A decision support system (DSS) is a computer-based application that collects, organizes and analyzes business data to facilitate quality business decision-making for management, operations and planning. A well-designed DSS aids decision makers in compiling a variety of data from many sources: raw data, documents, personal knowledge from employees, management, executives and business models. DSS analysis helps companies to identify and solve problems, and make decisions.
Decision-making analysis was conducted by the Carnegie Institute of Technology in the late 1950s and early 1960s. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) applied computer technology to decision-making theory in the 1960s. By the 1980s, intensive research on DSS was underway, and new theories and concepts emerged from single-user models of DSS, including organizational decision support systems (ODSSs), group decision support systems (GDSSs) and executive information systems (EISs). By 1990 DSS was broadened to include data warehousing and online analytical processing.
Typical information gathered by a DSS may include:
In some DSS applications, timely analysis includes the consequences of different decision alternatives.
DSS applications are used in many diverse fields, including medical diagnosis, credit loan verification, evaluating bids on engineering projects, business and business management, agricultural production at the farm and policy levels, forest management and railroad (for evaluation of defective rails).