Book Title
Business Driven Information Systems 5th Edition

978-0073402987 Chapter 2 Section 2.1 Decision Support Systems

April 4, 2019
This guide provides a number of classroom activities, videos, and debates to
accompany Business Driven Information Systems Fourth Edition. A few
course suggestions:
Create one or two test questions based on the classroom activity to help
reward students who attend lectures.
Many professors have found that assigning an activity and then lecturing
on the material helps students gain a deeper understanding of the core
MIS concepts as they have already struggled with applying the material to
a real-world situation.
Asking a small group of students to explain their answer to the activity to
the entire class after completion ensures students come to class
prepared. I select a different group each activity to explain their answer
and they do not want to look unprepared in front of their fellow
classmates. It is a powerful motivator to get my students reading prior to
class. After the activity and student’s presentations then I lecture – keeps
my students engaged and helps to achieve a higher level of learning
outcomes as they are constantly tasked with applying the concepts during
Create an Ask the Professor Discussion board that runs the entire course
where students can ask course and content related questions. I typically
promise to respond within 24 hours and I always encourage my students
to check the discussion board before sending an email. Many times if one
student a questions so do other students.
**Three Before Me Rule! This is something I have found that saves a
great deal of time answering email. I state the Three Before Me rule in
my syllabus. Before a student comes to me with a question they must
provide three sources they used to answer the question themselves. This
signiticantly cuts down on emails as many times students can 1nd the
answer to their questions but it seems easier just to email the professor.
Sources can include the syllabus, the Ask The Professor Q&A Discussion
Board, classmates, the textbook, etc. If I ask the student for the three
sources and they do not have them I dock participation points. Works
great on signiticantly cutting down my emails and helps to prepare my
students for the real world!
The core chapter material is covered in detail in the PowerPoint slides.
Each slide contains detailed teaching notes including exercises, class
activities, questions, and examples. Please review the PowerPoint slides
for detailed notes on how to teach and enhance the core chapter material.
Enjoy your course and best of luck!
Paige Baltzan
Decision making and problem solving encompass large-scale,
opportunity-oriented, strategically focused solutions. Students today must
posse’s decision-making and problem-solving abilities to compete in the
ebusiness world. Organizations today can no longer use a “cook book”
approach to decision making. This chapter focuses on technology to help
make decisions, solve problems, and 1nd new innovative opportunities
Transaction processing system
Decision support systems
Executive information systems
Arti1cial intelligence (AI)
Business process modeling
Business process management
Business process improvement
Business process reengineering
Making Organizational Business Decisions
Measuring Organization Business Decisions
Using MIS to Make Business Decisions
Using AI to Make Business Decisions
Managing Business Processes
Using MIS to Improve Business Processes
What is the value of information? The answer to this important question
varies depending on how the information is used. Two people looking at the
exact same pieces of information could extract completely di(erent value
from the information depending on the tools they are using to look at the
information. This chapter discusses technologies that people can use to help
make decisions and solve problems.
Learning Outcome 2.1: Explain the importance of decision making
for managers at each of the three primary organization levels along
with the associated decision characteristics.
Decision-making skills are essential for all business professionals, at every
company level, who make decisions that run the business. At the operational
level, employees develop, control, and maintain core business activities
required to run the day-to-day operations. Operational decisions are
considered structured decisions, which arise in situations where established
processes offer potential solutions. Structured decisions are made frequently
and are almost repetitive in nature; they affect short-term business
At the managerial level, employees are continuously evaluating company
operations to hone the firm’s abilities to identify, adapt to, and leverage
change. Managerial decisions cover short- and medium-range plans,
schedules, and budgets along with policies, procedures, and business
objectives for the firm. These types of decisions are considered
semistructured decisions; they occur in situations in which a few established
processes help to evaluate potential solutions, but not enough to lead to a
de1nite recommended decision.
At the strategic level, managers develop overall business strategies, goals,
and objectives as part of the company’s strategic plan. They also monitor the
strategic performance of the organization and its overall direction in the
political, economic, and competitive business environment. Strategic
decisions are highly unstructured decisions, occurring in situations in which
no procedures or rules exist to guide decision makers toward the correct
choice. They are infrequent, extremely important, and typically related to
long-term business strategy.
Learning Outcome 2.2: De0ne critical success factors (CSFs) and key
performance indicators (KPIs), and explain how managers use them
to measure the success of MIS projects.
Metrics are measurements that evaluate results to determine whether a
project is meeting its goals. Two core metrics are critical success factors and
key performance indicators. CSFs are the crucial steps companies perform to
achieve their goals and objectives and implement their strategies and
include creating high-quality products, retaining competitive advantages,
and reducing product costs. KPIs are the quanti1able metrics a company
uses to evaluate progress toward critical success factors. KPIs are far more
specific than CSFs; examples include turnover rates of employees,
percentage of help-desk calls answered in the first minute, and number of
products returned.
