The trends towards distributed data processing and end user development can have significant effect on the structure and operation of Information Technology in an organisation. Although the underlying trends and advantages are favourable, managers have to aware of potential problems. What problems would you envisage arising as a result of widespread end-user computing and how might such problems be avoided?

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a) Problems arising as a result of widespread end user computing and how they might be avoided.
Distributed systems refers to several interconnected processors situated in separate localities where each processor has its own local peripherals for example, disc storage and terminals. Each processor acts automatically but at other times can co-operate in handling a common problem. Distributed processing gives end users control and responsibility for their own data.

End user computing refers to direct hands on use of computers users – not indirect use through systems professionals or data processing staff. End users include executive managers, professional staff, secretaries, office workers, etc.

Problems arising as a result of widespread end user computing include:
1) Lack of user education about personal computing.
2) User requests for assistance that overwhelm the IT department.
3) Lack of users knowledge or concern about microcomputer control measures such as fire back up.
4) Lack of integration in the micro-mainframe data exchange and control.
5) Poor maintainability of user developed systems.
6) Mismatching of user problems and computer alternatives for system development.
7) Lack of centralised management of corporate data resources that support personal computing.
8) Lack of user concern about equipment security.
9) Lack of user friendly mainframe software to compete with micro computers.

However, these problems can be overcome through: –
1) Institution of physical and logical access controls to systems such that only legitimate users use the systems.

2) Proper training of staff or users.
3) Proper system administration especially the IT department.
4) Providing support functions such as the information resource centres user groups.
5) Proper system documentation.

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