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WHAT IS STRATEGIC MANAGEMENT?
•Strategy –greek word ‘strategos’–generalship
•Activities concerned with formulation and implementation of strategies to achieve
organisational objectives
ESSENCE OF STRATEGIC MANAGEMENT
•Assess where are we now ?
•Identify where do we want to be?
•Generate options on how we might get there?
•Evaluate the options to identify which way is best?
•Ensure we reach the desired position.
SWOT Analysis
SWOT analysis is the assessment of comparative strengths and weaknesses of a firm in
relation to its competitors; and environmental opportunities and threats, which a company
may have to face in the future. It should be based on logic and rational thinking such that
a proper strategy improves an organization’s business strength and opportunities and at
the same time reduces the weaknesses and threats.
Strength and weakness are internal forces and factors that are to be assessed from
continously since more and more competitive organizations with state of the art
technology and services are entering into the market and competition is getting
intensified day by day.
Opportunities and threats are the external factors and forces in the business
environment which are also changing day by day with the change of government policy,
industrial policy, monetary policy, political situation at national and international levels,
formation of various trade blocks and trade barriers including the changes in legal and
social environment in the business world.
Strength:
Strength is the power and excellence with the resources, skills and advantages in relation
to the competitors. A strength is a distinct technical superiority with best technical know-
how, financial resources and skill of the people in the organization, goodwill and image
in the market for the product and services, company’s access to best distribution network,
the discipline, morale, attitude and mannerisms of the employees at all levels with a sense
of belonging.
Weakness:
Weakness is the incapability, limitation and deficiency in resources such as technical,
financial, manpower, skills, brand image and distribution pattern. It refers to constraints
or obstacles, which check movement in a certain direction and may also inhibit an
organization in gaining a distinct competitive advantage.
Opportunities:
Environmental opportunity is an alternative area for company’s action in which the
particular company would enjoy a competitive advantage. An opportunity is a major
favorable advantage to a company. Proper analysis of the environment and identification
of new market, new and improved customer group with better product substitutes or
supplier’s relationship could represent opportunities for the company.
Threat:
Environmental threat is the challenge posed by the unavoidable trend or development that
would lead, in the absence of purposeful action to the erosion of the company’s position.
Slow market growth, entry of resourceful multinational companies, increase bargaining
power of the buyers or sellers because of a large number of options, quick rate of
obsolescence due to major technological change and adverse situation because of change
of government policy rules and regulation is disadvantageous to any company and may
pose a serious threat to business operation.
SWOT analysis
The analysis of the current marketing situation provides the basis of data for a SWOT (Strengths,
Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis.
Resource analysis (analysis of strengths and weaknesses)
Strengths and weaknesses are internal factors which the manager should identify. Strengths may be
capitalised on, while weaknesses point to areas which the plan should correct. The resource audit below
allows one to do this.
Company Resource Analysis
Assess each of the following aspects of the organization’s resources. Do you believe it represents a
strength to the company (i.e.. the company is in a better position than its competitors) or a weakness
(i.e.. the company is in a worse position than its competitors)
STRENGTH WEAKNESS
RESOURCE High Medium Low Neutral Low Medium High
PEOPLE
Adequate
Skilled
Loyal
Service
Minded
MONEY
Adequate
Flexible
FACILITIES
Adequate
Flexible
Location
SYSTEMS
Information
Planning
Control
MARKET
ASSETS
Client Base
General
Reputation
What is this?
The resource audit form shown above is a very useful tool for a group of planners to use in assessing
and organization’s strengths and weaknesses. Obviously the one shown in the example would not be
suitable for all organizations, and would need to be modified for use in a -particular enterprise,
depending on the specific resources critical to success in that business. It merely serves as an example.
HOW IS IT USED?
It has been suggested (and has been found by experience to work exceedingly well in practice) that a
planning team (with other knowledgeable individuals co-opted if required) of between five and twelve
managers be required to complete a resource audit form. Each resource (and its critical dimensions) are
rated according to whether the individual considers it to be a strength (low, medium or high), or a
weakness (low, medium or high), or a neutral point (neither a strength or a weakness. When the group
has completed their individual ratings, an aggregation can be done and the results made available to
the planning team during a discussion session. What generally happens is that their is a wide
dispersion of views, and different members of the planning team can then give then give and gain
insight into the various organizational resources. Following a nominal group-type approach, individuals
are again required to complete an audit form, and the process is repeated. The insights gained during
the discussions, and re-evaluation of the resource profile eventually (normally after three rounds, but
often after only two) leads to conformity and congruence as individuals begin to see an overall picture
form each other’s point of view and the resulting resouce profile can be drawn as a plot along the means
on the resource audit form, providing a snap-shot of the resource situation in the organization.
