Centralized management oriented information systems in state social welfare systems are evolving. Due to decreasing computer hardware costs, computing power can now be distributed throughout a social welfare system to locations where it meets worker and manager data processing needs most efficiently and effectively. To distribute computing power yet maintain one integrated organizational computing system requires an understanding of distributed data processing (DDP) and its implications for an organization. This article explains the DDP concept through its historical development, illustrates the types of DDP available to an agency, and discusses the major pitfalls in moving into a DDP environment. It also provides guides for implementing and managing DOP systems and discusses the implications of DDP for social welfare workers and managers.

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