The modern world and our way of life are all about the decisions we make. Be it in our personal lives or in business, the choices we take can either lead us to prosperity or bring us to ruin. The problem is escalated not only by the fact that the number of decisions that we have to make has increased, but also by their increase in complexity. We have to take into account many variables and various, possibly long-term, effects on our business and life. Unfortunately the human brain cannot possibly wrap around this level of complexity and still make an informed decision. This is why we developed a web-based decision support system named ODESYS that augments the user's decision-making process.
Decision support systems (DSS) are nothing new. They have been around since the 1960's, with theoretical work dating back to the 1950's. Our approach was to apply the basic concepts that have been in use for more than 60 years to a web platform, using the latest available technologies in order to increase usability and availability.
We are continuously trying to develop a framework that helps the decision maker to make a better decision by seamlessly guiding him through the stages of the decision-making process while trying to get him to creatively think about the problem and come out with possible new alternatives and a more accurate model of the decision problem.
This is achieved by taking a user-centric approach to developing our application. ODESYS is asking the user questions about the decision problem in a form that is easily understandable. By using the answers to build the model, we are simplifying the interaction between the user and the tool. Furthermore all the evaluation is done in a similar fashion and the results are displayed in a graphical, easily comprehensible form.
Where ODESYS distances itself from traditional DSS even more is the social component. We utilize the power of social networking to increase ones insight into the decision problem being analyzed by inviting other people to look at it from an independent or unbiased point of view. Invited participants are able to view the user's decision model and alternatives and contribute by commenting on alternatives, the model or results. They are also able to suggest new unconsidered alternatives or suggest a change in user's preferences. The decision maker gains deeper insight into the problem which allows him to make an informed decision. However, he is still the one to decide and bear the consequences.
ODESYS may be used in the pedagogical process as an introduction to multi-criteria decision support and decision support systems.