An effective Decision Support System (DSS) should help its users improve decision making in complex, information-rich environments. We present a feature gap analysis that shows that current decision support technologies lack important qualities for a new generation of agile business models that require easy, temporary integration across organisational boundaries. We enumerate these qualities as DSS Desiderata, properties that can contribute both effectiveness and flexibility to users in such environments. To address this gap, we describe a new design approach that enables users to compose decision behaviours from separate, configurable components, and allows dynamic construction of analysis and modelling tools from small, single-purpose evaluator services. The result is what we call an ‘evaluator service network’ that can easily be configured to test hypotheses and analyse the impact of various choices for elements of decision processes. We have implemented and tested this design in an interactive version of the MinneTAC trading agent, an agent designed for the Trading Agent Competition for Supply Chain Management.

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Keywords business networks, decision support systems, human-agent interaction, intelligent agents, service composition
JEL Forecasting and Other Model Applications (jel C53), Optimization Techniques; Programming Models; Dynamic Analysis (jel C61), Information and Product Quality; Standardization and Compatibility (jel L15), Firm Organization and Market Structure: Markets vs. Hierarchies; Vertical Integration; Conglomerates (jel L22), Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting (jel M), Management of Technological Innovation and R&D (jel O32)
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Series ERIM Top-Core Articles
Journal European Journal of Information Systems
Collins, J, Ketter, W, & Gini, M. (2010). Flexible decision support in dynamic inter-organisational networks. European Journal of Information Systems, 19(4), 436–448. doi:10.1057/ejis.2010.24