A web-based decision support system provides users with access to knowledge, data analysis tools, business information, and simulation programs via a web browser. Companies that have separate offices that can be spread around the world, or that have employees working outside the office can use the decision support system (DSS) as if they were in the building. The DSS can provide an electronic warehouse for documents that business managers can use in planning and making business decisions. It also enables communications by means such as video conferencing, data retrieval, and financial modeling.
Web-based DSS applications are stored on a server, which is linked to the corporate network. Depending on the application, it can allow for communications between corporate offices or between offices and stakeholders, suppliers, and other parties in the field. Bulletin boards of information can be posted online and someone in the company can look up the information just by logging onto a secure site. A web-based decision support system can also be based on data, with tools for searching for and retrieving information that is important to a given project. The analysis of historical data related to business trends and sales can be done quickly through an online portal.
Decision support is also aided by modeling systems, which are often used to access and analyze financial data. These data can be organized into spreadsheets and charts designed into the DSS program. The web-based decision support system can be organized to perform specialized functions, while knowledge-based systems can divided up information for access by experts with experience in a certain discipline. There are many different kinds of DSS software, differentiated based on the kind of data that is routinely handled. These programs can be custom-designed by software engineers for companies that need to have their information available online.
Based on the Internet or a corporate intranet or extranet, a web-based decision support system allows access to data, the analysis of complex information, and for communication. Issues with peak load, training tools, and browser compatibility sometimes have to be resolved when a web-based DSS is implemented. Systems for optimizing business decisions have existed since the 1960s and the many concepts for DSS have evolved continuously to include the technologies of the Internet. With web-based DSS, software does not have to be installed on individual computers, so the choice to switch to online decision support has been driven by economical choices by companies as well.