Exploring the different types of application software that businesses need today!
- What is Application Software?
- Different Types of Application Software Used by Businesses
- Types of Application Software Based on Shareability and Availability
- Functions of Application Software
- Business Benefits of Application Software
- The Cost of Application Software Development
- Develop Your Application Software with Fingent
Application software or simply application (app) has become our everyday companion. From the Microsoft Office suite of products to Gmail and Facebook Messenger, all of us use different types of application software to meet various personal and professional purposes.
We have all come a long way from the old-generation of computers that had just one application software, which was installed onto individual machines using floppy disks and CD ROMs. Today, we have multiple types of application software to suit every need and purpose. While that is exciting, it also places before us an array of choices. You may be wondering which of these application software fulfills the needs of your business. To help you with this, here is a detailed guide to the types of application software.
What is Application Software?
Application software is a computer program that performs a specific function, be it educational, personal, or business. It is also known as an end-user program or a productivity program. You can think of your PC as a cake and the application software as the frosting on top of it. It is the application software (frosting) that you, the user, gets to see upfront when you are working with the computer.
Application software is developed to assist you with a particular process that may be related to creativity, productivity, or better communication. It helps you in completing your tasks, be it jotting down notes, completing your online research, setting an alarm, keeping an account log, or even playing games.
Application software programs are specific in their functionality and do the job that they are designed to do. For instance, a browser is an application used specifically for browsing the Internet. Similarly, MS PowerPoint is an application designed specifically for making presentations. All the apps that we see on our smartphones are examples of types of application software.
Different Types of Application Software Used by Businesses
Picking up the right application software for personal or business use can improve function and efficiency. Understanding the different types of application software will help you save cost, time, and resources, enhance productivity, and improve decision-making.
Some of the commonly used application software are:
- Word processors
- Graphics software
- Database software
- Spreadsheet software
- Presentation software
- Web browsers
- Enterprise software
- Information worker software
- Multimedia software
- Education and reference software
- Content access software
While the list of application software is more exhaustive than this, we have tried to detail a few of the important types of application software below.
1. Presentation software
Presentation is a type of application software that enables you to represent your thoughts and ideas with ease and clarity by using visual information. It lets you display the information in the form of slides. You can make your slide more informative and engrossing by adding text, images, graphs, and videos. It has three components:
- Text editor to input and format text
- Insert graphics, text, video, and multimedia files
- Slideshow to display the information
2. Web browsers
Web browsers are application software used to browse the internet for locating and retrieving data across the web. The most popular web browsers are Google Chrome and Internet Explorer. Other examples of browsers include Firefox, MS Edge, Safari, etc.
3. Multimedia software
Multimedia application software lets you create or record images, and create audio or video files. This software is extensively used in animation, graphics, image, and video editing. Popular examples are VLC media player and Windows media player.
4. Education and reference software
This application software, also termed as academic software, is specifically designed to facilitate learning of a particular subject. Various kinds of tutorial software are included in this category. Some of these are JumpStart, MindPlay, Moodle, and Kid Pix.
5. Graphics software
Graphics application software allows you to edit or make changes in visual data or images. It comprises illustration and picture editor software. Adobe Photoshop and PaintShop Pro are a few examples of graphics software.
6. Spreadsheet software
Spreadsheet application software is used to perform calculations. In this software, data is stored in a table format. The intersecting area, called cells, are separated to define fields such as text, date, time, and number. It allows the users to provide formulas and functions to perform calculations. Microsoft Excel and Google Sheets are examples of spreadsheet software.
7. Database software
Database application software is used to create and manage a database. Also known as a DBMS (Database Management System), it helps you organize your data. So, when you run an application, data is fetched from the database, modified, and is stored back in the database. Oracle, MySQL, Microsoft SQL Server, PostgreSQL, MongoDB, and IBM Db2 are some of the popular databases.
8. Word processing software
Word processing application software is used to format and manipulate text, thus, creating memos, letters, faxes, and documents. Word processing software is also used to format and beautify the text. It provides you a whole lot of features, including thesaurus, synonyms and antonyms. Along with Word Art features, the font option lets you change font color, effect, and style as per your choice. Grammar and spell check options are also available to check for errors. Leading examples include G Doc and Microsoft Word Doc.
9. Simulation software
Simulation application software is used in the fields of military engineering, practical education in certain industries, machinery testing, industrial training, video games, etc. It is used where work on the actual system or physical environment can be hazardous. It is a program that lets you study or observe an operation, or phenomenon through simulation without actually doing that operation. The best examples of simulation are in the field of robotics, flight systems, and weather forecast, etc. Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality technologies are also used to develop application software that support simulations.
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Find Business Success with Agile Software Development Methodologies
Agile software development methodologies have proven their mettle in recent years and “agile” is becoming a buzz word in software development and project management. It makes sense, therefore, to understand what drives the success of these methodologies and consider if your business could benefit from implementing it.
