360 Degrees Group Inc.

Managerial Support Systems

Managerial support systems are the topic of this second of three chapters devoted to our survey of information technology (IT) application areas. Managerial support systems are designed to provide support to a specific manager or a small group of managers, and they include applications to support managerial decision making such as group support systems, executive information systems, and expert systems. In contrast, the previous chapter dealt with enterprise systems designed to support the entire organization or large portions of it, such as transaction processing systems, data warehousing, groupware, and intranets. Together these two chapters provide a relatively comprehensive picture of the applications of IT within a single organization (intraorganizational systems).

The enterprise systems discussed in the previous chapter are critical for running a business or any other type of organization, and you will be dealing with many such enterprise systems, especially transaction processing systems and groupware. Nevertheless, these enterprise systems have been designed to support the organization as a whole, not you in particular or even a group of managers. Managerial support systems, in contrast, are intended to directly support you and other managers as you make strategic and tactical decisions for your organizations. For example, decision support systems (DSSs) are designed to help managers and other professionals analyze internal and external data. By capturing the expertise of human experts, expert systems advise non-experts in a particular decision area. Group support systems are designed to make group work, especially meetings, more productive. Executive information systems (EISs) provide easy-to-navigate summary data for the managers of an organization. This chapter will explore these and other managerial support systems that are increasingly important in running modern organizations.

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