Decision-making software

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Decision-making software (DM software) is software for computer applications that help individuals and organisations make choices and take decisions, typically by ranking, prioritizing or choosing from a number of options.

An early example of DM software was described in 1973.[1][2] Before the advent of the World Wide Web, most DM software was spreadsheet-based,[2] with the first web-based DM software appearing in the mid-1990s.[3] Nowadays, many DM software products (mostly web-based) are available[4][5][6] – e.g. see the comparison table below.

Most DM software focuses on ranking, prioritizing or choosing from among alternatives characterized on multiple criteria or attributes.[4] Thus most DM software is based on decision analysis, usually multi-criteria decision-making, and so is often referred to as "decision analysis"[5] or "multi-criteria decision-making"[4] software – commonly shortened to "decision-making software". Some decision support systems include a DM software component.


DM software can assist decision-makers “at various stages of the decision-making process, including problem exploration and formulation, identification of decision alternatives and solution constraints, structuring of preferences, and tradeoff judgements.”[4]

The purpose of DM software is to support the analysis involved at these various stages of the decision-making process, not to replace it. DM software "should be used to support the process, not as the driving or dominating force."[7]

DM software frees users "from the technical implementation details [of the decision-making method employed], allowing them to focus on the fundamental value judgements".[7] Nonetheless, DM software should not be employed blindly. "Before using a software, it is necessary to have a sound knowledge of the adopted methodology and of the decision problem at hand."[8]

Methods and features[edit]

Decision-making methods[edit]

As mentioned earlier, most DM software is based on multi-criteria decision making (MCDM). MCDM involves evaluating and combining alternatives' characteristics on two or more criteria or attributes in order to rank, prioritize or choose from among the alternatives.[9]

DM software employs a variety of MCDM methods;[7] popular examples include:

There are significant differences between these methods[7][9] and, accordingly, the DM software implementing them. Such differences include:

  1. The extent to which the decision problem is broken into a hierarchy of sub-problems;
  2. Whether or not pairwise comparisons of alternatives and/or criteria are used to elicit decision-makers' preferences;
  3. The use of interval scale or ratio scale measurements of decision-makers' preferences;
  4. The number of criteria included;
  5. The number of alternatives evaluated, ranging from a few (finite) to infinite;
  6. The extent to which numerical scores are used to value and/or rank alternatives;
  7. The extent to which incomplete rankings (relative to complete rankings) of alternatives are produced;
  8. The extent to which uncertainty is modeled and analyzed.

Software features[edit]

In the process of helping decision-makers to rank, prioritize or choose from among alternatives, DM software products often include a variety of features and tools;[3][4] common examples include:

Comparison of decision-making software[edit]

DM software includes the following notable examples.

Software Supported MCDA Methods Pairwise Comparison Sensitivity Analysis Group Evaluation Web-based
1000minds PAPRIKA Yes Yes Yes Yes [4][5]
Ahoona WSM, Utility No No Yes Yes [10]
Altova MetaTeam WSM No No Yes Yes [citation needed]
Analytica No Yes No Yes [4][5]
Criterium DecisionPlus AHP, SMART Yes Yes No No [4]
D-Sight PROMETHEE, UTILITY Yes Yes Yes Yes [4][5]
DecideIT MAUT Yes Yes Yes Yes [4][5]
Decision Lens AHP, ANP Yes Yes Yes Yes [citation needed]
Expert Choice AHP Yes Yes Yes Yes [4][5]
Hiview3 No Yes Yes No [4][5]
Intelligent Decision System Evidential Reasoning Approach, Bayesian Inference, Dempster–Shafer theory, Utility Yes Yes Yes Available on request [5]
Logical Decisions AHP Yes Yes Yes No [4][5]
PriEsT AHP Yes Yes No No [11]
Super Decisions AHP, Analytic Network Process Yes Yes No Yes [12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Dyer, JS (1973), "A time-sharing computer program for the solution of the multiple criteria problem", Management Science, 19: 1379-83.
  2. ^ a b Wallenius, J, Dyer, JS, Fishburn, PC, Steuer, RE, Zionts, S and Deb, K (1992), "Multiple criteria decision making, multiattribute utility theory: The next ten years", Management Science, 38: 645-54.
  3. ^ a b Koksalan, M, Wallenius, J, and Zionts, S, Multiple Criteria Decision Making: From Early History to the 21st Century, World Scientific Publishing: Singapore, 2011.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Weistroffer, HR, and Li, Y, "Multiple criteria decision analysis software", Ch 29 in: Greco, S, Ehrgott, M and Figueira, J, eds, Multiple Criteria Decision Analysis: State of the Art Surveys Series, Springer: New York, 2016.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Oleson, S (2016), "Decision analysis software survey", OR/MS Today 43(5).
  6. ^ Ishizaka, A.; Nemery, P. (2013). Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis. doi:10.1002/9781118644898. ISBN 9781118644898.
  7. ^ a b c d Belton, V, and Stewart, TJ, Multiple Criteria Decision Analysis: An Integrated Approach, Kluwer: Boston, 2002.
  8. ^ Figueira, J, Greco, S and Ehrgott, M, "Introduction", Ch 1 in: Figueira, J, Greco, S and Ehrgott, M, eds, Multiple Criteria Decision Analysis: State of the Art Surveys Series, Springer: New York, 2005.
  9. ^ a b Wallenius, J, Dyer, JS, Fishburn, PC, Steuer, RE, Zionts, S and Deb, K (2008), "Multiple criteria decision making, multiattribute utility theory: Recent accomplishments and what lies ahead", Management Science 54: 1336-49.
  10. ^
  11. ^ Siraj, S., Mikhailov, L. and Keane, J. A. (2013), "PriEsT: an interactive decision support tool to estimate priorities from pairwise comparison judgments". International Transactions in Operational Research. doi: 10.1111/itor.12054
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