Due to the advent of small-size and low-cost computers as well as the rapid advancement of communications technology, computers have enabled management to fit information technology (IT) to the organization needs. In the commercial sector, information provided by computers is increasingly being used in decision making at all levels, but the dissatisfaction is often reported by the users. In order to solve the problem, decision support systems (DSS) are used personally by managers on an everyday basis in direct support of decisions. Along with artificial intelligence (AI) and expert systems (ES) occurred, conflict is existed between AI approach and algorithmic approach. In practice, it is hard to distinguish clearly which approach is better for an organization. A system based on these two approaches adopted by managers is just depends on a specific situation.
According to the case of Beauty Parlour (see Appendix), the specific task, allocating staff to provide each treatment within a customer¡¯s appointment, will be discussed by using these two approaches. Reasons and benefits of using computers in business will also be discussed briefly in the article. Then, it is going to discuss individually what DSS, ES and algorithmic approach are. Finally, based on these discussions and the specific task in the case study, some assessments of investigation will be given.
1 Using computers in business
Businesses use computers to keep track of profits and losses, as well as other aspects of business. The use of spreadsheets to handle and analyze numbers has become a mainstay of many businesses. These programs can total rows of numbers, estimate percentages, convert numbers into graphs and charts, and can be converted into slides for giving presentations. Many companies use database programs to help improve sales and marketing. Electronic mail or E-mail allows businesses to send documents and data quickly to other computers. Desktop publishing has also become very popular in many small and large businesses.
To cost-justification of using computers in Beauty Parlour, we just set focus on several ways, such as record keeping, data processing, control and automated control. It can be imagined that the process of managing data when an order came from a customer. If an order were accepted by the system to book an appointment, the receiver will do some jobs in terms of the procedure defined by the system, and the result of handling order for each step will be stored automatically in the system at the same time. Then, while a printed format is showed on the screen, the memo is on the way to the Server or manager¡¯s computer via the Intranet. It will spend several seconds completing an entire procedure. It proves that using computers in business can save customer¡¯s time and reduce the cost of responding orders.
2 Decision support systems (DSS)
2.1 Definitions of DSS
Abbreviated DSS, the term refers to an interactive computerized system that gathers and presents data from a wide range of sources, typically for business purposes. DSS applications are systems and subsystems that help people make decisions based on data that is culled from a wide range of sources (website: http://www.webopedia.com/TERM/D/decision_support_system.html). Decision support system (DSS) is designed to support the decision-making processes of the management (Mick Harry, 2000). A decision support system (DSS) is a computer program application that analyzes business data and presents it so that users can make business decisions more easily (website: http://searchcio.techtarget.com/sDefinition/0,,sid19_gci213888,00.html).
There are so many different definitions about DSS can be found in the books or websites, but whatever the definition is, the essential points they discuss are sameness. In fact, DSS is an interactive computerized system and its applications are designed to assist in a concurrent decision-making process. It is used personally...