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Raymond R. Panko & Daniel N. Port


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.


Errors found in spreadsheet inspections
Errors found in spreadsheet inspections

This table lists the error rates found in studies that inspected operational spreadsheets (many of these spreadsheets had been in use for some time). The inspection methods fell short of those seen in software code inspection. Nevertheless, most of the spreadsheets were in fact found to have errors.


2012, 45th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, January

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End user computing: The dark matter (and dark energy) of corporate IT