What is the Agile Software Development Methodology?
Agile Development works on the principles of iteration and incremental development. It does not rely on a linear method approach but focuses on rapid delivery of fully functional application components. The focus is not on tasks, but on time phases called “sprints.” These sprints are of specific duration and begin with a detailed plan of what is to be delivered at the end of a sprint. Continuous testing, feedback, and improvement are vital aspects of the agile methodology.
At the heart of the agile methodology is its focus on individuals and interactions rather than processes and tools. Rather than focusing on comprehensive documentation to prove a project’s worth, the primary measure of progress in agile methodology is delivering working, tested software. This serves as a basis for collaboration between teams and customers, gaining feedback and swiftly responding to change. Value-driven development is given prime importance with the focus on delivering visible results and business value continuously. This way, stakeholders and projects have complete visibility on where the project stands and the business value they can expect at any given point of the project.
Scrum is an important aspect of the agile methodology and deserves a mention in the context of discussing agile methodologies. Using the principles of agile methodology, Scrum advocates a self-organizing and cross-functional team. The Scrum method is supported by two specific roles – the Scrum Master (who acts as the coach to direct teams towards agility and high performance) and the Product Owner (who helps the team build the right product and represents the company and end users).
Why Agile Methodology Trumps Traditional Development Methods
There are many reasons why Agile Methodology is being favored over traditional methods worldwide. We have listed out a few:
Faster and Better Workflow:
Agile Methodology is completely different from traditional Waterfall Methodologies, where projects follow a linear approach and progress from one step to another only after the previous step is completed. The traditional time-consuming method of relying on comprehensive documentation and analysis before the design and commencement of the project is eliminated.
Implementation and development begin almost immediately in agile development and the processes and development is refined in increments based on continuous feedback from customers and project teams. This also cuts out the verification and maintenance stage in the Waterfall Method, where the end product is tested, bugs are fixed, and the code is maintained. In the agile method, this testing and bug fixing is already being done continuously throughout the project, ensuring that the final product is refined and ready to be deployed.
Multilevel and continuous planning:
The absence of detailed analysis before implementation in agile methodology does not mean that the project is initiated without any substantial planning. On the contrary, multi-level and continuous planning is a vital feature of the agile development methodology. The planning follows a just-in-time approach, which aligns the information available with what details are necessary at the time.
The planning usually happens on at least two levels – the release level and the iteration level. At the release level, planning involves identifying and prioritizing the necessary features required in the software. This gives a basis to decide which features must be worked on first. Planning at the iteration level involves which features must be implemented next and the optimal size of batches which can be practically delivered in a single iteration.
The most important feature of agile methodologies is that it places the customer at the center of the development process. Teams are directed to think of product design through user stories and use cases, which ensures that customers are always kept at the heart of the process. User stories specify the needs of the end users and the various scenarios that they will use to fulfill that need.
Use cases show how the product developed will help end users achieve the outcome they want in the user story. In this way, the whole development process becomes focussed on what the customer needs. This is the foundation of Customer Experience (CX), which is fast becoming the defining success factor for companies today.
Business Success with Agile Software Development Methodologies
Businesses the world over are embracing and implementing agile methodologies in their efforts to improve their project management capabilities and improve performance. The 9th Global Project Management Survey, which surveyed 3,234 project management professionals from all over the world attests to this fact.
According to the survey, 71% of organizations use Agile approaches in their business. “We believe that agility could also be used in multiple ways— in everything we do,” says Phillippe Husser, a survey respondent and Senior Partner of Progress Direction Michelin. “In fact, the world is changing very quickly around us, so much so that we cannot afford anymore to have projects taking two to five years to deliver, because, during this time, the initial requirements have changed.”
Case in Point: Ericsson
Ericsson is a leading provider of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to service providers and covers 40% of the world’s mobile phone traffic. The company with around 100,000 employees is a classic case in point to show the successful implementation of agile methodologies even in large-sized companies.
The company used to use a plan-driven software process but switched to agile in 2012. One of their main areas of focus was to develop a XaaS platform and services that the customers would use as a service. The results have been phenomenal.
Steve Dennings, an expert on agile methodology and author of The Age of Agile, summarizes the success points of Ericsson’s adoption of agile methodologies this way: “Now with Agile management, Ericsson has over 100 small teams working with its customers’ needs in three-week cycles. The result is faster development that is more relevant to the specific needs of the customers. The client gets value sooner. Ericsson has less work in progress. And Ericsson is deploying one to two years earlier than it otherwise would so that its revenue comes in one to two years earlier.”
Find Success with Agile Software Development
Agile development and methodology is an integral part of Fingent Technologies and creating agile software products for different industry sectors such as healthcare, finance, education, entertainment and media, real estate and retail amongst others. Get in touch with us so we can discuss how you can get effective in your agile journey and find success.