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This type of IODSS includes communication, collaboration, and decision support technologies that span two or more organizations. It is an interactive computerbased system intended to facilitate the solution of problems by decision makers working together as a group. Such systems support electronic communication, scheduling, document sharing, and other group productivity and decision support enhancing activities. For example NEC Leasing Services (03/22/01) provides credit decisioning and workflow management tools to NEC and its dealers for streamlining the financing workflow process. Deltek Systems (02/27/01) provides Web-based interactive client support for diagnosis and problem solving. Deltek uses its system to conduct interactive client support. Deltek support staff can view, troubleshoot, diagnose, and fix client problems over the Web in real- time. The Web-based meeting services enhance communications in areas such as sales, design, marketing, training, support, and partner management.
These systems include management reporting systems, data warehousing and analysis systems, executive information systems (EISs) and spatial DSS shared by two or more organizations. Data-driven IODSSs emphasize access to and manipulation of large databases of structured data. Simple file systems accessed by query and retrieval tools provide the most elementary level of functionality. Data warehouse systems that allow the manipulation of data by computerized tools tailored to a specific task and setting or by more general tools and operators provide additional functionality. Data-driven IODSSs with online analytical processing (OLAP) provide the highest level of functionality and decision support that is linked to analysis of large collections of historical data. For example, Anderson Clayton Corp. (ACC) (Vollmer, 2002) provides real-time access to all relevant data and reports to support decision making. ACC is using arcplan’s dynaSight as a reporting interface to company and industry data stored in several Microsoft SQL servers and data warehouses. ACC can now track bales from ginning to warehousing and marketing with one reporting system. ACC’s customers (growers) can access predefined reports on ACC’s Web site. H-E-B Grocery Company (11/11/2002) uses collaborative planning, forecasting, and replenishment (CPFR). The company plans to use the Manugistics’ CPFR Solution, in multiple supply chain deployments, to better manage the 50,000 to 60,000 products available at more than 280 H-E-B Stores. With this system, HE-B and its suppliers can more effectively anticipate demand, update inventory, identify market changes, and respond accordingly.
Document-driven IODSSs are evolving to help users from multiple organizations retrieve and manage unstructured documents and Web pages. A document- driven IODSS integrates a variety of storage and processing technologies to provide complete document retrieval and analysis. The Web provides access to large document databases, including databases of hypertext documents, images, sounds, and video. A search engine is a powerful decision-aiding tool associated with a document-driven IODSS. For example, Florida Hospital (02/11/03) provides documents and images for medical decision making to over 2000 physicians. The system allows the hospital to merge reports and capture images, such as pathology slides, and forward them to referring physicians. BF Goodrich (05/17/03) implemented a system (AirFLOW) that supports nonroutine aircraft maintenance. AirFLOW supports the process that begins when mechanics submit an engineering support request (ESR) and supporting information to the engineering group, which responds with an engineering repair (ER) procedure. Before the repair can be scheduled, the customer must approve the ER. Engineering may consult with the manufacturer before issuing the ER, and, in some cases, FAA approval is required. When relying on paper and manual workflow, it could take several weeks to complete these processes.
These IODSSs contain specialized problem-solving expertise that can be shared across organizational borders. The “expertise” consists of knowledge about a particular domain, understanding of problems within that domain, and “skill” at solving some of these problems. For example, Canon U.S.A (05/20/02) deploys technical service and operating details of its electronic products in a system accessible by its licensed dealers. Canon’s customer service representatives and licensed dealers can access a knowledge base that is always up-to-date with new information for all the company’s products. Canon also uses this system to provide a “download center” where service representatives and dealers will be able to find and download software drivers for its entire line of hardware devices. DRUGFACTS.com (03/23/01) has a system that assists in identification of causes of abnormal lab results by physicians, pharmacists, and nurses. The online tool identifies diseases, situations, and drugs that can increase or decrease the normal range of a tested value. Users can verify normal ranges; view key points and clinical reminders; and review diseases, conditions, situations, and drugs that can alter specific lab values.
Model-driven IODSSs include systems that use accounting and financial models, representational models, and optimization models. Model-driven IODSSs emphasize access to and manipulation of a model by users in two or more organizations. Simple analytical tools provide the most elementary level of functionality. Some systems that allow complex analysis of data may be classified as model-driven DSS systems providing modeling, data retrieval, and data summarization functionality. Model-driven IODSSs use data and parameters provided by decision makers to aid them in analyzing a situation, but they are not usually data intensive. For example, Artesyn Technologies (Power, 2000) provides virtual design tools that are used by customers of its power supply products with technical decision support. Ironmax, Inc. (03/01/01) sells subscriptions to its Custom Cost Evaluator (CCE) tool to the construction equipment industry.
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