Journal of Management Information Systems

Volume 2 Number 1 1985 pp. 5-17

Justifying Decision Support and Office Automation Systems

Gremillion, Lee L and Pyburn, Philip J

ABSTRACT: Numerous articles suggest that DSS and office automation can provide substantial improvement in managerial and professional productivity. In spite of the intuitive appeal of these arguments, however, many firms find that the uncertainty of a solid, measurable payoff makes it hard to justify major investments. As a result, some managers have given up trying to evaluate the benefits of these systems, and they now make the investment decision "on faith"—losing in the process any form of real accountability. By evaluating DSS and OA development projects in the aggregate, however, some of these justification problems can be minimized. While we may not be able to identify the specific benefits generated by an individual system, we can often measure the overall productivity improvements attributable to the portfolio of systems. At the same time, we can hold managers accountable for achieving a return that justifies the total investment.

Key words and phrases: decision support systems, office automation, cost-benefit analysis, portfolio approach, project management