How Decision Support System impacts decision making process

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The reason behind choosing this topic due to unawareness of DSS for people who are working in banks, different models regarding diverse functions inserted to banks not clearly and smoothly explained to the staff, thus there is a gap between human decisions and system decisions. Various requirements are created from different kinds of banks like, central, commercial, retail and investment. Therefore, verification in implementing the system will exist.

The main purpose of this research is to find out how "Decision Support System" is being used in banks and financial organizations in Bahrain to facilitate the decision making process functions. This research is also explains how DSS is used in different levels in banks and companies. Furthermore, it finds out the benefits and drawbacks gained from adopting DSS with it future improvements, which has been used in banks nowadays for better decision making.


Lots of decisions are taken every day all around the world. Some decisions are small which affect individuals' lives, while others are big putting a huge effect on countries future and development.

Decision making is based on the information collected and gathered by managers. Therefore, the fast growing information generated by people every moment is faster than anything over scale of decades (Kelly, 2006).

Decision Support System (DSS) refers to a computer based software used in firms and organizations to support the decision making process. DSSs help in taking decisions in all organization departments including management, planning and operations, which change continuously in an advanced level (Sol 1987).

An effective DSS must help the decision makers to collect and analyze useful information from raw materials, documents, notes, journals, business knowledge to easily identify and solve problems.

DSS have several ways to present the given information either graphically or by using expert systems or Artificial Intelligence (AI), which maybe designed by the management or group of knowledge workers.

Companies use DSS to improve the decision making at the first level. Also, it has provided many value added features to the organizations such as, improving staff efficiency and collaboration, speeding up solving problems, enhancing employee communication, increasing the firms' control over its activities, providing new evidence to support decisions, and finally helping the managerial process Turban, Aronson, Liang and Sharda (2007).

A Decision Support System is the key to form data and make quality decisions upon it. Making quality decisions in business depend on the quality of information gathered and human ability to analyze it in order to find trends to create solutions and strategies. DSS are computer applications with human component that go through large amount of data and chose between many alternatives.

Implementation of Decision Support System has been spread to different areas rather than business sector. For instance, clinics and hospitals have use it in their medical analysis and judgment, while banks and financial institutions have implement it in their credit sections to help loan officers to confirm the credit of loan applicants and in other sections to analyze sales data, budget sheet, and update strategy and evaluate current result. On top of that, the most growing area of DSS application is agricultural production systems to facilitate decision making at the farm and policy level.

Statement of the problem

Although we are certain about the importance of DSS implementation in business, which help in decision making process and brought many advantages and rewards to firms for example, increasing process efficiency and reducing paper work, there are still some unexpected disadvantages that leads to unplanned system crises and slowdown or even maybe disappearing the information in a flash or CD.

In this research we want to demonstrate the understanding of "Decision Support System" in banks and financial organizations, in order to show that they are not all using DSS in their functional decision activities.

This study, "The impact of Decision Support System of enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of decision making process, banks and financial organization as a case study" aims to demonstrate how DSS facilitate the decision making process in organization. It further aims to answer the following questions:

Do people aware of DSS, purpose, and important contribution to decision making?

How is DSS used in different level in banks?

What are DSS benefits and drawbacks regarding strategic decision making?

Limitations of the study

Talking about Decision Support System is a broad subject to handle. This study will discuss the impact of decision Support System in the decision making process only in banks and financial organizations, so only banks and financial organization with strong financial position and big size could have the problem included and solve it. Also, calculating the number of banks using DSS, depending on it, and how the system is being used might be difficult to figure out and answer.

Significant of the study

By presenting this study of DSS influence in decision making, this research is expected to contribute toward the expansion of DSS to all business sectors with the huge benefits provided to all parties dealing with business like suppliers, customers outside the firm and managers, business professionals, and stakeholders inside the firm.

Breakdown of the study

This research have started with an introduction regarding the meaning of Decision Support System concept, the relationship between DSS and Decision making, implementation of DSS, and finally benefits and drawbacks followed by different authors' opinions. These can be proved through distributing a survey among different levels and standards of employees in various banks. Based on the result gained from employee opinions, solutions, decisions will be taken to improve DSS and its core function.


The concept of DSS is very board to define, depending on the author's point view. As many authors agreed that DSS is a computer based system that help users in judgment and choosing between alternatives, others has gone beyond that in explaining the benefits, usage and productivity of the system with their different opinions. Below are different literatures investigated and significant points gathered and summarized according to subject.

List of the Literature Review

2.1.1 What is Decision Support System?

According to Sol (1987), the definition and scope of DSS has been migrating over the years. In the 1970s DSS was described as "a computer based system to aid decision making". Late 1970s the DSS movement started focusing on "interactive computer-based systems which help decision-makers utilize data bases and models to solve ill-structured problems". In the 1980s DSS should provide systems "using suitable and available technology to improve effectiveness of managerial and professional activities", and end 1980s DSS faced a new challenge towards the design of intelligent workstations.

