The Different Types of End User Computing
End User Computing (EUC) as a term is sometimes used interchangeably with other industry phrases, with them all essentially meaning the same thing. The purpose of this article is to explain the different names organizations use, provide further detail on what exactly EUC is and what End User Computing Tools are.
In essence all terms here are used to describe applications that allow people who are not software developers to ‘program’ computers. In simple terms, these applications fall outside of the scope of corporate IT departments within large organizations and allow users to action various tasks needed for their work.
Within our industry, we’ve heard companies use all types of different acronyms to describe EUC, below are the most common we’ve encountered:
- EUC – End User Computing
- BMA – Business Managed Applications
- EUDA – End User Developed Applications
- UDA – User Developed Applications
- BCUA – Business Critical User Applications
Broadly, the different types of End User Computing tools can be broken down into two categories:
- Computer-based information systems.
- Hardware and package applications.
Moving forward, the focus of this article will primarily be on the former category and what tools are available.
Computer-based Information Systems
This form of EUC refers to information systems within computers, for both personal and departmental use. There are many different forms this can take, we’ve outlined some of the most common below.
Excel is one of the most common examples of End User Computing software. It is used to manage and manipulate large volumes of data, with applications as varied as a user imagination. An accountant, for example, is able to use an Excel sheet to manage all the financial information within their company. It values lies in an easy user interface that eliminates the need for the ability to code and often becomes part of day-to-business process, from reporting results to tracking data over time etc.
4th Generation Languages
Fourth generation languages (4gls) are computer languages created to decrease the amount of time and effort programmers put into software development. They are also easier to use than older generations because English language is able to be inputted more frequently, including icons, graphics and symbols. A lot of 4gls are linked with databases and data processing, a lot of these data focused 4gls are based on Structured Query Language (SQL).
Business rules are used to present an organization’s policies, procedures and processes. Most commonly this is done within conditional statements either as text or a decision tree. For example, a decision tree can be used to visually outlay the options available to an employee if they are confronted by a particular issue. An EUC tool applied in this scenario would allow the user to create these information packages.
Within finance and many other industries, data and the analysis of this information is absolutely vital to creating a functioning, profitable business. EUC tools within this area refers to tools that let the user comprehend all the numbers and process them, this extends to the ability to build dashboards and reports.
Within computer programming, a script is a sequence of instructions that are automated and carried out by another programme. This leaves the User with less steps to follow to complete a task because they run a script as opposed to completing all the steps that the script is automated to do. Within the context of EUC, office productivity suites offer multiple script options, with variables that the end-user can set themselves.
A bot is effectively a robot that doesn’t exist physically. The levels of sophistication can vary dramatically from automating repetitive tasks to hugely developed systems verging on the territory of artificial intelligence. Applying this onto EUC, the application gives users the ability to automate tasks with bots, using only an interface.
A skin is a bespoke interface for either a device, service or product. Changing a skin will have a huge impact on both the aesthetics of a product and the way it functions. Sometimes a skin is also referred to as a theme, particularly in the case of online Content Management Systems – think WordPress and similar. Management of skins within EUC gives the user a toolkit for updating and customizing the skin themselves, without serious dev time.
Fifth Generation Languages
This is a programming language built to solve issues within the parameters of what has been given to it. The purpose of 5th generation languages was to remove a programmer from the process, letting the computer solve the issue itself. In doing this, the End User can concentrate on the strategy of what problems need to be fixed and how these conditions will be satisfied. The computer then works out the solutions. A common example of this is ICAD, seen throughout the industry in many different applications.
AI can be hugely beneficial to End Users, and will only become more so as we move into the future. Effectively, given the correct data to train itself with, AI can be trained to resolve particular issues that an End User could be coming across regularly.
Often the unsung hero of many businesses amongst niche users, Access Database is a proven and powerful platform that allows users to manage large amounts of data. With referencing, reporting and analysis capabilities incorporated in a graphical interface it gives users access to large data sets in a digestible form.
End User Computing tools vary greatly depending on the needs of the users/organization that is using them. It is a broad topic that covers AI and robotics to data analytics & visualization tools including Access Databases & Excel Spreadsheets. Managing these types of applications is what we specialize in at ClusterSeven. If you’d like to find out more about our End User Computing tools and strategies to minimize your operational, commercial and reputational risk within your organization, please contact us today.
September 27, 2017
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