Opportunity/Threat analysis (environmental analysis)
Opportunities and threats refer to outside factors that can affect the future of business, and over which
it has no control. Opportunities are observed trends/possible trends in the environment, which are
attractive to the firm. Threats are observed/possible trends in the environment that could be
detrimental to the firm. Failure to identify opportunities and threats could lead to a position of
stagnation.
I suggest that the planning team charges individuals with the task of preparing a twenty- to thirty
minute presentation on one of the environmental variables - e.g., George gets Politics and Legislation,
Mary gets the Economy, Linda gets the Socio-Cultural Environment and John gets Technology. Even
though they may not be “experts” on this, the assignment forces them to do a bit of reading and
research, and they present their views on their particular topic, and how it will affect the firm, to the
rest of the group. This forms the basis for discussion on the business environment and also for the
identification of strengths and weaknesses.
While most organizations do not find the identification of opportunities in the environment an
impossible task, the reaction, once having done this, is so often one of, “So what?” The Threat Matrix
offers a simple but powerful way of classifying and managing threats. To use it, the planning team
simply needs to consider each of the threats identified, and place them on the grid in the appropriate
cell, evaluating each threat in terms of its severity and probability of occurrence. A serious threat is
one, that if it materialised, could seriously hurt the company, and if it had a higher likelihood of
occurrence would be placed in the upper left quadrant. It would have to be constantly managed and
contingency plans would probably be developed. A threat with low likelihood, and not very serious,
placed in the bottom right cell, could even be acknowledged and ignored. Threats in the other two
quadrant could be monitored in terms of their movement along the axes.
THREAT MATRIX
P
R
O
B
A
B
I
L
I
T
Y
High
Low
SEVERITY
High Low
Just as a planning team needs to consider the threats facing it, so too it must develop some facility or
identifying, classifying and managing opportunities. Once again, an opportunity matrix, essentially
similar to the threat matrix, except that it uses the dimension of attractiveness rather than severity,
can be used, in very much the same way. Attractive, probable opportunities should be managed and
exploited; less attractive, less likely ones ignored; and opportunities in on the bottom-left to top-right
diagonal monitored for shifts in position. An opportunity matrix is illustrated below:
OPPORTUNITY MATRIX
P
R
O
B
A
B
I
L
I
T
Y
High
Low
High Low
ATTRACTIVENESS
Analysis of the Competitive Situation
Any appraisal of the strategic and marketing situation must include an analysis of the competitive
situation. Too often, unfortunately, managers and academics alike misuse the term "competitive
advantage". The cliché has become used, and abused, to the extent that its true meaning has become
unclear. An excellent, simple model for understanding exactly what competitive advantage is, and
where it comes from is illustrated in the figure12.4 below.
Figure 12.4 The Competitive Advantage Process Model
* Superior Skills
* Superior Resources
* Lowest Cost
* Product Differentiation
* Customer Satisfaction
* Customer Loyalty
* Profitability
* Market Share
Investment in Resources
Sources Positional Advantages Strategic Outcomes
Briefly, what the process model tells us is as follows:
Organizations only have two sources of competitive advantage (in fact if they had neither of
these they would not exist for any length of time): They either have superior skills (knowledge; ability;
know-how), or, they have superior resources (more money, more and better people, better plant, better
facilities, better location, better information technology. Really fortunate organizations have both.
These sources of competitive advantage are used to gain a position of advantage. This
positional advantage, can be either the ability to be the lowest cost producer, or the ability to offer
superior customer value.
The ability to be the lowest cost producer means that the organization can command a pricing
advantage (sell at a lower price than competitors, and make similar or higher margins).
Or, the company can sell at the same price as competitors, and command higher margins. If
the organization cannot command a position of lower cost, it must compete on the basis of offering
superior customer value. It must differentiate its offering to the market in such a way that customers
demand that offering and not others, and probably be prepared to pay more for it. This differentiation
may take the form of better quality, more features, better service, longer warranty, great range, added
convenience - whatever it is, it is something that makes the company's offering different from the
offerings of its competitors.
