition. For example, the process of choosing a stock portfolio is
a task which has both structured and intuitive components.
Certainly, rules are associated with choosing a stock portfolio,
such as diversification of the stocks and choosing an acceptable
level of risk. These factors can be easily quantified and stored in
a database system, allowing the user of the system to create what-if
scenarios. However, just because a system has well-structured
components does not guarantee that the entire decision process is
One of the best ways to tell if a decision process
is semi-structured is to ask the question, Do people with the same
level of knowledge demonstrate different levels of skill? For
example, itís possible for many stock brokers to have the same level
of knowledge about the stock market. However, these brokers will
clearly demonstrate different levels of skill when assembling stock
Computer simulation is one area used heavily within the modeling
components of decision support systems. In fact, one of the first
object-oriented languages was SIMULA. SIMULA was used as a driver
for these what-if scenarios and was incorporated into decision
support systems so that users could model a particular situation.
The user would create a scenario with objects subjected to a set of
This is an excerpt from "High Performance
Data Warehousing", copyright 1997.
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