Overview of the Computer Software Industry
The global computer software industry employs millions of people and nets over $300 billion of revenue a year. It is one of the fastest-growing sectors of the world economy and consistently outstrips the overall worldwide GDP growth rate. The USA represents the biggest market while developing BRIC nations are experiencing the fastest rate of growth. The market is dominated by packaged 'out of the box' PC based software, designed to work on popular operating systems such as Windows and iOS. The computer software industry is highly innovative and creative, and hence vendors invest a high proportion of their sales income into research and development. Software vendors vary in size and collectively offer thousands of software programs for virtually any computer platform.
Billions of units are shipped every year through a combination of CD-ROMs and downloads, as more and more businesses and consumers purchase computer software online. Most modern computer software is activated by the user soon after they self install the CD-ROM. The online connection to the vendor's website is to ensure the software is authentic and helps the registration process. This is most typical in the business software market. This market continually changes and as such the software has to be continually adaptable to changes in computing platforms, interoperability standards, operating systems and changes in business trends.
Most small businesses are reliant upon computer software to help them manage their business. Business software helps automate core business processes, eliminate data inputting inefficiencies, cut administrative overheads, meet compliance standards and speed up management decision making. A huge range of applications small businesses thrive and survive. This computer software functionality commonly includes off-the-shelf bundled packages to run accounting, bookkeeping, office administration, messaging and email, security, and sales management.
Most business software is relatively low cost, requires constant updates from the manufacturer, and is generally designed to do one core task. Computer software is sold on a per license basis linked to a unique license key. Larger businesses often purchase bulk site licenses linked to the number of users or 'seats'. Volume discount is a common as the industry is incredibly competitive and price sensitive.
Demand for new computer software is highly user centric. Many vendors provide users with access to their online product forums. Customer feedback helps steering committees and user groups brand-new modules, upgrades and functionality. Information technology standards are also agreed between powerful software market leaders. Yet it is inevitably the user base that continues to demand business software that is intuitive and self installable, solves everyday problems, and can easily be maintained or upgraded.
Increasingly, users are opting to purchase computing software using cloud-based services. These services offer traditional desktop software but hosted in a secure cloud-based service. Cloud-based computing enables intelligence, data and programs to be shared by a large user base with access to the Internet. Many small firms are seeing the advantages of cloud-based computing as a means of taking away the hassle of continually upgrading, maintaining and securing office-based computer software. Yet subscribing to a cloud-based service to underpin a mission-critical business process ( such as payroll or bookkeeping) means giving up some element of control to a third party. As businesses become increasingly reliant upon network access, denial of service attacks and other security issues are becoming increasingly strategic.
Many computer software suppliers or 'software houses' provide bespoke programming solutions for specific customer problems. The programming industry is vast and covers a wide range of computer languages to support programs that will run on a variety of Windows, UNIX, Linus operating systems. There are thousands of smaller software suppliers that have developed their own programs. Comparing a plethora of developers is made easier through the use of an online business directory. These can help compare user ratings and reviews as well as clean summaries of business benefits, technical specifications, product features and customer testimonials.
Businesses searching for a web developer computer programmer for bespoke software solutions need to specify their requirements carefully. A good systems requirements specification document will help developers understand the expectations, boundaries and limitations of a users requirement. A miss match of expectations is invariably one central reason why many bespoke computer software projects turn up late and over budget. Users feel they were not consulted involved in the design and code testing processes, leaving a feeling that the system does not meet their business needs.
There are thousands of software utility programs. Some comes in the form of downloadable shareware while some software utilities help users manage files, edit photos, filter web traffic, restoring backup, manage documents and content, monitor network traffic and process workflows. There is also a huge gaming software sector which is becoming increasingly interactive, virtual and associated with social networking and the movies.