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
References:  W.A.Freyenfeld, 1984, DECISION SUPPORT SYSTEMS  Leigh, Andrew, 1983, Decisions, decisions! A practical management guide to problem solving and decision making  Hicks, James O, 1990, Information systems in business: an introduction  Bocij, Paul, 1999, Business information systems : technology, development and management  Badiru, A.B., 1992, expert systems application in engineering and manufacturing Websites: http://www.webopedia.com/TERM/D/decision_support_system.html http://searchcio.techtarget.com/sDefinition/0,,sid19_gci213888,00.html http://www.chrisnaylor.co.uk/Definition.html http://whatis.techtarget.com/definition/0,,sid9_gci212087,00.html