If the organization does command a positional advantage, a number of things will result, all of
which should be important to management. The company will have satisfied customers - so satisfied in
fact, that they will support the company loyally, and not drift off to its competitors. And, the company
will be profitable, and maintain, and even increase its share of the market. Theoretically, the financial
results of competitive advantage are then plowed back into what created it in the first place: superior
skills, and/or superior resources.
It is worthwhile considering that most organizations give much attention to outcomes such as
market share and profitability, and less to satisfaction and loyalty. The reason is somewhat flawed
when one considers that profitability and market share are transitory measures, taken at a point in
time. Financial statements, for examples, are really a company's history, and say little of its strategic
future. Measures of satisfaction and loyalty are undoubtedly more effective indicators of strategic
health.
Profit Margin example
Looking at the earnings of a company often doesn't tell the entire story. Increased earnings are good, but an
increase does not mean that the profit margin of a company is improving. For instance, if a company has
costs that have increased at a greater rate than sales, it leads to a lower profit margin. This is an indication
that costs need to be under better control.
Imagine a company has a net income of $10 million from sales of $100 million, giving it a profit margin of
10% ($10 million/$100 million). If in the next year net income rose to $15 million on sales of $200 million,
its profit margin would fall to 7.5%. So while the company increased its net income, it has done so with
diminishing profit margins.
Decision Support Systems
� An information system
� Purpose to provide information for making informed decisions
Interactive (needed for experimenting and prospecting)
Definitions of DSS
� Gorry and Scott-Morton (1971): Management Decision Systems --
Interactive computer-based systems, which help decision makers utilize
data and models to solve unstructured problems.
� Keen and Scott-Morton (1978): Decision support systems couple the
intellectual resources of individuals with the capabilities of the computer to
improve the quality of decisions. It is a computer-based support system for
management decision makers who deal with semi-structured problems.
Basic themes of DSS
� Information systems.
� Used by managers.
� Used in making decisions.
� Used to support, not to replace people.
� Used when the decision is "semistructured" or "unstructured."
� Incorporate a database of some sort.
� Incorporate models.
DSS Benefits
� Improving Personal Efficiency
� Expediting Problem Solving
� Fascilitating Interpersonal Communications
� Promoting Learning or Training
� Increasing Organizational Control
DSS COMPONETS
INFORMATION CHARACTERISTICS FOR DIFFERENT TYPES OF
DECISIONS
The DSS Hierarchy
� Suggestion systems
� Optimization systems
� Representational models
� Accounting models
� Analysis information systems
� Data analysis systems
� File drawer systems
File drawer systems
� They are the simplest type of DSS
� Can provide access to data items
� Data is used to make a decision
� ATM Machine
� Use the balance to make transfer of funds decisions
Data Analysis Systems
� Provide access to data
� Allows data manipulation capabilities
� Airline Reservation system
� No more seats available
� Provide alternative flights you can use
� Use the info to make flight plans
Analysis Information Systems
� Provide access to multiple data sources
� Combines data from different sources
� Allows data analysis capabilities
� Compare growth in revenues to industry average- requires access to many
sources
� The characteristic of the recent “data warehouse” is similar
Accounting models
� Use internal accounting data
� Provide accounting modeling capabilities
� Can not handle uncertainty
� Uses Bill of Material
� Calculate production cost
� Make pricing decisions
Representational models
� Can incorporate uncertainty
� Uses models to solve decision problem using forecasts
� Can be used to augment the capabilities of accounting models
� Use the demand data to forecast next years demand
� Use the results to make inventory decisions.
