Decision support systems (DSSs) are widely used in many organisations (Arslan et al., 2004; Belecheanu et al., 2003; Dey, 2001; Gopalakrishnan et al., 2004; Lau et al., 2001; Puente et al., 2002). However, there is a common tendency to apply experience and techniques gained from large organisations directly to small businesses, without recognising the different decision support needs of the small business. This article aims to address the issues related to the development and the implementation of DSSs in small business firms. Our arguments are based on evidence drawn from a large body of DSS literature and an empirical study conducted by the authors in the UK manufacturing sector.
Small business may represent a productive domain for attempts to introduce greater levels of computer-based decision support. Ray (1994) suggests that small business managers and their staff have positive attitudes towards the use of computers in business. Cragg and King (1993) report that many companies have plans to increase their use of computer applications, and found that the wish for better information was the motivating force in all case studies conducted. In the majority of the firms studied by Khan and Khan (1992), managers believed that a computerised system improved their performance in selected areas, but that there is still room for significant further development.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Management Information System (MIS): A business information system designed to provide past, present, and future information appropriate for planning, organising and controlling the operations of an organisation.
This work was previously published in Encyclopedia of Information Science and Technology: edited by M. Khosrow-Pour, pp. 754-758, copyright 2005 by Information Science Reference, formerly known as Idea Group Reference (an imprint of IGI Global)
Expert Systems: A computer-based system that performs functions similar to those normally performed by a human expert. It has a knowledge base, an inference engine and a user interface.
Group Decision Support Systems (GDSS): Information systems that support the work of groups (communication, decision making) generally working on unstructured or semi-structured problems.
Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs): The definition of SMEs varies in different countries. It is normally defined as having between 10 and 249 employees in the UK and Europe.
Executive Information System (EIS): A computer-based information delivery and communication system designed to support the needs of senior managers and executives.
Database: A collection of related information. The information held in the database is stored in an organised way so that specific items can be selected and retrieved quickly.
Decision Support System (DSS): An interactive computer-based system, which helps decision makers utilise data and models to solve semi-structured to unstructured problems.