User development of computer-based applications (UDA) is a new phenomenon in organizations, and can provide benefits for both users and for data processing departments. The benefits of UDA to DP departments are consi.dered in this paper. The UDA literature suggests that the DP departments can expect to receive two major types of benefits: the backlog of DP appl ication devel opment projects shoul d decrease, and the proportion of DP resources spent on application maintenance should be reduced. However, this study, which was carried out in ten 1 arge Canadian business fi rms, ,found that in no instances were these factors cited by senior.pP managers as primary success considerations. In most cases, these managers felt that UDA might have some effect on the amount of DP resources devoted to perfective maintenance or on the porti on of the backl og which consi sts of smaller, "one-shot" appl ications. However, in ng instances had the DP managers attempted to measure these factors. More importantly, the decrease of the appl ications backl og and the decrease of the maintenance load were not perceived by the DP executives as being important components of UDA success. Rather, these DP managers were mainly interested in being able to demonstrate that the appl ications devel oped by users are of demonstrabl e, tangi bl e benefit to the organization, and that the users themselves are satisfied with the UDA services made avail abl e to them via the DP department. These findings are summarized in Table 1. This study also found that the eval uation of the tangibl e benefits to be derived from UDA activities was a critical issue for DP managers. In the paper, a simple evaluation framework, derived from an earlier model by Keen, is proposed and illustrated with experiential data drawn from the companies studied. The framework is useful in explaining why some DP departments are successful in their evaluations .

Finally, an argument is presented that users themselves, not the DP department staf f, shoul d be hel d di rectly responsible for demonstrating that the appl ications they develop are cost beneficial to the firm. Implications of this argument include: (1) that DP departments charge users for the use of computing resources; (2) the proper rol e of the DP department in UDA eval uati on is that of advisor.