Information Systems Development

This chapter focuses on the concepts surrounding the development of information systems. It begins with a discussion of software development methodologies, then covers programming languages and tools, and finishes with a review of implementation methodologies. As you read, reflect upon all the different pieces that must come together in order for a system to be developed.

End-User Computing (EUC)

In many organizations application development is not limited to the programmers and analysts in the information technology department. Especially in larger organizations, other departments develop their own department-specific applications. The people who build these applications are not necessarily trained in programming or application development, but they tend to be adept with computers. A person who is skilled in a particular program, such as a spreadsheet or database package, may be called upon to build smaller applications for use by their own department. This phenomenon is referred to as end-user development, or end-user computing.

End-user computing can have many advantages for an organization. First, it brings the development of applications closer to those who will use them. Because IT departments are sometimes backlogged, it also provides a means to have software created more quickly. Many organizations encourage end-user computing to reduce the strain on the IT department.

End-user computing does have its disadvantages as well. If departments within an organization are developing their own applications, the organization may end up with several applications that perform similar functions, which is inefficient, since it is a duplication of effort. Sometimes these different versions of the same application end up providing different results, bringing confusion when departments interact. End-user applications are often developed by someone with little or no formal training in programming. In these cases, the software developed can have problems that then have to be resolved by the IT department.

End-user computing can be beneficial to an organization provided it is managed. The IT department should set guidelines and provide tools for the departments who want to create their own solutions. Communication between departments can go a long way towards successful use of end-user computing.