Home > Articles > Software Development & Management

Introduction to Enterprise Software

If you have heard of terms such as Business-to-Business (B2B) and Business-to-Consumer (B2C), you are already familiar with enterprise software at some level. This introductory chapter from Developing Enterprise Java Applications with J2EE™ and UML offers a more in-depth exploration of enterprise software and the challenges and opportunities that accompany it.
This chapter is from the book
  • What Is Enterprise Software?

  • Evolution of Enterprise Software

  • Enterprise Software and Component-Based Software

  • Summary

What Is Enterprise Software?

The term enterprise refers to an organization of individuals or entities, presumably working together to achieve some common goals. Organizations come in all shapes and sizes, large and small, for-profit and nonprofit, governmental and nongovernmental.

Chances are, however, that when someone uses the term enterprise, they mean a large, for-profit organization, such as Intel, General Motors, Wal-Mart, Bank of America, or eBay.

Enterprises generally have some common needs, such as information sharing and processing, asset management and tracking, resource planning, customer or client management, protection of business knowledge, and so on. The term enterprise software is used to collectively refer to all software involved in supporting these common elements of an enterprise.

Figure 1-1 depicts enterprise and enterprise software graphically.

Figure 1-1 Enterprise and enterprise software

The figure shows an enterprise software setup that is essentially a collection of diverse systems. Software is organized along the various functions within the organization, for example, sales, human resources, and so on. A firewall is provided to safeguard enterprise data from unauthorized access. Some software systems such as those for sales and inventory management interact; however, most are fairly isolated islands of software.

Enterprise software may consist of a multitude of distinct pieces today, but enterprises have gradually come to realize that there is a strong need for their diverse systems to integrate well and leverage each other wherever appropriate for maximum enterprise benefit. B2B and B2C are good examples of such integration and leveraging.

Some of the potential ways an enterprise hopes to leverage integrated enterprise software follows:

  • By integrating its customer support and in-house product knowledge, an enterprise could provide new and better services to its customers via the Web.

  • By linking its marketing machine with the online world, an enterprise could reach a much larger audience online.

  • By linking its sales management and inventory, an enterprise may be able to devise specific, lower cost Web sales channels to reach an untapped market segment.

  • By providing a front end to one of the services used by its employees, such as the internal office supply ordering system, and tying it into the accounting system, the enterprise could lower the overall cost and improve employee efficiency.

  • Making the enterprise HR system available online could be used as a way to give employees more control over their health and 401(k) choices and reduce the overall administrative costs to the enterprise.

  • By automating one of its human resource intensive operations and making it available on an anytime, anywhere basis, an enterprise could provide better service to its customers while reducing the overall operational costs.

Challenges in Developing Enterprise Software

Successful enterprises tend to grow in size, hire more people, have more customers and more Web site hits, have bigger sales and revenues, add more locations, and so on. In order to support this growth, enterprise software must be scalable in terms of accommodating a larger enterprise and its operations.

Enterprises encounter constraints as they grow. One common constraint is the computer hardware's inability to scale as the enterprise's processing needs increase. Another constraint is the enterprise's ability to put more people in the same physical or even geographical location. Thus, the challenge of distribution comes into the picture. Multiple physical machines solve the processing needs but introduce the challenge of distributed software. New building or geographical locations address the immediate need, but they introduce the challenge of bringing the same level of services to a diversely located enterprise.

Connecting previously separate systems in order to gain enterprise-scale efficiencies can be a major challenge. Legacy systems were typically designed with specific purposes in mind and were not specifically conceived with integration with other systems in mind. For example, human resource management perhaps was treated as a distinct need without much interaction with financial management, and sales management had little, if anything, to do with customer support. This disjointed approach to software development often resulted in excellent point products being purchased to address specific needs, but it commonly resulted in software architectures that were difficult to integrate.

A related challenge is the need to deal with a multivendor environment. Partly out of evolution, and partly out of necessity, enterprise software has often ended up with similar products from multiple vendors used for the same purpose. For instance, although the HR application might be built on an Oracle 8i database, the customer support application might rely on Microsoft SQL Server.

Enterprise software also typically requires some common capabilities, such as security services to safeguard the enterprise knowledge, transaction services to guarantee integrity of data, and so on. Each of these requires specific skills and knowledge. For instance, proper transaction handling requires strategies for recovering from failures, handling multiuser situations, ensuring consistency across transactions, and so on. Similarly, implementing security might demand a grasp of various security protocols and security management approaches.

These are just some of the common challenges that must be addressed when dealing with enterprise software development.

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020