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Web-based DSSs have reduced technological barriers and make it easier and less costly to make decision-relevant information available to managers and staff users in geographically distributed locations. Because of the World Wide Web infrastructure, enterprise-wide DSSs can now be implemented at a relatively low cost in geographically dispersed companies to dispersed stakeholders including suppliers and customers. Using Web-based DSSs, organizations can provide DSS capability to managers over an intranet, to customers and suppliers over an extranet, or to any stakeholder over the global Internet.
The Web has increased access to DSSs, and it should increase the use of a well- designed DSS in a company. Using a Web infrastructure for building DSSs improves the rapid dissemination of “best practices” analysis and decisionmaking frameworks, and it should promote more consistent decision making on repetitive decision tasks across a geographically distributed organization. The Web also provides a way to manage a company’s knowledge repository and to bring knowledge resources into the decision-making process. One can hope that Web-based delivery of DSS capabilities will promote and encourage ongoing improvements in decision-making processes.
Also, the Web can reduce some of the problems associated with the competing “thick client” enterprise-wide DSS design, where special software needs to be installed on a manager’s computer. Web-based DSSs should reduce IT management and support costs as well as end user training costs.
With IODSSs, managers in stakeholder organizations with a browser can have access to the same Web-based DSSs used by managers in the primary organization. Web technology is and will continue to change the way organizations deliver all types of documents and data.
What are the potential problems with IODSSs? First, stakeholder user expectations may be unrealistic, especially in terms of how much information the user wants to be able to access from the Web. Second, there may be technical implementation problems, especially in terms of peak demand and load problems. Third, it is costly to train decision support content providers and to provide them with the necessary tools and technical assistance. Fourth, Web-based IODSSs create additional security concerns. Finally, using the Web for decision support may result in the accumulation of obsolete materials, especially management reports and documents, or alternatively, require hiring someone to monitor the currency of decision information.
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