Application software is a type of digital software that helps you do things electronically.
It sounds so simple, doesn’t it? But yet it’s so vague, it could mean practically anything.
Which is why we understand your frustration when you search for a phrase on Google, only to realize that the answers aren’t really answering your question.
In fact, we were so annoyed with vague and jargon-infused responses to “what is application software?” that we put together a comprehensive, detailed, and jargon-free answer to this question for you.
In this piece, we’ll talk through what application software is, plus why you need to integrate all of your business apps. And since we’re feeling extra nice, we’ve also suggested the best products you should consider using.
What exactly is application software?
In short, ‘application software’ is a fancy way of saying ‘app.’
You can find a million and one app variations — that’s not an official statistic, by the way — on your smartphone, laptop, and tablet.
There are apps for just about everything these days, which is why most definitions for application software tend to be so broad and wishy-washy.
Common popular app types include:
- The App Store, funnily enough
- Social media
- Weather forecasting
- Fitness apps
Most of the icons on your phone are apps. And those places you send messages or use to call your friends and family — such as Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp — are also classed as apps.
Most apps allow you to customize them in various ways, so they’re easier and more fun for you to use.
monday.com is one of those, by the way, but we’ll get to that later.
You can change interfaces to hide features you don’t like, create shortcuts and even pick from numerous color schemes.
Besides convenience, apps can also get you out of some tricky situations. If you’re lost on a camping trip in California or getting chased by polar bears in Greenland, for example, you can open a maps app to find your way out of trouble.
Similarly, you can use a to do list to save yourself from workflow overwhelm.
Almost all good apps, whether or not they’re on mobile or desktop, share the following features:
- A user-friendly interface
- Real-time responsiveness
- Optimized for whichever computer or mobile device you’re using
- Options to turn push notifications on and off
- Some kind of offline use (unless the app is an internet-based service like Twitter or Messenger)
- Regular updates to stop the software from getting lots of bugs
What’s the difference between application software and other commonly-searched computer terms?If you’ve ever tried finding a detailed explanation of what application software is on Google, you might have also been bombarded with articles on other techy terms used in computing. Since so many technical terms get confusing, fast, we’re going to briefly explain them all now.
Before we get started, here are some of the most common computer system and software types users search for:
- Operating system software
- Open-source software
- Enterprise software
- Web application
Operating systems are also known as OS. They manage hardware on computers and mobile devices.
You might have noticed the initials ‘OS’ used before. Does MacOS ring a bell? This is the operating system for Apple’s computers; iOS is the mobile version.
Other operating system examples include Android and Windows.
This system software is the stage between the app and hardware. They’re the interface — or go-between — that enable apps to work on your device of choice.
You can see how an OS workflow works in the diagram below.
Open source software
Modern software development is increasingly dependent on open source software to meet the demands of Agile workflows. Though developing software using open source components has many benefits including helping organizations significantly decrease time to market, using open source code is not without risk. Open source security is an essential part of any organization’s security posture. Software composition analysis (SCA) tools scan open source code to detect, prioritize, and remediate open source vulnerabilities and license compliance issues. They also provide developer tools that identify open source libraries with known security vulnerabilities before they are pulled into an organization’s proprietary codebase. Considering that open source components make up 60-80% of the codebase for proprietary software, better visibility into an organization’s open source inventory is critical to application security.
Open source software can be tweaked by users outside of the team or company it was created by. They can change default settings to suit their own needs.
Mozilla Firefox is a good example of this.
Other types of open source software include website-building services like WordPress.com and Squarespace.
As you can see in the picture below, people not associated with open source platforms can customize the system.
Platforms can also be closed source, meaning only software owners or certain programmers can change how the systems run.
Enterprise software is technology developed for large companies to help them run more efficiently.
Different examples of enterprise software include customer support as well as HR management resource systems.
In the picture below, you will see some of the most common reasons enterprise would be used.
monday.com has an enterprise version, specifically designed for large, complex businesses who need top-level security, control, and support.
‘Web application’ is how you say ‘web app’ with 3 extra, needless syllables.
As the name suggests, web apps run on website server software. If you log into Facebook from your computer browser — rather than from your smartphone app — you’re accessing a web app.
As you can see from the picture below, apps in your web browser normally store data in a backend. Between that and you navigating on your phone or computer, the programming language is similar to downloadable apps.
In contrast to web apps, mobile and desktop apps are downloadable for whichever device you’re on.
Web, mobile, and desktop apps take you to the same place.
The way you get there is just a little different. You may also see a different user interface or extra options when using a web app, since they’re generally not designed for the smaller screens that mobile apps are built for.
How does business application software fit into all of this?
