DSS vs ESS | Executive Support System vs Decision Support System
For those who are managing business today, managing information and processing it effectively to take decisions that are timely and productive is vital for survival as there is cut throat competition and one has to be at his very best at all times to be one up on others. There are many types of information systems that have been devised to help managers take better and more efficient decisions. Two such systems are DSS and ESS that have some similarities because of which people remain confused about their differences. This article highlights their differences to enable managers to choose one of the two information systems to benefit more.
DSS, as the name implies, is an information system that is totally automated and helps an organization in various decision making activities. Called Decision support System, it works at all three levels of planning, operations and management and assists in decision making process that is not easy in these times of rapidly evolving circumstances. From a deluge of data, DSS sieves information to come up with a knowledge based system to not just identify and inform about a problem but also tools to solve such problems by taking prompt decisions. The concept of DSS evolved from researches done at CIT in 50’s and MIT in 60’s. Later, executive information system progressed along with group decision support systems and organizational decision support systems to develop into a single user DSS.
There have been attempts to classify DSS systems and according to taxonomy, there are passive, active and cooperative DSS. A passive DSS is a model that helps in decision making process but does not come up with suggestions or solutions. An active DSS on the other hand comes up with solutions from which a manager can choose the best according to circumstances. A cooperative DSS can be used to feed chosen alternatives for a further analysis and validations. Another way of classifying DSS is on the basis of processes involved and thus we get communication driven, data driven, document driven, knowledge driven and finally a model driven DSS. Whatever the classification, the essential components of a DSS are the data base, the UI, and the model along with the user himself.
There are times when there is too much of information and executive finds himself overwhelmed with a deluge of information. He needs a tool to be able to sieve relevant and important information from that which is waste and irrelevant. Instead of making educated guesses, executives make use of Executive Support Systems (ESS) that is summarized information. However, there is provision to get to the detail as and when necessary.
Executives in today’s world come up the ranks and are more prone to make use of technology to help them in carrying out their jobs more efficiently. True, ESS doesn’t provide executives with ready made answers or solutions according to circumstances; they provide enough ammo to managers to come up with better decisions. This occurs if managers make use of this information and use their own education and experience along with the condition of the organization and the present circumstances.
While DSS is decision support system that are designed to help managers come up with solutions to problems on the basis of a data base or knowledge base, ESS is executive support system that presents summarized information that is used by executives to come up with best possible solution to problems. This they do with the help of their education, experience and business environment that they face.