Decision Support and Expert Systems (mis 538)




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Penn State-Great Valley

Master of Management

Decision Support and Expert Systems (MIS 538)

*Experiential Exercises*




Copyright 1997 by

Eric W. Stein, Ph.D.




Table of Contents



Decision Support and Expert Systems (MIS 538) 3

1.1 Identifying opportunities for expert systems 5

1.2 Justifying expert systems 9

1.3 How to Develop Expert Systems in Organizations 15

2.1 Mapping a classification type of problem 19

2.2 Methods of inference and problem solving 24

2.3 Identifying Sources of knowledge in organizations 30

2.4 dealing with uncertainty in expert systems 32

3.1 Validation of Expert Systems 37

3.2 Maintaining expert systems 41



1.1 Identifying opportunities for expert systems

Purpose


To identify opportunities for expert system development using different methods.

Advance Preparation


Read "Core Competence of Firm" (HBR).

Review material on competitive strategy and advantage (e.g., by Michael Porter).

Group Size


Groups of 5-7 people.

Time Required


75 minutes

Introduction


Selecting an area for expert systems development is a critical and difficult process. There are at several ways to approach this task: (i) Search for problems in the organization and identify ways expert systems can solve those problems; (ii) Use a strategic framework such as Porter's and identify opportunities for expert systems; (iii) use a core competence approach as given in the HBR article by Prahalad and Hamel. The purpose of this exercise is to gain experience with each one of these approaches, and then to evaluate the potential applications using a checklist.

Procedure



Step 1 (10 minutes)

Discuss major ideas competitive strategy, core competence, and other frameworks. When ready, break into groups.

Step 2 (15 minutes)

For one member of the group, discuss problems the firm is having and suggest ways expert systems might be applied to solve the problems.

Competitive Advantage Approach (optional)


Step 3 (15 minutes)

For the same member (or another member of the group), apply the ideas of Porter's framework to identify areas that an expert system might provide competitive advantage.

Core Competence Approach


Step 4 (15 minutes)

For the same member (or another member of the group), articulate the core competencies of the organization. What role can an expert system serve in preserving these core competencies? What are the advantages of doing so?

Checklist Approach


Step 5 (10 minutes)

Review the Hazardous Waste problem being done in groups. Use the checklist (see attached) to evaluate it.

Step 6 (10 minutes)

Select the most promising projects identified above (steps 1-4) by using a checklist (see attached). What are the top 2-3 projects? Why?

Discussion Questions


What do you think of the approaches? What have you learned?


Expert System Checklist 1


Criteria

YES √

Notes

TYPE OF PROBLEM?









Time dependent rules








Expert System Checklist 2


Criteria

YES √

Notes

TYPE OF PROBLEM?







Narrow (vs. broad)







Classification Type







Construction Type







SOURCES OF KNOWLEDGE







One human expert







Several experts







Text source







Flow diagram







Based on examples







SIZE OF PROJECT







Small single user station







Distributed network system







OVERALL VALUE







Internal cost savings







Speeds up work







Improves decision making







Creates new products/services







Preserves company know-how







USER CONCERNS







Perceived need







Availability of H/W







Explanation required







Accuracy and speed required







Motivation to use







Training issues resolved







MANAGEMENT CONCERNS







Financial justification







Senior management support







High Assigned priority







Match with culture?







DID YOU AVOID:







Common sense reasoning







Analogies







Perceptual expertise







Volatile expertise







Experts disagree







Spatial reasoning







Time dependent rules









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