End User Computing Czar

One of my firmly held spreadsheet quality views is that companies could benefit from a single point of focus for their End user computing.

That could be a person or a department, but lets start with a person. Their role would be to educate and support and where necessary force compliance with quality/control standards.

I think this role kind of exists in many small to medium companies in the shape of the Office expert – to whom everyone turns when they have a problem.

Larger orgs may have information protection czars, and or network czars, database czars, desktop build czars. In short they have a person or a department specifically responsible for every significant part of the IT infrastructure except the most important – the End User Computing jungle.

Does anyone know of any companies that do have a head of EUC or something similar on an equivalent level to the boss of networking, or client apps or whatever? Ie a senior role at or just below board level. No need to mention the co name, just a yes I have seen it or a no never.

How was it structured? did they report through IT/IS or finance or another user department or what?

I think organisations are realising what a mess their EUC resources are, but I don’t see much sign of the most obvious way to manage them – assign a manager!

do you see it?

Is it just too politically hard to work across deportments in the way this would need to succeed?



6 Responses to “End User Computing Czar”

  1. Harlan Grove Says:

    Don’t take this the wrong way. Where I work – a global 500 financial services company – IT/IS has been outsourced for more than 6 years as of today. I have little doubt senior management would view an end user computing czar in the same way they’d view an office equipment czar in charge of stapler usage, copier policy, black/red/blue ink ergonomics, etc. IOW, a waste of money.

    Putting it bluntly, what would be the MEASURABLE benefits of an EUC czar? I don’t need much convincing myself, but I’m playing Devil’s advocate and saying it’s not immediately obvious. Convince me.

    Also, take the example case of the Barclays (?) error of a few months ago in which formatting fubarred the analysis. How would an EUC czar prevent errors under extremely tight deadlines? IMO, when deadlines are very tight, people are going to screw up no matter how much compliance infrastructure is in place to prevent screw ups.

  2. Gordon Says:

    As Harlan says, the trick is proving that value is added by the role. When a company often gets 50-90% of the benefit for “free” from the office expert, why pay extra for it?

    This of course assumes that management can even understand what someone who can “join the IT dots” can bring to the party. Someone who can sit in on a high-level management meeting and chip in with a solution that may be orders of magnitude simpler and cheaper than was being assumed, just because they understand the technologies involved and can see how they may be best leveraged. Someone who can see the person struggling for 2-3 days with a monthly report and give them an equivalent that gets the job done in 5 minutes. Someone who knows that creating yet *another* spreadsheet is rarely the answer to a department’s problems, and can suggest an alternative.

    I’ve been that person for years and my management know the value I add, but it is still hard to quantify the benefits in all situations, especially when it comes to justifying a budget to head office where such a person/role may not exist.

  3. Bob Phillips Says:

    Hey Simon, what a great idea. But let’s not stop there, let’s appoint a Risk czar, who will look across the organisation (read bank) and make sure that the risk is well understood, well controlled, and can be financed.


  4. david000 Says:

    Putt’s Law —

    “Technology is dominated by two types of people: those who understand what they do not manage, and those who manage what they do not understand.”

  5. Rob Bruce Says:

    This is interesting: http://blogs.harvardbusiness.org/now-new-next/2009/03/the-high-priests-of-it.html

  6. The Man Says:

    I work for a professional service organization on the fortune global 500 list. We have recently consolidated various business function IT teams into a single global IT organization. The gap that exists without an EUC czar is more evident than ever because the opportunity is there to focus more on the overall end-to-end experience instead of just the technology silos of applications and service.

    One of the biggest challenges for an enterprise organization, is that the leadership in EUC does have tangible benefits; however, excellence in that area takes time and investment. Gordon notes the challenge of demonstrating value, and I agree; however, it isn’t that the value is not there. The problem just need to be big enough to make it worth it.

    We have a semi-managed global applications portfolio of over a hundred applications. It would be impossible for an EUC czar oversea every enhancement, change and request for an existing or new app. What they need to do is provide guidance and direction on: consistent UI, defining performance metric standards, looking for dependencies on services and the affects of changes have on apps and vice-versa.

    When the company is 50 users and you’ve got one IT manager with a co-op student a EUC czar might not make sense. When you’ve got a 200k+ user environment, with a rather sizable IT organization it isn’t so much about making sense out of the role, it is whether someone has the stomach to actually take on this role and drive it to succeed.

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