This is a computer-based information system that helps in supporting decision making on issues that are semi-structured and unstructured. They are specifically designed to help management make decisions in situations where there is uncertainty about the possible outcomes of those decisions. DSS comprises of tools and techniques to help gather relevant information and analyzes the options and alternatives.
These systems help decision makers to make the best decision generating statistical projections from analyzed data. Although it does not eliminate the need for the manager’s judgment, it significantly improves the quality of the decision offering forecasts that help determine the best course of action. These systems compile information from several sources for purposes of aiding in decision making.
Characteristic of DSS
i. Provides support but does not replace the manager’s judgement nor does it provide a predetermined solution;
ii. There must be an interaction between the computer system and the managers
iii. DSS is best suited for structure and semi-structured problem at the tactical and strategic level.
iv. Flexibility and user friendliness are emphasized.
v. They have large database and a database management system to support it.
vi. Must have modelling features to allow users develop decision-making models.
Examples of DSS includes: –
• Computer supported cooperative work
• Logistics systems
• Financial planning systems
General Components of DSS
i. The decision maker – Should be trained and experienced
ii. Decision Models – These improve the quality of decision making and provides more insights to the problem
iii. User interface- It provides a means or link between user and DSS, it allows the decision makers to use simple commands to enter requests for Analysis;
iv. Knowledge Based subsystem- This holds internal data for supporting decisions; it basically acts like the database

v. Hardware and software’s components of DSS
a. Hardware components
i. Computer terminals connected to the multiuser systems.
ii. Printers for printing hardcopy
iii. Storing devices e.g. magnetic disc
iv. Hardcopy Graphic Outputs such as graph plotters
b. Software’s Components.
i. Database Management Systems-this provides managers with the ability to collect, maintain, manipulate and retrieve huge amounts of data from a database i.e. it provides an interface between the user and database e.g. Access, and oracle
ii. Query Languages-These allow the users to ask questions or retrieve information from the database forming request in normal English Language Systems. This layer of DSS software allows the managers to use the database easily and perform a variety of activities such as mathematical operation.
iii. Specialized software’s – These are used to dub decision making models which improve the quality of decision Making. They are also known as modelling software: e.g. Excel

Types of DSS
1. Accounting Models – These are used to estimate feature results using accounting roles e.g. Cash Budget
2. Data analysis model- These are used for ad hoc analysis of current or historical data e.g. in bad debts analysis.
3. Optimization Model- These are used to calculate optimal results where the objective function is to maximized profits or minimize costs subject to certain constraints
4. Representation Model – These are used in estimating, results where probabilies are presents.

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