Principles of Information Systems, Eighth Edition 4-3
Why Learn About Software?
Software is indispensable for any computer system, and computer systems are important for almost all organizations. In this chapter, students will learn about systems and applicationsoftware. Without systems software, computers would not be able to input data from akeyboard, make calculations, or print results. Different types of application software allowcomputers to serve the unique computing needs of diverse users, such as sales representatives,stick and bond traders, and scientists.Regardless of their job, students will most likely use software throughout their careers for work-related tasks, education, and advancement. Students can also use software to perform personal tasks, such as preparing personal income taxes, keeping a budget, findinginformation on the Internet, and playing games.
An Overview of Software
Software refers to computer programs that control the workings of the computer hardware.Computer programs are sequences of instructions for the computer. On screen or printeddocumentation provide the user information on how to operate the computer system. Bothsystems and application software can be used to meet the needs of an individual, a group, or an enterprise.
Systems software is the set of programs that coordinates the activities and functions of thehardware and other programs throughout the computer system. Operating systems, utility programs, and middleware, which are all examples of systems software, are discussed in later sections. Each type of systems software is designed for a specific CPU and class of hardware.
Application software consists of programs that help users solve particular computing problems. There are many types of application software, some of which are discussed later inthe chapter.
Supporting Individual, Group, and Organizational Goals
Most organizations have three spheres of influence: personal, workgroup, and enterprise. Youcan find software to support of each of these spheres of influence.Information systems that operate within the personal sphere of influence serve the needs of anindividual user. These information systems help users improve their personal effectiveness,increasing the amount and quality of work they can do.When two or more people work together to achieve a common goal, they form a workgroup.An information system in the workgroup sphere of influence helps a workgroup attain itscommon goals.