Sunday, November 15, 2009

Resolution Support System

What ever happened to Decision Support Systems? When I was in college, I had a professor who made it seem like the world would be running on DSSs by 2000.

Anyway, the reason I ask. I'm putting together a web site to support users of an in house piece of software and I wanted something more than a FAQ.

I have a script that is used by the help desk when they get a phone call and wanted to create it as a web page. Just a quick weekend project huh? Well I ended up searching for an existing template or even an example for 12 hours. (I'll bet someone replies with one within the hour).

Finally I sat down and tried to pick my brain about the basics of a DSS. In case you're wondering, it's really just one question leading to another until a reasonable answer is arrived at. I DID say basics didn't I?

The design ended up working out to be pretty easy. Questions are stored in XML files and served up in an HTML page. Possible answers are also shown. Each answer leads to another question. Answers are really just questions, because at the bottom I ask the user if they were able to solve their problem.

If a user cannot solve their problem, I end up sending an email to the help desk containing the questions the system already asked the user and their response.

6 hours of work and I've got a good foundation.

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