End User Computing: The Dark Matter (and Dark Energy) of Corporate IT
End user computing (EUC) applications are like dark matter in physics. They are enormous in quantity and importance yet have been largely invisible to corporate IT departments, information systems researchers, and corporate management. EUC applications, especially spreadsheet applications, are also "dark" in the sense that they pose a number of overlooked risks for organizations, including errors, privacy violations, trade secret extrusions, and compliance violations. On the positive side, EUC applications are also like the dark energy of physics. They are bringing critical gains to decision making, operational systems, and other important processes to every corner of the firm. It is time to stop ignoring end user computing in general and spreadsheets in particular. One point to consider in particular is that we should only talk about development, regardless of whether the developer user a 3GL or 4GL.