Decision Support System (DSS) has been developing for almost 40 years by different researchers and technologists mainly within area. Explained by Power in 2007, in the history of development of DSS, five broad categories have been agreed on within this area, they include communications-driven, data-driven, document driven, knowledge-driven and model-driven decision support systems.

Kuljis, Macredie and Paul (1999), indicate that there are some decision support systems which are computer-based Information Systems (IS) that provide the best practical ways to approach the capture, management and exploitation of information which would be essential for the business needs.

DSS had expanded the scope of its applications since the beginning of 1980's by academic organizations and universities, besides the scope, the expanding of the field of DSS also enriched the later development of the system (Power, 2007).

2.1.2 What are Decision Support System benefits?

Turban, Aronson, Liang and Sharda (2007), explained that DSS's benefits have been discovered by businesses and other organizations, for example, speedy computations, improved communication and collaboration, increased productivity of group members, improved the quality of decision making, improve the flexibility of time and space of decision making etc.

The benefits of decision support system were recognized that it could be designed to support decision-makers at any level in an organization and could support operational decision making, financial management and strategic decision-making (Power ,2007).

Johan Svensson (2010) presents that in the bank two DSS tools which are intensively used in making and executing decisions. One is Programming Trading which is an automatic trading system; the other is Market Maker which used to find opportunities in the market to make money by using bank's money. The BI tools in these two examples are used quite much, respectively about 70% and 90% during the decision making process. From his perspective, DSS's benefit is to make decision faster; its drawbacks are less control and more chances of errors.

The decision support frame work proposed explains that, financial management (investment) in the strategic control level needs decision support. Strategic planning relates with organization's long term development, therefore, the benefits of DSS are not well recognized by banks and financial sectors. There is still potential area to be development to make good use of DSS there (Gorry and Scott-Morton, 1971).

Mr. McCarthy (2010) indicates that DSS cannot be directly seen or independent used in banks or financial sectors. No doubt that the financial services companies are the biggest expanding market places in IT. Today, since there is no settled solution, these organizations are paying more attention to the risks. There are calculations of risk and there is a framework to pull it out together and to have management make efficient decisions. Having that as a part of the solution, the framework is important, the DSS is important if the risks are calculated effectively, by moving this forward, DSS will be more and more appreciated by decision makers in financial services sector.

Professor Carlsson (2010) introduced that DSS has been the top three investment items in different organizations in past years. People are more aware of the importance of using DSS to support the decision making.

Insurance companies are the most frequent ones to use DSS, in this actual area, good mathematical models are implemented into the system to help management to figure out the price for a product or how they should address risks in one way or another (Mr. McCarthy, 2010).

2.1.3 Decision making process

The history of the term decision making could be dated back to the middle of the past century. Telephone executive Chester Barnard takes 'decision making' from public administration into the business world (Buchanan and Connel, 2006).

Davenport (2009), gives couple of significant examples of decision: the decision to invade Iraq, not use resources to solve global warming threats etc, all seem to be written in the shameful page of the history book.

In the business world, decision making is a special art which includes three different levels which are operational, tactical and strategic (Harris, 2009). These three levels of decision makings are dealing with different pictures of the business, from everyday operational routine decisions to non-routine long term decisions.

Power (2007) presents that in the rapid time of economic development, making the right decision at the right time are crucial to the banking section today. Go together with the technology improvement, after 1995, World Wide Web, global Internet, and the later released HTML 2.0 specifications accelerated the development speed of web-based DSS.

Decision making is based on information that the decision maker is gathering. Therefore, in our planet the fastest growing activity is the amount of information that we are generating every day, every hour, every minute. Expanding rate of information is and has been faster than anything else that could be measured over the scale of decades (Kelly, 2006).

Miller, Brautigam and Gerlach (2006), besides the rapid development in the business world including banking sector, different organizations have various ways to measure their success. Therefore, one factor that could not be denied is that the revenue targets are becoming harder and harder to reach. By gaining focus on making popper strategic and tactical decisions with necessary knowledge to maximize revenue, maximize risk and remaining the competitive place in the market. BI could be one of the best practical DSS to assist organizations to achieve the goal.

According to Alter (2004), change or improvement of one of the nine work system elements could provide a better decision making. In the project introduced by FSIC, one fact could be noticed that their way of collecting data involves the process of observing customer's needs and their behaviors.

Summary of Literature Review

All the related literatures reviewed confirmed that DSS refers to "computer based system that assists managerial and professional activities of business needs, which aims basically on improving decision making process. The above literatures share the same ideas that DSS speed the operations, improve collaboration and communication among employees, and improve quality and flexibility of decisions taken.


3.1 Data- gathering methodology employed

Descriptive research method has been used to describe the current problem "DSS", benefits and drawbacks, and usage in different levels. Also, empirical method has been used to prove and explain the relationship between DSS and decision making process. Due to the empirical studies, dependent variable is identified, which is decision making process and independent variables which are people, training and update knowledge and data, and implementing procedures and communication. These variables will be explained later in more details with the hypotheses.

Meanwhile, the primary data have been collected from the questionnaire prepared, while, the secondary data gathered from articles, books, and journals.

3.2 Research design

This research conceived as a quantitative study. It aims to describe and understand the factors that contribute to implement DSS through making a questionnaire to prove its practice. Online questionnaire has been built and shared out among different people in banks and financial organizations like, Standard Chartered Bank, BBK, Albaraka Bank, Ahli United Bank, Solidair co., Arabian Financial Services, PNB paribus, in which respondents were given the freedom to answer the questionnaire. The questionnaire was divided into two sections. The first section includes general questions that measure the demographic characteristics of the respondents like age, gender, position, and degree, while the second section includes variables questions that generate the relationship between dependent and independent variables.

There were 62 respondents for the research, whom have been asked to fill the questionnaire. There are 59.7% males and 40.3% females. Adults represent 83.8% of the surveyed sample. They are at various level of education ranging from PHD to Diploma. 56.5% of the respondents are normal staff, but 43.6% are middle and top managers.

3.3 Variables and Hypotheses of the study

3.3.1 Hypotheses of the study:

Hypothesis 1: DSS has significant relationship with middle and top managers

H0: DSS has no significant relationship with middle and top managers

H1: DSS has significant relationship with middle and top managers

Hypothesis 2: Good training, update knowledge and data of DSS lead to better decisions.

H0: Good training, update knowledge and data of DSS don't affect the decisions making.

H2: Good training, update knowledge and data of DSS affect the decisions making.

Hypothesis 3: There is a significant effect of implementing procedures, and communication on decision making.

H0: There is no significant effect of implementing procedures, and communication on decision making.

H3: There is a significant effect of implementing procedures, and communication on decision making.


The most significant challenge DSS face is lack of awareness between people, because even if it was implemented in banks and organizations just few employees have knowledge about it. First, top managers who probably use it. Second, IT people who have previous background about it either from their studies or from working and developing it.

Moreover, the entire DSS system has not been fully scoped, there are still chances and spaces to be improved and developed. It'll not be easy at all to change the old system to new function, in most situations it is difficult to process or there is a lack of data that lead to a constant system. These difficult modifications will cause to a high percentage of errors and mistakes in the functionality of the system which result from complexity of it. On top of that, some managers may use the system but they'll not consider it and depend upon it because they don't simply trust a system to take decisions.

Finally, some companies have addressed the higher systems' cost, which step them backward from buying and using it inside their organizations.


The result of the questionnaire were transferred to the analytic software SPSS, which has been used to identify the relationship among variables.

5.1 Measuring H1

H1 indicates that DSS has significant relationship with middle and top managers. In H1 we have combined Q8 and Q10 that are related to variable number one which is people. Although more than half of the sample is normal staff and holding BSc degrees, around 93.6% agreed that top and middle managers are the most type of people who use DSS in their work. While 40.3% of them disagreed that all their decisions are based on DSS system.

Based on the significance level gained from the H1 0.077, I'll reject H1 because it's higher than .05 and accept H0 that refers to a negative significant relationship between middle and top managers and DSS.

5.2 Measuring H2

H2 indicated that good training, update knowledge and data lead to better decisions. In H2 we have combined Q5, Q7, Q11, Q12 that are related to variable two which are training, data and knowledge. 66.1% of the sample aware about the DSS system and knew that DSS is a computer based system that support decision making process while the remaining doesn't know. Around 95% of them have strongly agreed that good training on the system will lead to better decisions.

Based on the significance level gained from H2 0.064, I'll reject H2 because it's higher than .05 and accept H0 that refers to the negative effect between decision making and training, and update knowledge and data.

5.3 Measuring H3

H3 presents that there is a significant effect on implementing procedures and communication on decision making. In H3 we have combined Q6, Q13, Q14 that are related to variable three which are implementing procedures and communication. More than the half of the sample have DSS system available in their organizations and agreed about the strong effect of communication on the decision making, but 25.8% don't know whether implementing the system is an important factor of DSS or not.

Based on the significance level gained from H3 0.000, I'll reject H0 and accept H3 that refers to the positive effect of implementing procedures and communication over the decision making.

5.4 Measuring H4

In H4 we have combined the H1, H2, and H3 to find out the overall effect of dependent variable over the independent variables in the study. So, based on the significance level gained from H4 0.000, we conclude that the overall effect of the combined variables are positive on the research study in spite of the individual rejection of H1 and H2.


