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Business Application or a Business Software is any software or application used by business users to perform various business functions. These business applications are used to increase productivity, to measure productivity, and to perform other business functions accurately.
In short, business software is likely to be developed to meet the needs of a specific business, and therefore is not easily transferable to a different business environment, unless its nature and operation are identical. Due to the unique requirements of each business, off-the-shelf software is unlikely to completely address a company's needs. However, where an on-the-shelf solution is necessary, due to time or monetary considerations, some level of customization is likely to be required. Exceptions do exist, depending on the business in question, and thorough research is always required before committing to bespoke or off-the-shelf solutions.
Some business applications are interactive, i.e., they have a graphical user interface or user interface and users can query/modify/input data and view results instantaneously. They can also run reports instantaneously. Some business applications run in batch mode: they are set up to run based on a predetermined event/time and a business user does not need to initiate them or monitor them.
Some business applications are built in-house and some are bought from vendors (off the shelf software products). These business applications can be installed on either desktops, on servers or they can be cloud based. In the last couple of years, business applications are more and more stand for vendor built application for specific needs of business or some specific business processes.
Types of Business Applications
As we mentioned, there are a lot of different business processes and it implies there is a lot of different business applications. We will order here not all, but the most famous:
- Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
- Warehouse Management System (WMS)
- Business Intelligence (BI)
- Human Resource Management (HRM)
- Applicant Tracking System (ATS)
- Business Performance Management (BPM)
- Document management software (DMS)
- Enterprise asset management (EAM)
- Reporting Software
- Accounting software
- Process Automation Software
- Payroll Software
- B2B, B2C, B2E, C2B, C2C portals
- Fleet management software (FMS)
- Manufacturing execution system (MES)
- Transport management system (TMS)
- Workforce management (WFM)
- Learning management system (LMS)
- Talent management
- Field service management (FSM)
- Order management system (OMS)
- Time and attendance (TNA)
- Hospital management system (HMS)
- Vendor relationship management (VRM)
- Point of Sale (POS)
Business Application History
The essential motivation for business software is to increase profits by cutting costs or speeding the productive cycle. In the earliest days of white-collar business automation, large mainframe computers were used to tackle the most tedious jobs, like bank cheque clearing and factory accounting.
Factory accounting software was among the most popular of early business software tools and included the automation of general ledgers, fixed assets, inventory ledgers, cost accounting ledgers, accounts receivable ledgers, and accounts payable ledgers (including payroll, life insurance, health insurance, federal and state insurance and retirement). These early accountant software evolved later to Enterprise Resource Planning applications or shortly ERP.
The early use of software to replace manual white-collar labor was extremely profitable and caused a radical shift in white-collar labor. One computer might easily replace 100 white-collar 'pencil pushers', and the computer would not require any health or retirement benefits.
Building on these early successes with IBM, Hewlett-Packard, and other early suppliers of business software solutions, corporate consumers demanded business software to replace the old-fashioned drafting board. CAD-CAM software (or computer-aided drafting for computer-aided manufacturing) arrived in the early 1980s. Also, project management software was so valued in the early 1980s that it might cost as much as $500,000 per copy (although such software typically had a small number of features comparing with modern thousand times cheaper project management software).
In the early days, perhaps the most noticeable, widespread change in business software was the word processor and later mathematical spreadsheet programs. Today we don't talk about these types of software when we are talking about business application. These types of software are related with productivity, but they can be used in every aspect of life and not only in business. Because of that we can say that real business applications (as we know them today) started with popularity of SAP initial products, especially as in the 1990s business shifted massively towards globalism with the appearance of SAP software which coordinates a supply-chain of vendors, potentially worldwide, for the most efficient, streamlined operation of factory manufacture. And probably ERP was one of the first real business applications, but very soon other business applications appear and took its place.
Business Application Implementation
Process of implementation of modern Business Applications is mostly complicated process as business applications are complicated and they are covering a lot of different processes. Depends from vendor to vendor, there is a few different models of implementations. Mostly with small vendors, the same product developers implements their application. But with globalization and good ranked big business application vendors, this process is different. Mostly big vendors only produce their applications, but they have partner network as service companies who implement their solutions. But in both of cases, it is almost every time complicated project and it must be lead through Project management rules.
Integration of Business Applications
In the beginning, business applications was absolutely separated and sometimes implementers made some small integrations to make easier using of two or more different types of business applications. But it was mostly only on the basic level. But in the last few years, integration of different business applications types becomes something very usual. Now we can often find different types of business applications in one application or already prepared for integration with some specific types of software.
In this article we will not talk about business application vendors as you can find them in articles about specific solutions.
- Details about Business Software,"Wikipedia".