1.3. Business Applications and Information Systems

A business software application, or simply business app, is a computer program that supports one or more business processes in an organization. Important examples of general business apps are

  1. Customer Relationship Management software packages for managing a company's interactions with current and potential customers.
  2. Enterprise Resource Planning software packages for managing a company's core business processes such as replenishment, production and sales.
  3. Data Warehouses, which store large amounts of historical business transaction data for the purpose of data analysis.

In addition to such general business apps, there are many industry-specific business apps, e.g., for the chemical industry, for banks, or for hospitals.

Business application systems are often also called information systems (IS), and we adopt this term and its acronym. In a more narrow sense, however, an information system is a business app that has the primary purpose to collect, maintain, evaluate and provide/publish information. Examples of information systems in this narrow sense are data warehouses, weather forecast information systems and train schedule information systems.

All information systems are based on a DBMS. In most cases they are based on a Relational DBMS. While in the past, organizations used to manage their own IT infrastructure, including their database systems, on their own server computers, they have been moving large parts of it, including some or all of their database systems, to cloud service platforms, such as Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure. There are also special cloud database management services, such as Google's Firebase.