Software consists of set of instructions with which the user interacts with the computer. Anything that is related to physical aspects of the computer is called hardware, whereas the instructions given to computer to execute a certain work is called a software. In a computer, software and hardware are both required and each depends on the other for certain functionalities. Software tools find numerous applications in industries and business organizations, from designing and creating a new system application to upgrading or modifying an existing one. Being technology agnostic, we are using many software tools for web, mobiles, desktop, client/server application, LAN, WAN etc.
Basically, computer software is broadly divided into three categories:
- System Software
- Utility Software
- Application Software
System software consists of programs or applications that are designed specifically to control and co-ordinate with the computer hardware. It communicates with internal parts of the system and also helps to maintain a platform for application programs. It has system programs which includes file libraries of device drivers, system settings and preferences, configuration files, compilers and interpreters, system utilities etc. System files are mostly background programs through which operating system coordinates with different hardware components to run the computer smoothly. The system software runs the basic functionality of the computer and gets installed along with the operating system. To keep the system up-to-date with latest updates, the users have to run the programs that are often recommended by the OS.
Some basic examples of system software include:
- Operating System
- System servers
- Device drivers
- Compilers and interpreters
- Windows/graphical user interface (GUI) systems
utility software includes programs and applications that help users in system maintenance and add functionality for better performance of computer. Unlike applications, utilities are small programs that are designed to customize & enhance the desktop features or scan and monitor the computer for unwanted software and viruses. It helps to manage computer resources and aims at optimizing various aspects of computer hardware and operating system.
Some examples of Utility software are as follows:
- Disk defragmenters
- System Profilers
- Virus scanners
- Disk cleaners
- Data backup utility
- Network managers
- Encryption utilities
It is one of the most popular types and are widely used in B2B and B2C applications. Unlike system software which runs in the background unnoticed, application software requires user interaction to work with the computer. It is necessary to have system software to run & implement the programs of application software. They are generally end user programs which are being created for specific purposes to help individuals with their work related activities. Some are generalized applications such as word processors & browsers while others are designed for specific needs for a particular type of business or organization. Popular examples of application software are word processors, spreadsheets, browsers, email software etc.
Apart from these common types of software applications, there are also many other user written programs tailored for specific systems to meet special needs of end user. Application programs can be web based which require an online activity or it can be traditional intranet which is purely designed for internal organizational needs. Many application softwares are being used for different purposes in B2B and B2C business segments. It includes various types such as product development applications, educational software, entertainment software, enterprise software etc. Each category consists of numerous applications that are designed for particular end user needs. For instance, enterprise applications can be of different types such as CRM, automated time and billing systems, enterprise resource planning (ERP), email marketing systems, supply chain management software etc.
Instead of using traditional on-device software, now-a-days software is delivered as a service (SaaS) over the internet. That means any software allowing customization which is given as service to the users is called SaaS. For instance, the internet services that we commonly use everyday such as Google, Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook etc are also considered as software as a service applications. SaaS service allows users to customize applications to fit their business processes without much worrying about complex software and hardware management. It includes many applications for business purpose from accounting, invoicing and tracking sales to providing the needs of online business such as website design, development and monitoring.