Past, present, and future of decision support technology

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Decision Support Systems 33 (2002) 111 – 126 www.elsevier.com/locate/dsw

Past, present, and future of decision support technology $
J.P. Shim a,*, Merrill Warkentin a,*, James F. Courtney b, Daniel J. Power c, Ramesh Sharda d, Christer Carlsson e
Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, MS 39762 USA University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL 32816-1400 USA c University of NorthernIowa, Cedar Falls, IA 50614 USA d Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK 74078 USA e IAMSR/Abo Akademi University, DataCity B 6734, 20520 Abo, Finland
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Abstract Since the early 1970s, decision support systems (DSS) technology and applications have evolved significantly. Many technological and organizational developments have exerted an impact on this evolution. DSS once utilized morelimited database, modeling, and user interface functionality, but technological innovations have enabled far more powerful DSS functionality. DSS once supported individual decision-makers, but later DSS technologies were applied to workgroups or teams, especially virtual teams. The advent of the Web has enabled inter-organizational decision support systems, and has given rise to numerous newapplications of existing technology as well as many new decision support technologies themselves. It seems likely that mobile tools, mobile e-services, and wireless Internet protocols will mark the next major set of developments in DSS. This paper discusses the evolution of DSS technologies and issues related to DSS definition, application, and impact. It then presents four powerful decision support tools,including data warehouses, OLAP, data mining, and Web-based DSS. Issues in the field of collaborative support systems and virtual teams are presented. This paper also describes the state of the art of optimization-based decision support and active decision support for the next millennium. Finally, some implications for the future of the field are discussed. D 2002 Published by Elsevier ScienceB.V.
Keywords: Decision support technology; DSS development; Collaborative support systems; Virtual teams; Optimization-based decision support

1. Introduction Decision support systems (DSS) are computer technology solutions that can be used to support
This paper is based on a panel discussion at the 30th Decision Sciences Institute Annual Meeting in New Orleans, LA. The authors were invitedpanelists for the Decision Support Tools session. * Corresponding authors. E-mail addresses: jshim@cobilan.msstate.edu (J.P. Shim), mwarkentin@acm.org (M. Warkentin), Jim.Courtney@bus.ucf.edu (J.F. Courtney), Daniel.Power@uni.edu (D.J. Power), sharda@okstate.edu (R. Sharda), christer.carlsson@abo.fi (C. Carlsson).
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complex decision making and problem solving. DSS have evolved from two main areasof research—the theoretical studies of organizational decision making (Simon, Cyert, March, and others) conducted at the Carnegie Institute of Technology during the late 1950s and early 1960s and the technical work (Gerrity, Ness, and others) carried out at MIT in the 1960s [32]. Classic DSS tool design is comprised of components for (i) sophisticated database management capabilities with accessto internal and external data, information, and knowledge, (ii) powerful modeling functions accessed by a model management system, and (iii) powerful, yet simple user interface designs that enable

0167-9236/02/$ - see front matter D 2002 Published by Elsevier Science B.V. PII: S 0 1 6 7 - 9 2 3 6 ( 0 1 ) 0 0 1 3 9 - 7

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J.P. Shim et al. / Decision Support Systems 33 (2002) 111–126interactive queries, reporting, and graphing functions. Much research and practical design effort has been conducted in each of these domains. DSS have evolved significantly since their early development in the 1970s. Over the past three decades, DSS have taken on both a narrower or broader definition, while other systems have emerged to assist specific types of decision-makers faced with specific...
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