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Decision support tools. Lecture 1: Management Decision-Making. DST module introduction. Module lecturer: Jane Nash. Why are you here?. Business managers often have to make complex decisions

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decision support tools

Decision support tools

Lecture 1: Management Decision-Making

dst module introduction
DST module introduction

Module lecturer: Jane Nash

why are you here
Why are you here?
  • Business managers often have to make complex decisions
  • This module will develop your understanding of how technology can help managers to make better decisions:
    • What does decision-making involve?
    • What tools are most appropriate when?
  • You’ll also learn how to manipulate data in Excel to support decision-making
what will be covered in this module
What will be covered in this module?
  • Management Decision-Making
  • OLAP & Data Mining
  • Group Support Systems
  • Executive Support Systems
  • Model-based Decision Support Systems
  • Intelligent Systems
  • Expert Systems
  • Managing Decision Support Tools
objectives theory
Objectives: Theory
  • Describe the management decision-making process and how it can be supported by technology
    • Model-based Decision Support Systems
    • Other applications that support human decision-making
  • Understand how artificial intelligence is used in organisations
    • Expert Systems
    • Other intelligent technologies
  • Apply your knowledge in a business context
objectives practical
Objectives: Practical
  • Use a spreadsheet to analyse and understand historic (primarily transactional) data
    • Aggregate functions
    • Data selection and manipulation
    • Presentation of results
  • Use a spreadsheet to estimate the potential impact of future changes under different scenarios
    • Data modelling
    • What-if analysis
  • Explain how decision support software can be used to support business strategy
module structure
Module Structure
  • 15 Lectures (17 March –14 April)
    • Mix of theory and practical
  • 3 Practicals (starting Monday 24 March)
    • Data analysis
    • Estimation models
    • Case study
  • Assessment
    • Class Test (evening of 2 April)
    • Theory Exam in June, which includes practical questions
resources available to you
Resources available to you
  • RUconnected – please look there first!
  • Collect a DST module handout at IS reception
  • Come to lectures and ask questions there
  • Get to know your tutor
  • Use the library
    • Last year’s textbook is on short loan:
    • “Fundamentals of Business Information Systems” by Stair, Reynolds and Chesney

Try to find the answer yourself before you ask for help!

teaching approach
Teaching approach
  • Have something to write ON and something to write WITH at every lecture
    • You may have to hand in work done in class
    • If so, that will also be used as an attendance record
  • Some lectures will be replaced with self-study days
    • Wednesday this week is a self-study day
    • N.B. Self-study days have an RUconnectedhandin
  • Thursday of this week and Friday of next week will be used to go over the following week’s prac
who makes what type of decision
Who makes what type of decision?


Strategic management

Tactical management

Operational management


some characteristics of decisions
Some characteristics of decisions
  • Time frame
  • Consequences
  • Risk
  • Complexity
  • Frequency
  • Availability of information
  • Sources of information

Strategic management

Tactical management

Operational management

previous class test question
Previous class test question

In a hotel business, at which level of management would the decision typically be made to increase occupancy by reducing room rates over the winter season:

  • Strategic
  • Functional
  • Tactical
  • Operational
  • Inter-organisational
from data to decision making
From data to decision-making


Internal databases

Management Information Systems

External databases

MIS reports

Specialised decision support applications

Our focus

typical mis reports
Typical MIS reports
  • Scheduled reports
  • Key-indicator reports
  • Demand reports
  • Exception reports
  • Drill-down reports
    • Generated automatically or initiated by user
    • Used for different purposes
    • Provide different levels of detail
how to improve decision quality
How to improve decision quality?
  • Decisions are only as good as the information they are based on
  • At management level, decision-makers need
    • Multiple sources of data
    • A range of perspectives
    • Awareness of bias
    • Careful evaluation of alternatives
    • Buy-in to the decision that is made
    • Identification of potential complications
why do managers need i t support
Why do managers need I.T. support?

A key to good decision making is to explore and compare many relevant alternatives. The more alternatives that exist, the more computer-assisted searching and comparison is needed.

Typically, decisions must be made under time pressure. Frequently it is not possible to manually process the needed information fast enough to be effective.

Decision makers can be in different locations and so is the information. Bringing them all together quickly and inexpensively may be a difficult task.

It is often necessary to conduct sophisticated mathematical analysis in order to make a good decision. Such analysis requires the use of modeling.

that s all for today
That’s all for today


Read through pages 459-461 of the module handout.