It is important to understand the relationship between critical success factors
and key performance indicators. CSFs are elements crucial for a business
strategy’s success. KPIs measure the progress of CSFs with quanti1able
measurements, and one CSF can have several KPIs. Of course, both
categories will vary by company and industry. Imagine improved graduation
rates as a CSF for a college.
Learning Outcome 2.3: Classify the different operational support
systems, managerial support systems, and strategic support
systems, and explain how managers can use these systems to make
decisions and gain competitive advantages.
Being able to sort, calculate, analyze, and slice-and-dice information is
critical to an organization’s success. Without knowing what is occurring
throughout the organization there is no way that managers and executives
can make solid decisions to support the business. The different operational,
managerial, and strategic support systems include:
Operational: A transaction processing system (TPS) is the basic
business system that serves the operational level (analysts) in an
organization. The most common example of a TPS is an operational
accounting system such as a payroll system or an order-entry system.
Managerial: A decision support system (DSS) models information to
support managers and business professionals during the
decision-making process.
Strategic: An executive information system (EIS) is a specialized DSS
that supports senior level executives within the organization.
Learning Outcome 2.4: Describe arti0cial intelligence and identify
its 0ve main types.
Arti1cial intelligence (AI) simulates human thinking and behavior, such as the
ability to reason and learn. The 1ve most common categories of AI are:
1. Expert systems—computerized advisory programs that imitate the
reasoning processes of experts in solving diCcult problems.
2. Neural networks—attempts to emulate the way the human brain
3. Genetic algorithm—a system that mimics the evolutionary,
survival-of-the-1ttest process to generate increasingly better solutions
to a problem.
4. Intelligent agents—a special-purpose knowledge-based information
system that accomplishes specific tasks on behalf of its users.
5. Virtual reality—a computer-simulated environment that can be a
simulation of the real world or an imaginary world.
GREAT BUSINESS DECISIONS – Walt Disney Decides to Call
His Mouse Cartoon Character Mickey, not Mortimer
Sunday, November 18, 1928, is a historic moment in time since it is the day
that the premier of Steamboat Willie debuted, a cinematic epic of seven
minutes in length. This was the first cartoon that synchronized sound and
Like all great inventions, Mickey Mouse began his life in a garage. After going
bankrupt with the failure of his Laugh O Gram Company, Walt Disney decided
to rent a camera, assemble an animation stand, and set up a studio in his
uncle’s garage. At the age of 21, Walt and his older brother Roy launched the
Disney Company in 1923. The company had a rocky start. Its first 1lm, Alice,
hardly made enough money to keep the company in business. His second
1lm, Oswald the Rabbit, was released in 1927 with small fanfare. Then
Disney’s luck changed and in 1928 he released his seven minute 1lm about a
small mouse named Mickey. Disney never looked back.
The truth is Mickey Mouse began life as Mortimer Mouse. Walt Disney’s wife,
Lilly, did not like the name and suggested Mickey instead. Walt Disney has
often been heard to say, “I hope we never lose sight of one fact – that this
was all started by a mouse.”
Would Mortimer have been as successful as Mickey? Would Mortimer have
been more successful than Mickey? How could Walt Disney have used
technology to help support his all-important decision to name his primary
character? There are many new technologies helping to drive decision
support systems, however it is important to note that some decisions, such
as the name of a mouse, are made by the most complex decision support
system available - the human brain.
Building Arti0cial Intelligence
The idea of robots and arti1cial intelligence is something that has captured
people’s attention for years. From the robots in Star Wars to the surreal
computer world in the Matrix, everyone seems to be fascinated with the idea
of robots.
Break your students into groups and challenge them to build a robot. The
robot can perform any function or activity they choose. The robot must
contain a digital dashboard and enable decision support capabilities for its
owner. Have the students draw a prototype of their robot and present their
robot to the class. Have your entire class vote on which robot they would
invest in if they were a venture capital firm.
Great Example of DSS
The Analyst™ is a diagnostic tool, now accessible online, that 1lls the gap
between what you need and what busy, human doctors can offer. With less
and less time to address a patient's individual needs and yet more and more
research and other information to digest, incorrect and incomplete diagnoses
are frequently made On this site they have a great diagram that compares
The Analyst to a Doctor.
Hod Lipson Demonstrates Cool Little Robots
Hod Lipson demonstrates a few of his cool little robots, which have the ability
to learn, understand themselves and even self-replicate. At the root of this
uncanny demo is a deep inquiry into the nature of how humans and living
beings learn and evolve, and how we might harness these processes to make
things that learn and evolve.
