End user computing

End use computing is a general term that roughly means non IS professionals solving business issues with computing without involving the IS department, or IS specialists much.

Most spreadsheet development probably falls within this, but so too does a bunch of other stuff like Access databases, many intranet sites, maybe even some .net/java development in some orgs.

The IS department is typically responsible for desktop install and configuration, network stuff, and most server based stuff, as well as lots of other things.

Consider the whole data processing that an average, or one particular org, does from initial transaction through to all the final reporting. On average what do you think are the relevant proportions in these categories:

  1. Spreadsheets
  2. Other End user computing
  3. IS managed systems

I would base my estimate on an estimate of headcount in IS v headcount in finance and marketing etc. This is pretty much a guess then:

  1. s/s 50%
  2. Other EUC 20%
  3. IS 30%

So I reckon that EUC makes up the majority of information manipulation in many orgs, and that overall there is more logic tied up in s/s than in IS manged systems. What do you think?

One thing I wonder is are younger companies, with no mainframes different? Or what about IT companies? I think they maybe have more IS controlled/managed stuff?

I’m not sure we can be too precise on the definitions, so feel free to describe your own along with your estimate.



One Response to “End user computing”

  1. Marcus Says:

    Hi Simon,

    In banking and finance, where I spend most of my time, I’ve noticed an interesting trend: EUC is increasing. This is anecdotal, so I don’t have any hard figures.

    In the lat few years, I’ve had an increasing number of requests for solutions which wont involve the IT department. This sentiment appears to be a combination of budget, control, comfort/familiarity (with the technology) and having been burnt by their own IT in prior projects. One business manager put it this way: If we go to IT, they’ll build us a semi-trailer. We just want a Vespa.

    Even for IS managed systems, the business still likes a sense of control. So in a BI implementation, the business always wants to be able to export to Excel.

    “more logic tied up in s/s than in IS managed systems”
    It wouldn’t surprise me. A scan of one business unit’s file server found 463 mdb files and 7,604 spreadsheets. A ratio of 16 to 1. Most of these s/s are fairly simple but there are some monsters out there. One ‘suite’ of spreadsheets and databases had some 40 KLOC.

    Complexity is also increasing. Home grown s/s models used to very trivial. End users are now developing more sophisticated models. I’ve had a couple of financial analysts comment that they were expected to have a basic knowledge of VBA. However, the models are still a far cry from what you’d expect from a professional developer.

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