Optimization systems
� Used to estimate the effects of different decision alternative
� Based on optimization models
� Can incorporate uncertainty
� Assign sales force to territory
� Provide the best assignment schedule
Suggestion systems
� A descriptive model used to suggest to the decision maker the best action
� A prescriptive model used to suggest to the decision maker the best action
� May incorporate an Expert System
� Applicant applies for personal loan
� Use the system to recommend a decision
DSS CATEGORIES
� Support based DSS (Alter 1980)
� Data-based DSS
� Model-based DSS
Management Information
Systems
Decision Support
Systems
Decision
support
provided
Provide information about
the performance of the
organization
Provide information and
techniques to analyze
specific problems
Information
form and
frequency
Periodic, exception,
demand, and push reports
and responses
Interactive inquiries and
responses
Information
format
Prespecified, fixed format Ad hoc, flexible, and
adaptable format
Information
processing
methodology
Information produced by
extraction and
manipulation of business
data
Information produced
by analytical modeling
of business data

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SWOT analysis.doc

  • 1. WHAT IS STRATEGIC MANAGEMENT? •Strategy –greek word ‘strategos’–generalship •Activities concerned with formulation and implementation of strategies to achieve organisational objectives ESSENCE OF STRATEGIC MANAGEMENT •Assess where are we now ? •Identify where do we want to be? •Generate options on how we might get there? •Evaluate the options to identify which way is best? •Ensure we reach the desired position.
  • 2. SWOT Analysis SWOT analysis is the assessment of comparative strengths and weaknesses of a firm in relation to its competitors; and environmental opportunities and threats, which a company may have to face in the future. It should be based on logic and rational thinking such that a proper strategy improves an organization’s business strength and opportunities and at the same time reduces the weaknesses and threats. Strength and weakness are internal forces and factors that are to be assessed from continously since more and more competitive organizations with state of the art technology and services are entering into the market and competition is getting intensified day by day. Opportunities and threats are the external factors and forces in the business environment which are also changing day by day with the change of government policy, industrial policy, monetary policy, political situation at national and international levels, formation of various trade blocks and trade barriers including the changes in legal and social environment in the business world. Strength: Strength is the power and excellence with the resources, skills and advantages in relation to the competitors. A strength is a distinct technical superiority with best technical know- how, financial resources and skill of the people in the organization, goodwill and image in the market for the product and services, company’s access to best distribution network, the discipline, morale, attitude and mannerisms of the employees at all levels with a sense of belonging. Weakness: Weakness is the incapability, limitation and deficiency in resources such as technical, financial, manpower, skills, brand image and distribution pattern. It refers to constraints or obstacles, which check movement in a certain direction and may also inhibit an organization in gaining a distinct competitive advantage. Opportunities: Environmental opportunity is an alternative area for company’s action in which the particular company would enjoy a competitive advantage. An opportunity is a major favorable advantage to a company. Proper analysis of the environment and identification of new market, new and improved customer group with better product substitutes or supplier’s relationship could represent opportunities for the company. Threat: Environmental threat is the challenge posed by the unavoidable trend or development that would lead, in the absence of purposeful action to the erosion of the company’s position. Slow market growth, entry of resourceful multinational companies, increase bargaining power of the buyers or sellers because of a large number of options, quick rate of obsolescence due to major technological change and adverse situation because of change
  • 3. of government policy rules and regulation is disadvantageous to any company and may pose a serious threat to business operation. SWOT analysis The analysis of the current marketing situation provides the basis of data for a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis. Resource analysis (analysis of strengths and weaknesses) Strengths and weaknesses are internal factors which the manager should identify. Strengths may be capitalised on, while weaknesses point to areas which the plan should correct. The resource audit below allows one to do this. Company Resource Analysis Assess each of the following aspects of the organization’s resources. Do you believe it represents a strength to the company (i.e.. the company is in a better position than its competitors) or a weakness (i.e.. the company is in a worse position than its competitors) STRENGTH WEAKNESS RESOURCE High Medium Low Neutral Low Medium High PEOPLE Adequate Skilled Loyal Service Minded MONEY Adequate Flexible FACILITIES Adequate Flexible Location SYSTEMS Information Planning Control MARKET ASSETS Client Base General Reputation What is this? The resource audit form shown above is a very useful tool for a group of planners to use in assessing and organization’s strengths and weaknesses. Obviously the one shown in the example would not be suitable for all organizations, and would need to be modified for use in a -particular enterprise, depending on the specific resources critical to success in that business. It merely serves as an example.