Hod Lipson works at the intersection of engineering and biology, studying
robots and the way they "behave" and evolve. His work has exciting
implications for design and manufacturing -- and serves as a window to
understand our own behavior and evolution.
Building AI – Facebook Founders Fund AI Start-Up
The idea of robots and arti1cial intelligence is something that has captured
people’s attention for years. From the robots in Star Wars to the surreal
computer world in the Matrix, everyone seems to be fascinated with the idea
of robots.
Arti1cial intelligence research start-up Vicarious announced today that it has
received a $15 million Series A round led by Good Ventures. The funding
values the company at more than $100 million.
Break your students into groups and challenge them to build a robot to
compete for a $15 million grant from Facebook. The robot can perform any
function or activity they choose. The robot must contain a digital dashboard
and enable decision support capabilities for its owner. Have the students
draw a prototype of their robot and present their robot to the class. Have
your entire class vote on which robot they would invest in if they were a
venture capital firm.
***Best Videos for Class – show them in order to see the advances in
Nao Robot Example (3 mins)
NAO Next Generation (3 mins)
NAO Robots – All The Single Ladies Dance (Students will LOVE this!!)
Something to Get Their Attention
Sheena Lyengar did her thesis work on “how people make decisions.” Great
Ted.com to show your students.
Take a Walk or a Drive – Virtually!
This is an interesting website where you can view yourself walking or driving
down streets in different cities. I use this as a decision support tool to use to
map a tour if I was planning a trip to one of these cities. There is an
excellent video on the website that demonstrates the amazing capabilities of
How can you use Streetside to improve business decisions?
How can you use Streetside to uncover business intelligence?
How can you use Streetside to develop a new business idea?
How can you use Streetside to revamp a business process
DSS Everywhere!
Break your students into groups and ask them to compare sensitivity
analysis, what-if analysis, and goal-seeking analysis and to provide a
business example of when they would use each type?
Sensitivity analysis – studies the impact on a single change in a
current model. For example – if we continually change the amount
of inventory we carry, how low can our inventories go before issues
start occurring in other parts of the supply chain? This would
require changing the inventory level and watching the model to see
“how sensitive” it is to inventory levels.
What-if analysis – determines the impact of change on an
assumption or an input. For example – if the economic condition
improves, how will it affect our sales?
Goal-seeking analysis – solves for a desired goal. For example – we
want to improve revenues by 30 percent, how much does sales
have to increase and costs have to decrease to meet this goal?
Can you name a few different situations when you would use
consolidation, drill-down, and slice-and-dice?
Consolidation would occur when grouping multiple store sales
together to get a total for the company
Drill-down would occur when digging into the numbers on the
balance sheet or income statement, such as revenues broken down
into individual product revenues for each store during different
dates and times
Slice-and-dice would occur when users begin looking at information
with different dimensions, similar to the cubes of information
Measuring efficiency and effectiveness
Break your students into groups and ask them to create a plan to measure
the eCciency and effectiveness of this course and recommendations on how
they would improve the course to make it more eCcient and more effective.
Student answers to this exercise will vary. They will need to determine ways
to benchmark current eCciency and effectiveness and ways to continuously
monitor and measure against the benchmarks to determine if the course is
becoming more or less eCcient and effective (class quizzes and exams are
the most obvious benchmarks). Ask your students to present their plan and
recommendations to the entire class. Be sure students’ plans and
recommendations address the following:
Design of the classroom
Room temperature
Lighting and electronic capabilities of the classroom
Technology available in the classroom
Length of class
Email and instant messaging
Students’ attendance
Students’ preparation
Students’ arrival time
Quizzes and exams (frequency, length, grades)
Great way to kick o( a discussion on how decisions impact business. People
have accidents. That’s not what this post is about. People also do stupid,
reckless things. But we’re not focusing on that now either. This is about
people that obviously lack the requisite skills to operate a motor vehicle –
who were also unfortunate enough to have the evidence caught on 1lm.
Robot Violinist - Video
Robot Emotions
The emotional robot Science correspondent Alok Jha visits the University of
Hertfordshire to meet an android developed to show emotions
Robot Babies
The State Department readies new Internet freedom policies, the FAA may
lift the ban on cell phones during air travel, and Japanese researchers are
working on robot babies.
This is a great video to get your students thinking about how they can use Excel to
create a digital dashboard. Ask your students if they could setup a digital
dashboard for their courses what would it look like and how would it measure their
progress. How to Setup a Digital Dashboard in Microsoft Excel
Business Dashboards
The core chapter material is covered in detail in the PowerPoint slides. Each
slide contains detailed teaching notes including exercises, class activities,
questions, and examples. Please review the PowerPoint slides for detailed
notes on how to teach and enhance the core chapter material.