Tribium DECISIONS Blog

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Benefits of DSS: Controlling Complexity

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Vast majority of the decisions is relatively simple. They usually concern our private sphere, relate to countless subjects of our lives,and while they exist they are almost imperceptible. We must be very careful to actually focus and be very diligent to spot moments when we make those tiny decisions. Some examples are: buying products in the grocery store, choosing an article to read from the newspaper, choosing the right turn was driving the car, making simple decisions of what and when to open our mouth to speak, etc. These decisions problems of miniature size and span, and they have usually very simple structure. They are composed of a handful of alternatives, one or two or three objectives that most, and usually not much evidential support because they are mostly based on our state of beliefs at the current moment. The risk of making the wrong decision does not bear grave consequences, the time and resources we can sacrifice to make this effort are tiny. There is no obvious need to make this problem formal – we can just rely on our intuitions and experience quite well.

However there exist much more easier to identify the areas of our experience which require much more colorful consideration and research for evidence. This is usually so because the consequences of making wrong decisions are much more grave or at least significant to our life’s goals or even survival. Examples of such decisions are: buying a house, choosing a job, choosing new place to live, investing monetary resources, etc. There clearly exist much more interest in making such decisions of good quality, to investigate the evidence more closely and completely in order to choose the best and most fruitful alternative or spend additional time to find new not obvious solutions for these decision problems.

Business is the sphere where the decisions of vital importance to the success of the Corporation and the responsibility for making them is almost always accountable. there are usually serious money at stake, multiple stakeholders engaged who provide input and should be communicated to. Our own career as decision makers or domain experts can be harmed by making demonstrably wrong choice. Therefore there is strong need to to make the decision making process more formalized, documented, discussed and very well evidentially supported. the more important outcome of the decision process the more factors or criteria need to be considered and more alternatives should be identified in order to assure that the best solution for the problem has been found and grounded in substantial evidence.

Here is the space would the decision-making systems come into play allowing guide and control the vast amounts of information easily. it has been demonstrated in various studies that single human has quite constrained capacities to make truly objective decision. Usually it means that if there is no more than 5 to 7 criteria and similar number of alternatives we are cognitively comparable to make good decisions based on available evidence. However real life examples of decisions can very easily surpass our abilities to manage the information responsive. This is the moment when usually the managers start more rely on their integration or gut feeling instead of the evidence of the table. This is all just because of the complexity of the problem they have faced to solve.

Decision support systems are however capable to support decision-makers in the task of managing very complex decisions, composed of hundreds of objectives, parameters and hundreds if not thousands of alternatives. Provided that the decision model has been properly defined – they can do all the necessary calculations quickly and effortlessly leaving to decision makers only the task of expressing their preferences and to experts – to find all the factual information about alternatives in question. They also guide the decision process and track the information which is entered to the decision model and easily find any holes in information or fields for improvement or where additional research is necessary. They can also highlight areas where there are conflicts of preferences between stakeholders which need more attention from decision makers.

Written by Stan Pak

April 10th, 2011 at 1:22 pm

Posted in Benefits,General

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