  • 4. HOW IS IT USED? It has been suggested (and has been found by experience to work exceedingly well in practice) that a planning team (with other knowledgeable individuals co-opted if required) of between five and twelve managers be required to complete a resource audit form. Each resource (and its critical dimensions) are rated according to whether the individual considers it to be a strength (low, medium or high), or a weakness (low, medium or high), or a neutral point (neither a strength or a weakness. When the group has completed their individual ratings, an aggregation can be done and the results made available to the planning team during a discussion session. What generally happens is that their is a wide dispersion of views, and different members of the planning team can then give then give and gain insight into the various organizational resources. Following a nominal group-type approach, individuals are again required to complete an audit form, and the process is repeated. The insights gained during the discussions, and re-evaluation of the resource profile eventually (normally after three rounds, but often after only two) leads to conformity and congruence as individuals begin to see an overall picture form each other’s point of view and the resulting resouce profile can be drawn as a plot along the means on the resource audit form, providing a snap-shot of the resource situation in the organization. Opportunity/Threat analysis (environmental analysis) Opportunities and threats refer to outside factors that can affect the future of business, and over which it has no control. Opportunities are observed trends/possible trends in the environment, which are attractive to the firm. Threats are observed/possible trends in the environment that could be detrimental to the firm. Failure to identify opportunities and threats could lead to a position of stagnation. I suggest that the planning team charges individuals with the task of preparing a twenty- to thirty minute presentation on one of the environmental variables - e.g., George gets Politics and Legislation, Mary gets the Economy, Linda gets the Socio-Cultural Environment and John gets Technology. Even though they may not be “experts” on this, the assignment forces them to do a bit of reading and research, and they present their views on their particular topic, and how it will affect the firm, to the rest of the group. This forms the basis for discussion on the business environment and also for the identification of strengths and weaknesses. While most organizations do not find the identification of opportunities in the environment an impossible task, the reaction, once having done this, is so often one of, “So what?” The Threat Matrix offers a simple but powerful way of classifying and managing threats. To use it, the planning team simply needs to consider each of the threats identified, and place them on the grid in the appropriate cell, evaluating each threat in terms of its severity and probability of occurrence. A serious threat is one, that if it materialised, could seriously hurt the company, and if it had a higher likelihood of occurrence would be placed in the upper left quadrant. It would have to be constantly managed and contingency plans would probably be developed. A threat with low likelihood, and not very serious, placed in the bottom right cell, could even be acknowledged and ignored. Threats in the other two quadrant could be monitored in terms of their movement along the axes. THREAT MATRIX P R O B A B I L I T Y High Low SEVERITY High Low
  • 5. Just as a planning team needs to consider the threats facing it, so too it must develop some facility or identifying, classifying and managing opportunities. Once again, an opportunity matrix, essentially similar to the threat matrix, except that it uses the dimension of attractiveness rather than severity, can be used, in very much the same way. Attractive, probable opportunities should be managed and exploited; less attractive, less likely ones ignored; and opportunities in on the bottom-left to top-right diagonal monitored for shifts in position. An opportunity matrix is illustrated below: OPPORTUNITY MATRIX P R O B A B I L I T Y High Low High Low ATTRACTIVENESS Analysis of the Competitive Situation Any appraisal of the strategic and marketing situation must include an analysis of the competitive situation. Too often, unfortunately, managers and academics alike misuse the term "competitive advantage". The cliché has become used, and abused, to the extent that its true meaning has become unclear. An excellent, simple model for understanding exactly what competitive advantage is, and where it comes from is illustrated in the figure12.4 below. Figure 12.4 The Competitive Advantage Process Model * Superior Skills * Superior Resources * Lowest Cost * Product Differentiation * Customer Satisfaction * Customer Loyalty * Profitability * Market Share Investment in Resources Sources Positional Advantages Strategic Outcomes Briefly, what the process model tells us is as follows: Organizations only have two sources of competitive advantage (in fact if they had neither of these they would not exist for any length of time): They either have superior skills (knowledge; ability; know-how), or, they have superior resources (more money, more and better people, better plant, better facilities, better location, better information technology. Really fortunate organizations have both. These sources of competitive advantage are used to gain a position of advantage. This positional advantage, can be either the ability to be the lowest cost producer, or the ability to offer superior customer value. The ability to be the lowest cost producer means that the organization can command a pricing advantage (sell at a lower price than competitors, and make similar or higher margins). Or, the company can sell at the same price as competitors, and command higher margins. If the organization cannot command a position of lower cost, it must compete on the basis of offering superior customer value. It must differentiate its offering to the market in such a way that customers demand that offering and not others, and probably be prepared to pay more for it. This differentiation may take the form of better quality, more features, better service, longer warranty, great range, added
