A computer-based DSS for funds management in a large state university environment

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University


The comprehensive computerized decision support system developed in this research employs two techniques, computer modeling and goal programming, to assist top university financial officers in assessing the current status of funds sources and uses. The purpose of the DSS is to aid in reaching decisions concerning proposed projects, and to allocate funds from sources to uses on an aggregate basis according to a rational set of prescribed procedures.

The computer model provides fast and easy access to the database and it permits the administrator to update the database as new information is received. Goal programming is used for modeling the allocation process since it provides a framework for the inclusion of multiple goals that may be conflicting and incommensurable. The goal programming model allocates funds from sources to uses based on a priority structure associated with the goals.

The DSS, which runs interactively, performs a number of tasks that include: selection of model parameters, formulating goals and priority structure, and solving the GP model. It also provides on-line access to the database so that it may be updated as necessary. In addition, the DSS generates reports regarding funds allocation and goal achievements to allow analysis of the model results. The decision support system also provides a framework for experimentation with various goal and priority structures, thus facilitating what-if analyses. The user can also perform a sensitivity analysis by observing the effect of assigning different relative importance to a goal or set of goals.