Information Systems: The Advantages and Disadvantages of User-Controlled Computing

There are certain benefits to using User-Controlled Computing in the development of IS systems.  A few of them are:

  • Greater end-user satisfaction – the very people who design the applications is now using it, which eliminates any misconception about the task to be done.
  • U-CC enables the development of systems which might not otherwise have been developed.  It enables the fulfilling of some needs that probably would never have been satisfied through the traditional IT department.
  • Liberation scarce resources – It decreases the pressure of  the central IS development function, who is struggling to meet all the demands for new systems being generated in the typical business, and free up the specialist IS personnel to address those activities that EUC can not provide.
  • Reduces development backlog – it is speculated that development backlog correlates with the initial introduction of U-CC when increased IS awareness leads to more requests, and U-CC developments’ complexity level reaches the point where corporate IS must be involved.
  • Reduces time lag – It reduces the time elapsing between the problem identification stage and the IS resolution stage.
  • Suits task traditions – U-CC has lead organizations to become more task orientated (what needs to be achieved) and has leant increasingly toward decision-maker independence in organizations.
  • Encourages innovation – U-CC tends to decrease bureaucracy that was associated with corporate IS, which in effect promotes innovation.
  • Continuous development – it preserves all existing IS applications by continuously modifying and enhancing these to match organizational requirements.


From an organizational viewpoint there must also exist some disadvantages in the implementation of user-controlled computing.  The following is disadvantages of U-CC:

  • Duplication and of effort and data – when local systems are produced in each unit or department, the same data are held in different systems, they inevitably get out of synchronization .
  • Increased costs – One of the most expensive aspects of U-CC is the support costs associated with this IS management solution.  It is estimated that the purchase price of the necessary hardware and software for U-CC only accounts for a fraction of the total expenses, while support costs makes out the largest part of the total expenses.  The biggest disadvantage of this fact is that this cost increase happens irrespective of the success of U-CC. Expenditure can also soar from irrelevant usage, for instance where senior managers spend too much time developing systems which do not really need their know-how.
  • Data integrity concerns – The data integrity of U-CC systems is often questionable, since many applications are designed for data manipulation.  However, this is restricted to small group of users with technical solutions such as read-only files.
  • Questionable quality systems – This concern originates from the perception that end-users ignores security, back-up procedures and recovery.  They also ignores IT and corporate standards.
  • Lack of consistency – not many user developers appreciates the need for normalized databases or referential integrity.