Decision Making

This article will help transform your decision making process into PUB – Pure Unadulterated Bliss! Think I’m exaggerating? Well … maybe just a little!:-) But, see for yourself anyway! You might be in for a pleasant surprise. The way I make decisions in complex situations has at least the merit of turning decision making into an effective, satisfying, even reassuring experience. Time to Decide Decisions, decisions, decisions. So many possibilities, so many variables, so many things to take into account … you freeze. You are sometimes overwhelmed by all the possible directions your search for an answer can take. Time is often of the essence. How many times have you been faced with having to make important decisions in a complex and dynamically changing environment? You have a gut feeling about what you should do, but you would prefer to make sure you have covered every possible angle. Mistakes are costly, and you cannot afford them. How can you avoid them? Large Companies Have Ways and Means When you are the president of a large company, you can tap the brainpower of the people working for you to: + identify the various aspects of the problem you want to solve, + identify the various potential solutions, + attribute a factor of importance to each aspect and potential solution, + identify the pros and cons of any given solution, + attribute a weighing factor to each pro and con, + etc, etc, etc … Often, higher management will hire a consultant to help identify and sort everything out. When they have the resources (and sometimes even when they do not …!), they will ask their information technology department specialists to develop an in-house, computer based decision support system (DSS). What Can Smaller Businesses Do? It’s a complex business world out there. No question about it. But decision making does not have to be complicated, nor does it have to be mysterious and overwhelming. Even smaller businesses have problems to solve, and decisions to make … like everyone else. How do you deal with complex decision making? What happens when you do not have lots of knowledgeable people working for you, and you do not have the means to hire highly specialized consultants to help you with your decision making? One solution involves the use of computerized applications to help break down a problem, and take into account a multitude of possibilities. The Decision Support System (DSS) Your daily decision making may be business related or not. But some decisions have to be made under complex circumstances. Things can rapidly get out of hand if you always have to rely on specialists to help you solve complex problems … even if you can afford them. More specifically, you cannot afford the dependence. You must strive to maintain your autonomy, but not at the expense of efficiency and effectiveness. A well designed, user friendly, computer based Decision Support System (DSS) is the tool that can make the difference. If such a thing were to exist, wouldn’t we be approaching PUB? What is a DSS anyway? A Decision Support System (DSS) is an interactive, computer-based, system that uses user-supplied data to help answer questions, or solve complex problems. You feed it what you know about a given problem, and it helps you see, not only all possible solutions but, more importantly, the the best possible solution. A DSS can take many forms. Some are highly specialized while others are general purpose. Some DSS are enterprise wide collaborative systems while others run on desktop PCs and are intended for a single user. The enterprise systems will generally be multi-purpose and require multi-processor computing power and powerful database management systems (DBMS) handling hundreds of gigabytes of data. We will not concern ourselves with these large systems in this article. The Single-User DSS Many people have relied for years on spreadsheets like Excel or Lotus 1-2-3 to develop specific DSS-like applications, such as for financial analysis, marketing analysis, or human resources management. Others sometimes push into DSS service small DBMS like MS-Access. The trouble with spreadsheets and DBMS is that they were not primarily designed to serve as a DSS. They can be pushed into serving as a DSS (after a fashion …), but they require a fair amount of programming. Not everyone is comfortable with the technical aspects of application building using general purpose tools. On the other hand, there are only a few significant software DSS for the desktop PC on the market today. They help the decision maker to: + break down a problem into it’s essential elements (sometimes called atomic form), + give a relative importance to each element, + identify and assess different alternatives or scenarios, + ultimately get a clearer picture of the best possible solution, given the data supplied to the DSS by the decision maker. However, a good DSS will typically cost thousands of dollars and is usually too sophisticated for the small business requirements. So where do you turn to for an affordable DSS? The Layman’s DSS As you might have guessed by now, I was not going to leave you without a viable solution! I use a DSS that: + is general purpose, + needs no programming, + is very effective, + is very user friendly, + and is very affordable. In fact … it costs nothing! How can something that costs nothing be of any real use to a small business person? Why give away something so valuable? More and more businesses develop freeware to illustrate their capabilities. They give away free software tools and applications to convince people of their expertise. They hope that this will persuade them to do business with them. Not all users of free software become customers, of course, but enough do that it is a very worthwhile marketing strategy. Here are a few examples of well known large organizations who freely give away very useful, fully functional software: Adobe Systems Inc.: Adobe Reader free software, capable of displaying the contents of documents encoded in Portable Document Format (PDF). Sun Microsystems Inc.: OpenOffice free software is a functional equivalent of the entire Microsoft Office Suite. (I wrote the first version of this report with OpenOffice Writer, and exported it as a PDF document. My Web site visitors can download it for free). Linux International: is a non-profit association of groups, corporations and others that work towards the promotion of growth of the Linux operating system and the Linux community. Linux is a Unix-like operating system, the core of which was created by Linus Torvalds. He released it to the world in 1991 and, since then, a large community of programmers around the world has contributed thousands of software tools and applications to be used freely under the Open Source philosophy. As you can see, free software does not necessarily mean useless, or less than adequate. Quite the opposite has been observed over the past decade or so. The DSS That I Use The Decision Support System (DSS) I use does not run on my computer. It runs on the server of my Web hosting and remote application provider (RAP). It is part of the comprehensive tool set and services I get on top of the basic hosting service. I use the Internet to access the DSS any time I need help in my decision making process. The more complex the situation, the more I turn to it for help. Users beware! Even the best DSS can produce bad or useless results. The one I use is not different! However, I can guarantee that if you feed a DSS honest, verifiable facts about a given problem you want to solve, it will give you very useful results. Avoid feeding it garbage … because it will simply cough up garbage. You have been warned. Use a DSS and get a PUBS – Pure Unadulterated Blissful Smile – on your face! About the Author: Claude Jollet is a former planning advisor to major industrial and commercial clients. He specialized in weather related operational planning issues. He holds a B.Sc.A. specializing in business process analysis and automation. He now devotes himself to the promotion of entrepreneurship on Article Published On: ..articlesnatch.. – Sales 相关的主题文章: