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Sunday, September 27, 2015


E-commerce is perhaps the most widely acclaimed buzzword, which gained popularity even aftermath of so-called dot com boom and diffusion. Every business aspect was being viewed with identifying business opportunities with the active support of IT tools especially Internet. Though various business models evolved and still the process of finding the most suitable model for different business propositions is continuing, the impact of e commerce practices can be felt and acknowledged without any reservations. However this impact is varied across different nations due to their characteristic differences in economies. The trends in e commerce practices show that it will gain the requisite volume with the pace of IT revolution as seen across the world. This is a brief description of modern practices and emerging trends related to technology, design and security issues involved in e-commerce.

Wireless Internet

Major technology and business companies such as Microsoft, AOL and are in the lead in developing and marketing wireless communications services and products required for facilitating business through wireless internet. AOL wants to make instant messaging available to all its customers and Amazon is already selling books using palm pilots. WAP (wireless application protocol) will be developed for use for wireless pages, instead of HTML.


Portals are sites that combine a portfolio of basic content, communication, and commerce sites. For the most part, they started out as search engines. There are two different types of portals in use, broad-based portals i.e. sites that serve everyone. They include Yahoo!, AOL, MSN, Excite, Snap, Lycos, AltaVista, Look Smart,, Juno, Earthlink, etc. Vertical portals are the sites that focus on a particular content category, commerce opportunity, or audience segment, with a broad set of services. Examples of such portals include CBS Sports line,, eBay,, Blue Mountain Arts, CNET, etc.


Friday, September 25, 2015


With the exposure to all the above information systems, let us find out the differences between DSS and MIS. Table-1 enlists some basic differences between Decision Support System, Management Information Systems and Executive Information System. As the name implies, the later two are the systems that provide information that may or may not be used for making a decision whereas the support information provided for deciding on the policy, planning or implementation is the basic component of DSS.

Let us find out the characteristics of the three systems :


- DSS generally provide support for unstructured, or semi-structured decisions (decisions that cannot be described in detail).
- DSS problems are often characterized by incomplete or uncertain knowledge, or the use of qualitative data.
- DSS will often include modelling tools in them, where various alternative scenarios can be modeled and compared.
- Investment decisions are an examples of those that might be supported by DSS


-    MIS is generally more sophisticated reporting systems built on existing transaction processing systems
-    Often used to support structured decision making (decisions that can be described in detail before the decision is made)
-    Typically will also support tactical level management, but sometimes are used at other levels
-   Examples of structured decisions supported by MIS might include deciding on stock levels or the pricing of products.


Wednesday, September 16, 2015


Having basic understanding of decision-making process and DSS, let us find out what is Group Decision Support Systems (GDSS). GDSS are interactive computer-based systems that facilitate decision-makers working together as a group to arrive at a solution for unstructured problem. The group of executives analyzes problem situations and performs group decision-making tasks. The GDSS provides mechanisms to help the users to coordinate and keep track of on-going projects, allow them to work together thru computer-supported communication, collaboration, and coordination. Typical applications of GDSS include email, awareness and notification systems, videoconferencing, chat systems, multi-player games, and negotiation systems.

The group decision support system addresses the vary issue of human behaviour in a given environment along with computer science and management. It is found that a task assigned to a group is a typical information processing system that usually provides a judicious solution with alternatives. The GDSS has several implications that can be listed as follows :
-     Enable all participants to work simultaneously thereby promoting broader input into the meeting process and reducing dominance of few people;
-       Provide equal opportunity for participation;
-  Enable larger group meetings that can effectively bring more information, knowledge, and skills for a given task;
-      Provide process structure to help focus the group on key issues and discourages irrelevant digressions and non-productive behaviors;
-      Support the development of an organizational memory from meeting to meeting; and
-      Individual satisfaction increases with group size.



Concept of DSS : A decision basically is a resources allocation process that is irreversible, except that a fresh decision may reverse it or overrule the earlier one. We can also define it as a reasoned choice among alternatives. The decision maker, having authority over the resources being allocated, makes a decision. He makes the decision in order to further some objective, which is what he hopes to achieve by allocating the resources. The decision might not succeed in achieving the objective. One might spend the funds and yet, for any number of reasons, achieve no acceleration at all. For example: To accelerate an R&D program is an objective, not a decision. To allocate the funds in an effort to accelerate the program is a decision.

Simple decision is one in which there is only one decision to be made, even having many alternatives.

A decision may be goal oriented for some degree of satisfaction for a given objective. Objective may be driven by a decision but goal is always target/result oriented. A decision may employ decision analysis; a structured thought process to attain desired results. In doing this, we can distinguish three features of the situation: alternatives, uncertainties and outcomes. Decision analysis thus constructs models, logical or even mathematical, representing the relationships within and between the features of situation. The models then allow the decision maker to estimate the possible implications of each course of action that he might take, so that he can better understand the relationship between his actions and his objectives. Someone who buys a lottery ticket and wins the lottery obtains a good outcome. Yet, the decision to buy the lottery ticket may or may not have been a good decision.


Monday, September 14, 2015


To build a DSS or EIS in an organization, it is important to understand the organisational environment in which it has to be functional. The environment here can be explained as the available hardware, operating system on the computers, approach to link or network computers, users, their work and workload, the links between the departments and information or data flow, hierarchies among the different levels of human resources, their interactivity level, etc. This total setup is covered under Information System Architecture.

The architecture of an information system refers to the way its pieces are laid out, types of tasks assigned to each piece, interaction among pieces and interaction of pieces with outside system. Martin (1991) defines information system architecture as “A written expression of the desired future for information use and management in an organization, that creates the context within which people can make consistent decisions”.

Let us look at the flow diagram (Figure-1) of course development process adopted by Indira Gandhi National Open University for generating a course as an example of information system architecture.

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