Differences between building a traditional DSS and an ODSS: lessons from the Air Force's Enlisted Force Management System

by Warren Walker

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This paper discusses the differences between traditional decision-support systems (DSSs), which are designed for a single user and/or a single purpose, and organizational decision-support systems (ODSSs), which are designed for use by people at several workstations in more than one organizational unit. The author draws examples from an ODSS, the Enlisted Force Management System (EFMS), which is being used to help the Air Staff in the Pentagon make decisions related to their enlisted personnel. The EFMS supports decisions about functions that are spread among five organizational units in three locations. The author discusses the differences between the purposes of a traditional DSS and an ODSS, and then highlights the major differences in how they are designed, built, and maintained.

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