Knowing Your IT Application Categories

By Peter H. Gregory, Bill Hughes

Part of Getting a Networking Job For Dummies Cheat Sheet

If you are a networking professional who is seeking a job, you should have some familiarity with the following popular information technology (IT) application categories:

application development tools: Tools that enable application developers to manage revisions and collaborate with other developers.

business intelligence (BI): A suite of applications that enable marketing and business managers to examine sales and customer service data to discern important trends among customer behavior as well as financial objectives.

call center solutions: Customer support services such as a call distribution system to spread incoming calls among available call takers, access to the CRM system, and tools to track the performance of call takers, who are responding to voice calls, chats, and emails from existing and prospective customers.

creative tools: Applications that produce videos and audio recordings, marketing documents, and other visuals. These run on general-purpose or specialized computers.

collaboration tools: Applications that simplify the interactions among employees. The core of many of these tools is document preparation, where the application tracks revision changes made by multiple contributors. This revision control system is supplemented with ad hoc workgroups and voice and videoconferencing in support of this effort.

computer-aided design and drafting (CADD): Design engineers create product concepts in a digital format that can be tested and stored entirely on computer systems.

computer-aided engineering (CAE): Engineers can work with digital designs to perform prototype creation, destructive testing simulation, heat transfer, verification of electrical design, and other engineering tests that formerly needed to be done with physical samples.

computer-aided manufacturing (CAM): Modern manufacturing equipment and process control systems provide status information to a central site to allow for monitoring and control.

customer communications management (CCM): Applications that automate and control digital communications, such as emails and digital agreement, with different customers.

computer-integrated manufacturing (CIM): See computer-aided manufacturing.

customer information management (CIM): Applications that track the buying history of specific customers.

customer relationship management (CRM): A class of applications that combine the information associated with customer communications management and customer information management to provide a single source of information about customers and prospective customers.

document management (DM): A single application that tracks all documents, sent externally and used internally, in a single repository. Such applications are used for archiving, but can also support collaboration among employees in in an organization.

enterprise unified communications infrastructure: The intent of unified communication is to integrate voice, email, and videoconferencing through employees’ laptops and desktop computers.

enterprise requirements planning (ERP): Applications that integrate materials requirement planning (MRP) with other organizational applications such as the general ledger.

fleet tracking: When a company monitors the status and performance of its mobile assets as well as tracks and monitors the maintenance of its fleet of vehicles.

fixed-mobile convergence (FMC): These applications offer mobile employees the same types of services, such as email, phone, and videoconferencing, as employees who are at a fixed location.

general ledger: A suite of applications that include budgeting tracking, order entry, payroll, accounts receivable, accounts payable, inventory tracking, financial reporting, inventory tracking, and tax reporting. All organizations have some custom variation of this application suite.

general office tools: Many office workers rely on office productivity tools, such as a word processor, a spreadsheet, email, a calendar, a contact database, presentation software, and a web browser. Office productivity tools may include a simple database application, a note-taking tool, and an imaging application. Many companies use Microsoft Office Suite, but may standardize on other specific applications for a variety of reasons.

high-performance computing: Exceptionally high-speed computational computers to perform research, such as meteorology, weapons design, and financial modeling.

human resource management system (HRMS): A suite of applications supporting the human resources department. Modules typically include applicant tracking, recruiting, benefit selection, payroll (or an interface to payroll in the general ledger), and performance evaluation tracking.

intranet: A web page accessible with work-related applications and documents for use exclusively by employees.

machine-to-machine communications (M2M): Intelligent equipment and remote sensors in which data is collected, analyzed, and managed by other machines without human intervention.

materials requirements planning (MRP): Applications in this class enable project managers to order necessary supplies timely and automatically.

mobile device management (MDM) services: An application used by companies to ensure proper security for mobile devices as well as ensuring that these devices have the correct provision of the mobile applications.

point-of-sale (POS): A custom-built device that supports all modes of payment, including cash, and results in more secure and efficient transactions.

project management tools: Tools that provide information to project managers on status and can help highlight potential problems before they become critical.

supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA): An application to automatically control other machines.

sales force automation (SFA): A class of applications designed for order entry, inventory checking, and collaboration tools as needed by a given sales force.

unified communications (UC): A combination of technologies in a single network backbone to provide an integrated solution for data, voice, and videoconferencing.

unified communications and collaboration (UCC): A combination of unified communication and collaboration tools with a single user interface.