I've been on both sides of the fence over the past (too many) years.
On one side (A) as a mainframe programmer in the USAF, software developer, and consultant, and on the other (B) as Director of Customer Support and Estimating for the #3 metal casework manufacturer in the US.
On side A, I spent weeks or months building applications for users that never seemed to know what they wanted.
On side B, I got fed up with IT people that couldn't understand that I needed to be able to grab whatever data I needed at the moment and view, manipulate, or report it instantly however I needed it to be done.
I am now in the middle (side C??) as a systems analyst again, and am again frustrated by IT. If have had a DBA tell me that "users should be able to download data to excel and play with it." The attitude being that users should only be able to access the data through the "formal" ERP system and IT approved tools.
I say "baloney". If the most effective way to "get the right data into the right hands at the right time" is via a quick and dirty Access download and export to excel, than that is the right way to do it.
I can write SQL queries, but it is orders of magnitude faster for me to develop in Access via "drag and drop". And, since Access optimizes the query before passing it on to the SQL server for execution, I believe there is very little additional overhead executing the query on the SQL server.
And I've also encountered a "one size fits all" mentality that says "all the ERP screens and reports must look the same in every division because that is what's best for IT."
This is insanity at it's finest. Each division started out as a separate company and has different products and needs. To say that they should all use exactly the same program in exactly the same manner is as idiotic as saying that everyone should wear 8EEE shoes because that is what I wear.
IT should be responsible for the physical security and integrity of the data only. They should have people on staff and qualified in the enterprize package, and also have individuals that understand how users can take advantage of tools such as MS access/Excel for ad hoc information requirements. This means understanding how to set up ODBC connections, etc., and know how to kill errant processes (such as open join queries) if necessary.
They should also create an end users training in powerpoint, etc. on how to use tools such as access for quick and dirty reporting or exporting to Excel. They should also train "Key Users" in each division that could then work with that division's users to develop the quick and dirty apps. We all know of an in house "expert" in MS word, Powerpoint, and usually Excel. Why not have the same type of person for Access?
This would then relieve IT of virtually all of the tedious "one off" requests from end users and allow them to focus on truly business wide needs.
It would also broaden the base of knowledge so that there is less likelihood of a "developer" leaving and IT getting "stuck,"
Data isn't information until you can make sense of it and use it in a meaningful manner. Users are the ones that do that. Realistically, IT doesn't. Therefor it makes sense to provide users with tools that allow them to access and manipulate data in whatever way is most effective for them.
Just my NSHO...