  • 6. convenience - whatever it is, it is something that makes the company's offering different from the offerings of its competitors. If the organization does command a positional advantage, a number of things will result, all of which should be important to management. The company will have satisfied customers - so satisfied in fact, that they will support the company loyally, and not drift off to its competitors. And, the company will be profitable, and maintain, and even increase its share of the market. Theoretically, the financial results of competitive advantage are then plowed back into what created it in the first place: superior skills, and/or superior resources. It is worthwhile considering that most organizations give much attention to outcomes such as market share and profitability, and less to satisfaction and loyalty. The reason is somewhat flawed when one considers that profitability and market share are transitory measures, taken at a point in time. Financial statements, for examples, are really a company's history, and say little of its strategic future. Measures of satisfaction and loyalty are undoubtedly more effective indicators of strategic health. Profit Margin example Looking at the earnings of a company often doesn't tell the entire story. Increased earnings are good, but an increase does not mean that the profit margin of a company is improving. For instance, if a company has costs that have increased at a greater rate than sales, it leads to a lower profit margin. This is an indication that costs need to be under better control. Imagine a company has a net income of $10 million from sales of $100 million, giving it a profit margin of 10% ($10 million/$100 million). If in the next year net income rose to $15 million on sales of $200 million, its profit margin would fall to 7.5%. So while the company increased its net income, it has done so with diminishing profit margins. Decision Support Systems � An information system � Purpose to provide information for making informed decisions Interactive (needed for experimenting and prospecting) Definitions of DSS � Gorry and Scott-Morton (1971): Management Decision Systems -- Interactive computer-based systems, which help decision makers utilize data and models to solve unstructured problems. � Keen and Scott-Morton (1978): Decision support systems couple the intellectual resources of individuals with the capabilities of the computer to improve the quality of decisions. It is a computer-based support system for management decision makers who deal with semi-structured problems. Basic themes of DSS � Information systems. � Used by managers. � Used in making decisions. � Used to support, not to replace people. � Used when the decision is "semistructured" or "unstructured." � Incorporate a database of some sort. � Incorporate models. DSS Benefits
  • 7. � Improving Personal Efficiency � Expediting Problem Solving � Fascilitating Interpersonal Communications � Promoting Learning or Training � Increasing Organizational Control DSS COMPONETS INFORMATION CHARACTERISTICS FOR DIFFERENT TYPES OF DECISIONS
  • 8. The DSS Hierarchy � Suggestion systems � Optimization systems � Representational models � Accounting models � Analysis information systems � Data analysis systems � File drawer systems File drawer systems � They are the simplest type of DSS � Can provide access to data items � Data is used to make a decision � ATM Machine � Use the balance to make transfer of funds decisions Data Analysis Systems � Provide access to data � Allows data manipulation capabilities � Airline Reservation system � No more seats available � Provide alternative flights you can use � Use the info to make flight plans Analysis Information Systems � Provide access to multiple data sources � Combines data from different sources � Allows data analysis capabilities � Compare growth in revenues to industry average- requires access to many sources � The characteristic of the recent “data warehouse” is similar Accounting models � Use internal accounting data � Provide accounting modeling capabilities � Can not handle uncertainty � Uses Bill of Material � Calculate production cost � Make pricing decisions Representational models � Can incorporate uncertainty � Uses models to solve decision problem using forecasts � Can be used to augment the capabilities of accounting models � Use the demand data to forecast next years demand � Use the results to make inventory decisions. Optimization systems � Used to estimate the effects of different decision alternative � Based on optimization models � Can incorporate uncertainty
  • 9. � Assign sales force to territory � Provide the best assignment schedule Suggestion systems � A descriptive model used to suggest to the decision maker the best action � A prescriptive model used to suggest to the decision maker the best action � May incorporate an Expert System � Applicant applies for personal loan � Use the system to recommend a decision DSS CATEGORIES � Support based DSS (Alter 1980) � Data-based DSS � Model-based DSS Management Information Systems Decision Support Systems Decision support provided Provide information about the performance of the organization Provide information and techniques to analyze specific problems Information form and frequency Periodic, exception, demand, and push reports and responses Interactive inquiries and responses Information format Prespecified, fixed format Ad hoc, flexible, and adaptable format Information processing methodology Information produced by extraction and manipulation of business data Information produced by analytical modeling of business data