Chances are you’re already using more than one business application program. The main difference between business apps and the ones you use in your personal time is that business ones are designed for… wait for it… businesses.
Business apps often share these common features:
- Easy sharing features to help teams communicate and collaborate with each other easier
- Built for multiple users and synchronization across multiple devices
- A wide range of customization and personalization features
- Greater security and more control measures
- Little or no coding, meaning you don’t need to be a software developer or application development expert to get started
- An engaging interface that makes you feel like a human being; not a robot
Like with personal apps, you will also find a range of business apps to address your common needs.
- Meeting schedules
- To-do lists
- Communication platforms
- File-sharing clouds
- Workflow management software
- Marketing analytics
- Customer relationship management (CRM)
What is the best business application software to download?
There is no one-size-fits-all business app.
However, a word of caution. When you buy any business app, you will be making this purchase for more than one team member.
Whichever apps you choose must fit in with your team’s objectives. They must also have enough customization features to help users tweak their own individual interfaces.
Common business needs you may look to address with apps include:
- Communication: you need an app that makes both instant messaging and video communication a breeze. You’ll also want one that can be integrated with other software to centralize your information.
- File-sharing: when looking for a file-sharing app, you use one that allows other team members to access the folder quickly and from anywhere. To make things easier, you should also integrate it with a centralized solution. Are you starting to see a theme here?
- Marketing/sales analytics: when looking for an analytics platform, you’ll want one that provides in-depth metrics to improve the effectiveness of your future strategies. It also… needs to be integrated with a third-party productivity platform.
- Document storage: you’ll want an app that allows team members to store and edit documents without the need for downloading them. And yes, you guessed it, you should consider its integration capabilities before picking one.
- Customer support: no matter how easy an app is to use, you might need help getting started. Before signing up for any platform, make sure the company has available customer support and pages online that can help you with basic questions. Besides email and phone support, check to see how they deal with requests on social media.
Why monday.com should be your application software of choice
OK, so now you know all about application software and why it’s important for your business.
You also understand the difference between apps and other common tech terms, so you won’t get them mixed up anymore. Plus, you know about the different types of business apps.
Now, all that’s left for you to know is why monday.com should be your application software of choice.
We have various neat, native solutions that you and your team can benefit from.
- Project timelines so that everyone knows the progress of each ongoing workflow.
- Event planning to help your team prepare for upcoming conferences, workshops and campaigns.
- Various remote working features so your team can continue to perform even when you’re away from the office.
- An application suite that will allow you to integrate some of the best-known business apps fast, such as those in the picture below.
- Marketing campaign management to measure the success of your promotional efforts on various channels.
- CRM services to help your sales team track leads and existing customers.
- A wide selection of ready-made apps, including request forms and analytics reporting to save you from investing in more software than you need, such as those shown below.
We have also prided ourselves on building our system to make it work for you.
That means you decide what is and isn’t included in your own interface and have access to everything you need to do your job well.
This Includes round-the-clock customer support.
That’s not just us talking, though. monday.com has also been proven to help teams get more done.
The Forrester Total Economic Impact (TEI) report found that our Work OS:
- Saved each employee 3 hours per week when it came to productivity
- Reduced project campaign launch time by 27%
- Had a 253% return on investment (ROI)
- Improved total team productivity by over $520,000.
How does monday.com fit in with all the other business apps?
Considering that there are hundreds of business apps in existence right now, it’s not surprising that system integration services will be worth over $580 billion as an industry by 2025.
monday.com saw this coming when we were founded in 2012. Now, you can use our services to integrate a whole range of your favorite products.
Integrating apps with our software doesn’t require a PhD. in nuclear rocket decoding from Harvard.
To use monday.com for system integration, all you need to do is:
- Go to the board you want to integrate the app(s) within.
- Click on ‘integrations’ at the top (i.e., the plug icon).
- On the Integrations Center page, choose from the list of apps we support integrations for.
- Map out how you want each app to integrate.
- Sit back and revel in how easy that all was.
For each of these steps, we’ve created a more in-depth guide here.
If you decide you don’t want to use a certain app anymore, you can delete them. Or, if you think you might use them again, you can toggle certain apps on or off.
monday.com, the smart choice for integrating smart apps
Software application development is hard. Knowing what an app is and why you need one, however, is not.
Application software was designed to make our workflows easier. If you know how to use all of our apps together, they can help with this. But if you aren’t careful, they can start working against you.
To make sure apps are helping rather than hindering your workday, integrating them within a single system is essential. Doing so will save you hours of stress and help you launch and complete projects faster. That means more money in your back pocket and happier customers.
Now that you know what an app is, why not start using monday.com to improve your workflow?
Download our process management template here and start streamlining your business workflows today.