Information Processes and Technology

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Examples of decision support systems

Outcomes

This material addresses aspects of the following syllabus outcomes:

A student:

H1.1 applies and explains an understanding of the nature and function of information technologies to a specific practical situation
H1.2 explains and justifies the way in which information systems relate to information processes in a specific context
H2.1 analyses and describes a system in terms of the information processes involved
H4.1 proposes and jsutifies ways in which information systems will meet emerging needs
H7.1 implements and explains effective management techniques.
Source: Board of studies NSW, Stage 6 Information Processes and Technology, Preliminary and HSC Courses 2007.

Data warehouses
Group decision support systems (GDSS)
Geographic information systems (GIS)
Management information systems (MIS)

Data warehouses

A data warehouse is a database that collects data from different data sources. Data is gathered from sources such as transaction data from a series of retail outlets. This data can then be used for analysis. The data in a data warehouse is historical and read only. It provides a ‘snap shot’ of business operations at a given point in time. The data is subject oriented and organises only key business information. Data warehouses facilitate decision support system applications such as trend reports (e.g., the items with the most sales in a particular area within the last two years), exception reports, and reports that show actual performance versus goals.

Further information:
Warehousing Data: The Data Warehouse, Data Mining, and OLAP (external website)
Data Warehousing Concepts (external website)

Group decision support systems (GDSS)

A group decision support system is an information system that assists users in making decisions by facilitating group collaboration. Participants use a common computer or network to enable collaboration supporting integrated systems thinking for complex decision making. A GDSS includes features such as presentation material, commenting and brainstorming, voting and evaluation of decisions. A GDSS helps to improve the efficiency and effectiveness in the decision making process. The use of a GDSS is an emerging trend rather than a common practice in business.

Geographic information systems (GIS)

A geographic information system is an information system that analyses, manages, manipulates, stores and presents geographically referenced information. A GIS allows a user to query or analyse a relational database and display results as a map. A GIS can be used for scientific investigations, resource management, asset management, environmental impact assessment, urban planning, cartography, criminology, history, sales, marketing, and logistics. For example, GIS might allow emergency planners to easily calculate emergency response times in the event of a natural disaster.

For example, the A.T. Decision Support System (DSS) (external website) is an Internet-based toolset to access remote sensing and geospatial data for decision support. This is an example of a DSS used for monitoring, reporting and forecasting the ecological conditions of a scenic trail.

Management information systems (MIS)

Management Information Systems are distinct from regular information systems in that they are used to analyze other information systems applied in operational activities in the organization. An MIS includes a group of information management methods related to the automation or support of decision making. Some common examples of MIS output are reports on sales, stock inventory, payroll, orders and budgets. A range of different types of reports are generated by an MIS including scheduled reports, forecasting reports, on-demand reports and exception reports.

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