41126-piy-ch09-01.pdf_18891

41126-piy-ch09-01.pdf_18891 - CHAPTER 9 Understanding...

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software A computer program or a collection of programs. It is a precise set of instructions that tells hardware what to do. computer hardware The physical components of information technology. This can include the computer itself, plus peripherals such as storage devices, input devices like mice and keyboards, output devices like monitors and printers, networking equipment, etc. CHAPTER 9 Understanding Software: A Primer for Managers 1. INTRODUCTION LEARNING OBJECTIVES After studying this section you should be able to: 1. Recognize the importance of software and its implications for the firm and strategic decision making. 2. Understand that software is everywhere; not just in computers, but also cell phones, cars, cam- eras, and many other technologies. 3. Know what software is and be able to differentiate it from hardware. 4. List the major classifications of software and give examples of each. We know computing hardware is getting faster and cheaper, creating all sorts of exciting and disruptive opportunities for the savvy manager. But what’s really going on inside the box? It’s software that makes the magic of computing happen. Without software, your PC would be a heap of silicon, wrapped in wires encased in plastic and metal. But it’s the instructions—the software code—that enable a com- puter to do something wonderful, driving the limitless possibilities of information technology. Software is everywhere. An inexpensive cell phone has about 1 million lines of code, while the av- erage car contains nearly 100 million [1] . In this chapter we’ll take a peek inside the chips to understand what software is. There are a lot of terms associated with software: operating systems, applications, en- terprise software, distributed systems, and more. We’ll define these terms up front, and put them in a managerial context. A follow-up chapter, “Software in Flux”, will focus on changes impacting the soft- ware business, including open source software, software as a service (SaaS), and cloud computing. These changes are creating an environment radically different from the software industry that existed in prior decades—confronting managers with a whole new set of opportunities and challenges. Managers who understand software can better understand the possibilities and impact of techno- logy. They can make better decisions regarding the strategic value of IT, and the potential for technology-driven savings. They can appreciate the challenges, costs, security vulnerabilities, legal and compliance issues, and limitations involved in developing and deploying technology solutions. In the next two chapters we will closely examine the software industry and discuss trends, developments and economics—all of which influence decisions managers make about products to select, firms to partner with, and firms to invest in.
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41126-piy-ch09-01.pdf_18891 - CHAPTER 9 Understanding...

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