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Executive Decision Support System (EDSS)

The Challenge

The Pacific Air Forces (PACAF) Commander directed the Deputy Chief of Staff Comptroller to develop and administer a system for tracking the performance of the various programs PACAF manages. This program management system required the ability to access critical command information in a timely manner and provide accurate, reliable, and consistent data for use in command resource decisions. The system needed to present this data in a format that could be easily aggregated and summarized, and was expected to highlight or identify key command processes in need of improvement.

The Solution

Working closely with PACAF staffers, CTA Development designed and implemented the Executive Decision Support System (EDSS). EDSS focuses on presenting the most critical data to the PACAF Commander by condensing, consolidating, and prioritizing performance data collected from various organizations into useful information and intuitive presentation formats such as line and bar charts. The system also provides current status, trend, and forecast of critical command facts as well as plans of action to achieve command goals. The system can be easily customized to ensure that the information meets the priorities and expectations of the PACAF Commander.

Running on a Windows 2000 Server, all data is stored in a single SQL Server 2000 database that can be replicated to multiple sites throughout the Pacific. The system uses 40 related tables, approximately normalized to 3rd normal form for performance and coding convenience. Extensive audit trails were designed using SQL Server triggers to audit all modification activity. A key benefit to PACAF of using SQL Server 2000 is its support for user-defined functions, a feature that saved CTA Development many hours of back-end development time.

The solution was architected to scale to multiple sites, providing a wide view of any command-specific measure. The application is secured using an interesting combination of Windows NT based authentication and forms authentication that depends on the user's IP address. XSL stylesheets are used to generate HTML and client side script, providing a rich client interface. XMLHTTP is also used extensively to give the application behavior that is more akin to a desktop application than a web application.

Microsoft Office Web Components (MSOWC) was leveraged for all charting capabilities. The ability to bind an XML recordset to an Excel chart allows PACAF to very quickly build client-centric charts making adding additional charts "painless." Furthermore, since all processing is done on the client machine, the performance of these charts is unmatched by any other Web technology.

Solution Profile

EDSS is a web based decision support system that aggregates and presents data collected from a variety of sources into useful information for PACAF decision makers.

Solution Benefits

  • Condenses, consolidates, and prioritizes data into useful information and data presentation formats
  • Provides current status, trend, and forecast of critical enterprise facts
  • Provides plans of action focused on achieving enterprise goals
  • Provides the ability to adapt and change to ensure that the information priorities and expectations of upper management are met

Software and Services

Microsoft Windows 2000 Server
Microsoft SQL Server 2000
Microsoft Office Web Components