The Ultimate Guide to Enterprise Software
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Enterprise software comprises a huge chunk of the overall technology market, even though it doesn’t often get the kind of limelight it should.

The worldwide spending on enterprise software is more than $326 billion per year, with the Enterprise Resource Planning software revenue alone reaching $35 billion.

In this article, we talk about what enterprise software is all about, what are the different types of enterprise software and how they differ from other software.

We also talk about Enterprise Resource Planning and some of the different ERP solutions in the market.

What is Enterprise software?

Enterprise software or organization software is a software that is designed and developed to meet the needs of enterprises vis-a-vis direct consumers.

These enterprises range from businesses to schools, non-profits, healthcare institutions, and governments.

Most of the tools provided by enterprise software are designed to make organizations simpler and more efficient.

These tools include automated billing systems, online payment processing, security, customer relationship management, business intelligence, human resource management, enterprise content management, collaboration, business process management, and so on.

Enterprise software is usually available as a suite of customizable programs. This is because most companies have similar systems and departments that require similar kinds of tools.

In most cases, enterprise software solutions need specialized teams and in-depth knowledge.

Characteristics of enterprise software

While enterprise software solves a variety of problems across different departments, they share some common characteristics.

  • Most enterprise software can operate in real-time or nearly in real-time.
  • Installation of the software requires an elaborate application and data integration by the IT team unless it’s done in small steps over a period of time.
  • Enterprise software gets integrated into the company’s workflows.
  • Enterprise software enables a degree of customization that simply isn’t possible in other solutions.
  • Enterprise software enables widespread performance across a number of physical locations.
  • Enterprise software is extremely robust and can scale up with the company’s operations.
  • Enterprise software is usually related to functions and processes that are critical to the company’s mission.
  • Enterprise software is extremely oriented towards solving complex business problems and improving key business metrics.

How is enterprise software different from other types of software?

Given the nature of software, there are two main categories into which software can be classified. These are:

  1. Systems software

This refers to software like the operating system that enables the computer and other software to run.

Without systems software, we would have to manually enter instructions every time we needed the computer to complete a task.

iOS, MS Windows, and Linux are all examples of systems software.

2. Application Software

Application software refers to the software which we use to complete day-to-day tasks on our computer, such as creating presentations, making calculations, creating documents, listening to music, playing a game or watching a movie.

Application software can be further subdivided into two categories. The first is application software that is used by individuals and the other is software that serves the purpose of a larger groups like an enterprise.

Enterprise software is, therefore, a subset of application software. Instead of being used directly by the consumer, its role is to support the overall mission of a large enterprise.

EAS vs SaaS

Enterprise application software is not the only kind of software that enables enterprises to become more efficient.

Another frequently chosen option is Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). SaaS usually has one single cloud database to power the different enterprises/individuals who use the software.

Enterprise software, on the other hand, has a different database for every enterprise that buys the software.

Here are some major differences between SaaS and Enterprise Software -


Enterprise software allows for a much greater degree of customization.

With SaaS, most features are already set in stone and there is limited customization that can be done to meet the specific needs of the enterprise.

SaaS is a great option only when the pre-defined services available match your needs.

Database query and reporting

Since SaaS solutions rely on one large cloud-based database, a large query has to comb through the entire database before it can provide the right solution.

This can take a lot of time and put a lot of burden on the system. Therefore, SaaS solutions usually limit database queries and reports to certain standardized ones.

With enterprise software, your queries and reports can be as custom and complex as required.


SaaS solutions are usually less expensive because they aren’t built from scratch and customized for the organization. They also charge on a per user per month basis which makes it reasonable in the initial days.

It may, however, cause a problem as the enterprise scales up and more users require the use of the software.

With enterprise software, the initial costs will be higher but it may prove to be more cost-effective at scale.

Types of Enterprise Application Software

There are a number of different enterprise software; some of which are customized keeping the department in mind while others are optimized for a particular function or process.

Here are some of the major kinds of enterprise application software -

  • Accounting Software
  • Business Intelligence
  • Content Management System (CMS)
  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
  • Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)
  • Billing Management
  • Business Process Management
  • Knowledge Management (KM)
  • Master Data Management (MDM)
  • Enterprise Asset Management (EAM)
  • Low-code Development Platforms (LCDP)
  • Supply Chain Management (SCM)
  • Backup Software Product Data Management (PDM)
  • Product Lifecycle Management (PLM)

To choose the right enterprise software, you need to keep an eye out on the different options available in the market. You also need to be tuned in to the needs of your growing business.

This will help you identify the functions, departments, and processes that would benefit the most by introducing enterprise software.

Some enterprise software solutions companies

There are many companies that build enterprise software. While there are some that focus on a particular domain ( HR, accounting, marketing, etc), there are some huge behemoths that create a wide variety of enterprise software.

Here’s a list of the top 5 enterprise software companies by revenue, based on the Forbes Global 2000.

#1 Microsoft

Microsoft is a global software leader that specializes in enterprise software, operating systems, and consumer software.

When it comes to enterprise software, Microsoft has a host of solutions; from analysis and business intelligence tools to application integration platforms, B2B gateway software, and client management tools.

#2 Oracle

Oracle specializes in enterprise software as well as computer hardware products and services.

Some of Oracle’s most popular enterprise software includes Oracle ERP Cloud, Oracle Fusion Applications, and Oracle CRM on Demand.

#3 SAP

German tech giant SAP is the largest enterprise software company in Europe and across the globe. It is the market leader in EAS

Some of SAP’s major enterprise application software include SAP ERP, SAP BusinessOne, and SAP Business by Design.

#4 CDW

CDW is an Illinois-based software company that provides IT services to a range of organizations, from private companies to government agencies to healthcare and educational institutions.

Its popular enterprise software includes management software, database & business intelligence software, and virtualization software.

#5 Salesforce

Salesforce specializes in CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software. It provides a variety of enterprise software from marketing and sales force automation to community management, IoT integration, and collaboration & productivity tools.

While most companies and organizations do go with the industry behemoths when it comes to enterprise software, this doesn’t have to be the case always.

There are a number of smaller companies who specialize in different functions and processes of an enterprise.

You may find a more niche enterprise software that is better suited to your needs. But make sure that the product has some validation from others in the industry.


Enterprise software is designed specifically to make the lives of mid-sized and large organizations easier.

It’s important to keep an eye out on the latest enterprise software and see how they can help optimize processes, functions, and departments within the enterprise.

For a smaller organization, you may need to decide between going for a SaaS solution or adopting enterprise software.

This would depend entirely on the customization you need and the future growth you’re looking at.

We have jotted down everything you must know about an enterprise software before choosing one.

Do you think we have missed out on anything here? Let us know in the comments below and subscribe to receive updates on more such amazing content.

More posts by Anupama Panchal.


The Ultimate Guide to Enterprise Software
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