Decision Support System

What Does Decision Support System Mean?

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.


Techopedia Explains Decision Support System

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:

  • Projected revenue and sales figures, some based on new product sales projections
  • Comparative sales figures between selected time periods
  • Inventory data organized into relational databases for timely analysis

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).


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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.