In order to assess the state and direction of end user computing in the St. Louis corporate environment, nineteen IS directors or managers and sixty-seven end users in twenty separate locations were interviewed from December 1982 to March 1983. The end users interviewed represented al 1 level s of corporate management and fifteen different departmental environments. However, fully forty percent of them were from the area of finance and accounting. The end users were fairly evenly divided between those using mainframe resources and those using microcomputers. The findings of the study can be described in the following categories: Historv and Growth Patterns Though end user computing for other than scientific and engineering applications was in its infancy, there were signs of growth. This growth was both speeded up and complicated by the introduction of microcomputers. Apol ications -- Those using mainframe software primarily used appl ications rel ating to data capture, query, and retrieval, while those using micros primarily did analytical applications such as Proj ecti ons, model s, and other 'what if' procedures. Micro users tended to devel op almost twice the appl ications of mai nframe users. Microcomputer Cost Justi fication Micro users were able to demonstrate some dramatic productivity increases and cost savings. Perceived Problems End users were loath to document, backup, and provide adequate security for the applications they devel oped. Few of them had become "programmers" but some of them feared that being identified as a computer user could damage their careers. Support and Training Most of the companies had or were developing significant support and training for mainframe oriented end users. But a lack of coherent policy concerning micros meant that little if any support or training was avail abl e for those using them. While .most of those using mainframe resources had significant training, well over twothi rds of micro users were essentially self trained. The end users suggested a wide variety of needed training. For themsel ves they sought advanced skills in appl ication development as well as orientation to the use and selection· of software and training in database and communications technol ogy. They al so sought tral ni ng for other managers, especially top management, in the capabilities, limitations, and importance of computer technology. Five critical issues in the development of end user computing were identified: 1) How can the security of corporate data and the integrity of computer reports be protected in an end user environment without stifling the benefits? 2) How and in what ci rcumstances can and shoul d corporate databases be made accessi bl e to microcomputer users? 3) What kind of educati on do end users need and who will provide it? 4) What is the role of information services in a growing end user environment? 5) How will top management be enabled and encouraged to make those decisions needed to ensure that the new and powerful tool s now avail able and coming quickly over the horizon will be used to revolutionize the productivity and not the stability of the corporation?
Benson, David H., "A Field Study of End User Camputing Findings and Issues" (1983). ICIS 1983 Proceedings. 22.