An End User is the person that a software program or hardware device is designed. The term is based on the idea that the "end goal" of a software or hardware product is to be useful to the consumer. The end user can be contrasted with the developers or programmers of the product. End users are also in a separate group from the installers or administrators of the product.
End users are one of the three major factors contributing to the complexity of managing information systems. The end user's position has changed from a position in the 1950s (where end users did not interact with the mainframe; computer experts programmed and ran the mainframe) to one in the 2010s where the end-user collaborates with and advises the management information system and Information Technology department about his or her needs regarding the system or product. This raises new questions such as: Who manages each resource? What is the role of the MIS Department? What is the optimal relationship between the end user and the MIS Department?
The concept of "end user" first surfaced in the late 1980s and has since then raised many debates. One challenge is that the goal is to both give the user more freedom, by adding advanced features and functions (for more advanced users), and add more constraints (to prevent a neophyte user from accidentally erasing an entire company's database). This phenomenon appeared as a consequence of "consumerization" of computer products and software. In the 1960s and 1970s, computer users were generally programming experts and computer scientists. However, in the 1980s, and especially in the mid-to late 1990s and the early 2000s, everyday, regular people began using computer devices and software for personal and work use. IT specialists need to cope with this trend in various ways. In the 2010s, users now want to have more control over the systems they operate, so they solve their own problems and be able to change, customize and "tweak" the systems to suit their needs. The drawback would be the risk of corruption of the systems and data the user has control of due to his or her lack of knowledge on how to properly operate the computer or software at an advanced level.
For companies to appeal to the user, they take care to accommodate and think of end users in their new products, software launches, and updates. A partnership needs to be formed between the programmer-developers and the everyday end users so that both parties can make the most out of the products. Public libraries have been affected by new technologies in many ways, ranging from the digitalization of their card catalog and the shift to e-books and e-journals and offering online services. Libraries have had to undergo many changes in order to cope, including training existing librarians in Web 2.0 and database skills and hiring IT and software experts.
- IT Organization (information technology organization)
- ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library)
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM)