The solution of applied problems of management activity requires fresh approaches to the research and information supply and necessary methodic, program-instrumented and technical means. An effective form of these means integration is the situational centers (SC), which provide qualitative training, analysis, discussion and collective managerial decisions making owing to the conjunctive use of modern information display and processing soft- and hardware and find wider and wider application in the state and corporate bodies as an instrument of management activity support.
It conditions a wide introduction of situational centers into the state and corporate governance practice. Currently, the governmental authorities´ analytical situational centers system is being developed: from the situational center of the Russian Federation President (SC RP) up to situational centers of Ministries, Agencies and Regulatory Bodies of the RF subjects.
The state administration bodies´ development trends in our country and also the extensive world experience allow forecasting a substantial increase of the situational centers number and functional capabilities created, first of all, on behalf of Ministries´ and Agencies´ leaders, the RF territorial subjects´ headmen, and also large-scale concerns´ and organizations´ directors in 2008-2010.
The adequate use of situational centers is possible only when leaders, managers and most of government employees taking part in the preparation of analytical and forecast materials will present the research and information capabilities of the situational centers fully enough.
The judgement training is a modern and topical direction in the general professional and extended education. The training of managerial personnel and all level managers is impossible without this kind of educational activity. The managerial decisions (especially team decisions on complex multi-factor problems) are made in the environment of the situational center with the use of intellectual information-and-communication technologies (ICT).
The use of SC is a new instrument for teaching. An individual training of specialists in some cases is less beneficial economically than collective training in an SC. In this connection there appears a need for the educational direction SC organization, inclusive of those on the basis of educational institutions. Thereat, the SC educational direction sets before the designers and teachers a series of absolutely new problems, such as the development of didactic foundations and technical approaches to the use of computer-aided design means, expert systems and multimedia at the formation of team decision making skills at an SC. It is connected with the act that there are very few situational centers meant for the educational process running in the country, and their work experience is little. It is explained by the expensiveness of the SC technological and software environment and the lack of organizational, methodical and didactical developments for the SC use in the educational process.
The use of the idea "training situational center" or "educational situational center" (ESC) in connection with a few number of the SC used in the educational process requires separate consideration. In the SC definitions available the activity aspect generally pales into insignificance, making room for the technological one. The following, for example, can be quoted as a typical definition: "The aggregate of soft- and hardware means, scientific-mathematical methods and engineering decisions for the mapping and modeling process automation, case and administration analysis".
There are, at least, two approaches to the definition of the idea "training SC" or "educational SC". On the one hand, the ESC - is the means of team training of a great number of specialists able to work in the collective regime (on the solution of a general problem with due account of possible influences of their solutions on the colleagues´ activity) under the condition of impossibility or economic unprofitability of individual training (at separate working places). In this context the educational function of the SC adds up to the training of the personnel itself of the present or future SC. On the other hand, the ESC - is a modern instrument to support active, activity- and medium-oriented kinds of education on the problems invoking powerful enough (in particular, intellectual, analytical) information-and-communication technologies.
At the present time there is no fully formed and approved ESC structure, but its technical component (audiovisual and communicative equipment) and also some technologies of situation analysis and modeling are used in education. Besides, there is a relatively small SC group, which can work in the educational regime.
One can mark out five basic characteristics distinguishing SC from other decision-making support and corporate information collection and registration systems, which are customary to be called the enterprise management systems; all these features are necessary to be taken into account and exercise actively in the real educational process in the ESC environment.
- The assignation of generalized information to the users, the opportunity of aggregated data analysis.
- The availability of forecasting means and means of detecting development trends of the investigated phenomenon or process. There are about 200 various forecasting algorithms, and it is necessary to develop complementary mechanisms, which will show if the given algorithm can work in the concrete situation.
- Situational (dynamical) modeling as an opportunity to get an answer to the question "what if". While forecasting allows getting the development scenario based on the current situation analysis, modeling allows perturbing and defining probable consequences connected with the beginning of this or that event.
- The formation of recommendations for choosing one from many alternate solutions. The best solution search algorithms - are complex computational problems, so the problem is usually localized, and then the best solution for a certain set of conditions is being found.
- The opportunity of carrying out risk assessments, when estimating forecast implementation chances. These calculations are based on a special branch of mathematics - actuarial mathematics.
- Manushin A.E., Mitin A.I. Educational situational center as the environment for teaching team decision making: Methodological recommendations for the system of managerial staff professional development and advanced training - M.: RACC Publishing House, 2007, p.46.
- Research and Practice Conference "Situational Centers - decisions and problems. Expert view", October 30-31, 2002: Speech theses - М.: Polymedia, 2002.
The work was submitted to international scientific conference «Prospects for the development of university science», Dagomys (Sochi), 20-23 September 2008, came to the editorial office on 01.08.2008.