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Decision Support Systems (DSS). Dr. Merle P. Martin MIS Department CSU Sacramento. Agenda. Ski Resort Planning What is a DSS? Unstructured Problems DSS Components DSS Examples Group DSS. Ski Area Planning. Ski area designs require same input same decision model

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decision support systems dss
Decision Support Systems (DSS)

Dr. Merle P. Martin

MIS Department

CSU Sacramento

  • Ski Resort Planning
  • What is a DSS?
  • Unstructured Problems
  • DSS Components
  • DSS Examples
  • Group DSS
ski area planning
Ski Area Planning
  • Ski area designs require
    • same input
    • same decision model
  • Each resort offers :
    • different types of trails
    • to different skill levels
  • Long-range objective: maximize profits for given terrain & market mix

Ski Area Planning

  • Optimum design concentrates on balancing downhill / uphill capacities
  • System of trails cannot easily be changed once carved
  • Summer activities complicate design
  • Industry is capital intensive
ski resort planning primary objective
Ski Resort PlanningPrimary Objective

Downhill Capacity


Uphill Capacity



Production Capacity

Market Demand


Ski Area Planning

Terrain Capacity Analysis:

  • Examine physical attributes of mountain
  • Create initial set of trails
  • Determine mountain's downhill capacity (i.e., trail system)

Ski Area Planning

Terrain Capacity Analysis:

  • Examine physical attributes of the mountain
  • Create initial set of trails
  • Determine mountain's downhill capacity (i.e., trail system)

Market Analysis:

  • Match trail system to market mix
topography map terrain
Topography Map (Terrain)

Expert and advanced trails

Steep slope

Gentle slope

Novice & beginner trail


physical design
Physical Design
  • Physical terrain and constraints
    • Slope of mountain sides
    • Physical obstacles (e.g., cliffs, boulders, creeks, etc.)
    • Aesthetics (i.e., forest scenery)
  • Designer selects initial layout
    • Initial set of trails
physical design10
Physical Design
  • Downhill capacity of skiers calculated
    • Number of skiers per acre (judgmental)
    • Type of skier (i.e., skill level)
    • Regional density
market analysis
Market Analysis
  • Objective: match trail system to market demands
  • Seven skier skill levels:
    • Beginner
    • Novice
    • Low intermediate
    • Intermediate
    • High intermediate
    • Advance
    • Expert

Market Mix: Percentage from each category

decision support system
Decision Support System
  • Calculates trail capacity
    • Matches skill levels to trail via slope grades
    • Takes into account skier density per acre by skill level
  • Calculates market mix of skier skill levels
    • Provides expected numbers from a given market mix distribution
decision support system13
Decision Support System
  • Balances trail system to market mix
    • Changes input parameters:
      • Trail attributes
      • Density levels
      • Market mix distribution
  • Examines uphill capacity
market display design for 3837 skiers
Market Display:Design for 3837 Skiers

Market percent estimated by the planner

Computed by the DSS

what is a dss
What is a DSS?

Sprague / Carlson:

“Computer-based system that

helps the decision maker

confront ill-structured problems

through direct interaction with

data and analysis models.”

dss philosophy
DSS Philosophy
  • Aid decision maker
    • not replace (ES)
  • Decision maker remains in control
  • Not always best decision
  • Change / flexibility
  • Quick response
dss characteristics
DSS Characteristics
  • Large amounts of data
  • Different data sources
  • Tailored to decision maker:
    • judgment
    • knowledge
    • intuition
    • style
    • personal traits
dss characteristics20
DSS Characteristics
  • Graphically oriented
  • Optimize / heuristics
  • “What if”(sensitivity) analysis
  • Goal-seeking analysis
  • Unstructured problems
major components of a dss
Major Components of a DSS

Model Base



  • Models
  • Financial
  • Statistical analysis
  • Graphical
  • Project mgmt

Data Base


Decision Maker

model base
Model Base
  • Financial
  • Statistical Analysis
  • Graphical
  • Project Management
  • Management Science
    • Operations research
financial models
Financial Models
  • Cash Flow
    • e.g., discounted payback
  • Internal ROI
  • Portfolio Analysis
    • stock market
    • advertising
  • Spreadsheets
statistical analysis
Statistical Analysis
  • Descriptive (summary)
  • Trend projection
  • Hypothesis testing
  • Regression analysis
management science
Management Science
  • Inventory
  • Queuing (Line)
  • Network
  • Search
dss examples
DSS Examples
  • American Airlines
    • Price / rate selection
  • Frito-Lay
    • Advertising / promotion selection
  • Juniper Lumber
    • Production scheduling
dss examples27
DSS Examples
  • Kmart
    • Price evaluation
  • Southern Railway
    • Train dispatching and forecasting
  • Texas Oil & Gas
    • Potential drilling sites

Does your firm use DSS?

  • How?
  • How could your firm use a DSS?
  • What problems do you see with DSS?
group decision support system gdss
Group Decision Support System (GDSS)

interactive computer-based system facilitating solution of unstructured problems by a set of decision makers working together as a group.

gdss components
GDSS Components





Model Base




  • Brainstorming tools
  • Idea organization
  • Prioritization / voting
  • Electronic questionnaires
    • pre-meeting
  • Group Dictionary
  • Stakeholder identification
gdss layout
GDSS Layout

Projection Screen

Facilitator Console & Network Server



gdss benefits
GDSS Benefits
  • Efficiency of group meetings
  • Quality of decisions reached
    • alternatives examined
    • participation / contribution
      • those who would otherwise be silent
    • decision outcomes
  • Leverage (way meetings run)
    • e.g., human parallel processing
factors affecting gdss outcomes
Factors Affecting GDSS Outcomes
  • Anonymity
    • provides sense of equality
    • encourages participation by all
    • reduces:
      • problems with “group think”
      • dominance by strong personalities
    • heightens conflict / impoliteness
gdss factors
GDSS Factors
  • Facility Design
    • lighting and layout
  • Multiple public screens
  • Knowledge bases / databases
  • Network speed
gdss factors36
GDSS Factors
  • Fixed versus customized tools
  • Software design
    • ease of use
  • Group size / composition
    • individual satisfaction increases with group size
  • Satisfaction
    • participants not blocked out of group
groupware matrix
Groupware Matrix

same time

Face-to-Face Meetings

(electronic copyboards)

Teams in Place

(team room tools)

same place

Cross-Distance Meetings

(audio/video conferencing)



(voice mail, e-mail)

different places

different times


GDSS is based on the assumption that anonymity is desired. How important is anonymity in groups?

  • at work?
  • in class?
  • in distance-learning?


points to remember
Points to Remember
  • What is a DSS?
  • DSS Components
  • DSS Examples
  • Group DSS