An information and planning system that provides the ability to interrogate computers on an ad hoc basis, analyze information and predict the impact of decisions before they are made.
An Integrated Solution
Database management systems (DBMSs) let you select data and derive information for reporting and analysis. Spreadsheets and modeling programs provide both analysis and "what if?" planning. However, any single application that supports decision making is not a decision support system (DSS). A DSS is a cohesive and integrated set of programs that share data and information. A DSS might also retrieve industry data from external sources that can be compared and used for historical and statistical purposes. An integrated DSS directly impacts management decision-making. See EIS
, decision automation
and information management
Decision support systems may use OLAP databases, which provide rapid access to multidimensional views of the data. A user can quickly flip from "by product" to "by region" with a multidimensional database.