Application Software Study Guide
Application Software Study Guide

Application Software Study Guide

Source: University of Minnesota Libraries

Student Price: FREE

An information systems study guide from the University of Minnesota.

Application Software - Study Guide

Application software focuses on the work of a user or an organization. Desktop applications are typically designed for a single user. Enterprise software supports multiple users in an organization or work group.

Popular categories of enterprise software include ERP (enterprise resource planning), SCM (supply chain management), CRM (customer relationship management), and BI (business intelligence) software, among many others. These systems are used in conjunction with database management systems, programs that help firms organize, store, retrieve, and maintain data.

ERP and other packaged enterprise systems can be challenging and costly to implement, but can help firms create a standard set of procedures and data that can ultimately lower costs and streamline operations.

The more application software that is available for a platform, the more valuable that platform becomes.

The DBMS stores and retrieves the data used by the other enterprise applications. Different enterprise systems can be configured to share the same database system in order share common data. Firms that don’t have common database systems with consistent formats across their enterprise often struggle to efficiently manage their value chain, and often lack the flexibility to introduce new ways of doing business. Firms with common database systems and standards often benefit from increased organizational insight and decision-making capabilities.

Enterprise systems can cost millions of dollars in software, hardware, development, and consulting fees, and many firms have failed when attempting large-scale enterprise system integration. Simply buying a system does not guarantee its effective deployment and use. 

When set up properly, enterprise systems can save millions of dollars and turbocharge organizations by streamlining processes, making data more usable, and easing the linking of systems with software across the firm and with key business partners.

Discussion Questions


​What is the difference between desktop and enterprise software?


List the functions of a business that might be impacted by an ERP.


What do the acronyms ERP, CRM, SCM, and BI stand for? Briefly describe what each of these enterprise systems does.


Where in the “layer cake” analogy does the DBMS lie.


Name some companies that have realized multimillion-dollar benefits as result of installing enterprise systems. Name companies that have suffered multimillion-dollar disasters as result of failed enterprise system installations.


How much does the average large company spend annually on ERP software?

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