6.1 Discussion

The research finding carried out from the questionnaire conducted for my study as summarized in the previous chapter, conclude that the good decision making is achieved with the perfectness use of DSS system, as similarly identified in the related literature review in chapter II.

All mentioned literature reviews have agreed on the meaning of DSS and its direct relationship with decision making. By returning back to the respondents, I found out that they are aware of DSS concept and approved that DSS is a computer based system that support decision making process, (Q5, Q7). However, most employees who have filled the questionnaire either who are aware of DSS or not have agreed that their firms face lack of data problem, which has affected significantly the result in rejecting H2. Because you can see even inside the same bank or organization, people aware of the system and others not, which is mainly because DSS is used by limited number of people who are managers, (Q12) as Mr. McCarthy and Carlsson both thought that DSS is not that well known by all people in banks who are using them, the system is like a black box. Thus, the solution for that as so many recommended is the sufficient and continuous training on the system, (Q11).

According to the survey (Q8, Q10) most respondent have agreed that both middle and top managers are more frequent using DSS system, but they divided between disagreed and neutral regarding dependent of all decisions on DSS which cause to reject H1. Truly, they thought that even with the existence of DSS system in their banks, there is no full dependence on the system in taking decisions due to its efficiencies and as I mentioned before in the abstract there is still variance between human based decisions and system based decisions. However, people will never ever depend on a machine to determine their future.

By referring to (Q6, Q13) which reported a high percentage availability of the DSS in banks and organization and considering implementing the system as an important factor of DSS that supports Professor Carlsson review that few firms describing system's working process of DSS before implementing; therefore, the impact could be measured correctly after implementing.

Research sample concur that decision making will be improved and developed by using DSS, which also support Turban, Aronson, Liang and Sharda opinions that quality and flexibility in time and space of decision making will be improved by using DSS system, (Q17).

6.1.1 DSS contribution to decision making

Risk management prediction can be analyzed though the help of DSS as many authors agreed. Harris (2009) pointed that during the decision making processes, certain risk inevitably involved. While McCarthy has mentioned that DSS is tightly bounded with the matter of risk management and risk frame work, in which it has been used effectively to calculate risk.

Furthermore, other authors have pointed the precise results of risk calculation gained from DSS that strongly lead to precise decision making.

6.1.2 DSS usage in different level in banks

DSS plays a various role in different levels in the bank. In the investment banks, it helps investors to in their decisions by generating the needed analysis about customer behavior, allocating the risk to quantitative and qualitative analysis to make good deals, combining complex logics with mathematical and economic models to support trading at higher level to become fast and profitable enough.

In the lower level, it used for daily transactions and payment mentioned by McCarthy, monitoring process and sending notice information to consumers as they are part of the decision making process.

In insurance companies, DSS is used to calculate risk and set reasonable prices for their products.

6.1.3 DSS benefits and drawbacks

As mentioned before, DSS help in allocating customer needs in an accurate way to improve their satisfaction. It analyzes the prediction of risk in investment banks. Also, it adds many added value features like, enhancing staff efficiency and effectiveness, improving employee collaboration and communication, and increasing firms control over its activities. More importantly, faster the decision making process.

On the other hand, Banks dependent upon DSS will face many errors and mistakes in their functions as well as system slowdown and crises that lead to inaccurate results of the system. Besides that, there is higher percentage of lack of trained people on DSS that go ahead toward difficult modification of it.

6.2 Recommendation

To conclude, DSS is used to improved quality of decision making, calculate predicted risk of the firm and faster communication between employees. DSS is more than just a system to insert input and produce output. CIOs and managers use it in their difficult decisions in various functions to gain control and effectiveness over their business activities.

According to McCarthy and Carlsson, data collection and data quality are two main factors that improve the quality of decision making. Collecting the data from different points and allocating it accurately to the resource would add value to our decisions. Also, improving data quality will help in correcting mistakes that gives quality decisions result.

As mentioned by McCarthy, the knowledge gap between users and system must be minimized and improved in the future. Unlikely, Carlsson mentioned that just few firm today are implementing the clear process of DSS, therefore at the same end user might have some guesses and trials in the system as long as mistakes occurs.


In conclusion, there are some important points I would like to share them in a summarized way which are:

Decision Support system is a significant tool in enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of decision making process applied in different banks and financial organizations.

Unawareness of DSS between people who are working in banks is one of the issues today, different functionality of the system are not clearly explained for the employees, therefore, gap is created.

Risk analysis factor achieved from DSS needed for improvement to solve risk management problem in different banks and organizations.

Different requirement of DSS should be put in mind when implementing the system in various kinds of banks like, investment, commercial, retail, and central.