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In contemporary times it is hard to associate the running of a business without any digital technology and software. From the largest conglomerate with its own data centres to the smallest corner shop running on a laptop. For this to become the norm in the business world however there had to be a few eureka moments which changed the landscape forever.

Microsoft Windows

Bill Gates setup Microsoft in the early 1980’s and his vision and insight was to stick with him throughout his career. Microsoft was a major innovator and has had one of the largest influences on the ability to run businesses from the smallest up to the largest. The Microsoft Windows operating system was revolutionary and is an aspect of computer life we take for granted these  days as the obvious choice, but the user interface and tools Microsoft windows provided is to this day a must have for any business.

Cisco Systems

Created in 1984 by husband and wife team Leonard Bosack and Sandy Learner, Cisco is involved in networking and communications. The name is taken from the city it was based in San Francisco part of the iconic Silicon Valley. Cisco is a very revolutionary software company that has had a major effect on business life for the past 27 years.

Cisco’s software gained a de-facto monopoly over the networking and communications industry when it caught the wave of the first internet booms, finding its software being used by almost every internet service provider (ISP). Without Cisco modems, routers and internet gateways  businesses would not have been able to communicate with one another and e-commerce, e-mail and online advertising would not have taken shape as quickly or if at all.


Founded in 1996 by Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Google has taken the world by storm and some say Google is the internet. Google like most successful companies of the digital age greatest attribute is innovation which has led to it being the first port of call for home users and a single source of revenue for a lot of businesses. Google’s software is free for all to use and they make their money from selling an audience of searchers to any company that fits their ethical standards and whose webpages meet their quality standards.

The overwhelming scope of Google’s presence amongst searchers means that Google is a marketplace in itself where businesses tailor their plans and models around. The importance of Google to contemporary businesses has become evident in the past year when changes to the algorithm in updates known as Panda and Penguin saw some businesses losing rank, sales and income sometimes resulting in redundancies and business closure.


Skype is not as major as the above companies but it is what Skype represents that is very important to contemporary business. Email and video conferencing has changed the way businesses are run. Now it is possible to have cross-continental business meetings and instant communication with colleagues and partners in different areas of the world. Globalization has been empowered by digital communication and it is software leaders such as Skype who have enabled the breakdown of borders and the emergence of the global village.


Epicor creates software for enterprise resource planning which they sell to all industries. The software aids companies in the distribution of goods from warehouse to customer. The Software brings all facets of a company’s processes into one place to improve efficiency and cost. Essentially it helps with the logistics of distribution and without this type of software companies such as Aamazon, BP, Samsung, Apple, Dell, Nike, Walmart the list goes on and on, would not be able to reach a massive customer base because their distribution processes could not be automated. ERP’s allow companies to de-centralise as they don’t need all stock to be in one place where it can be found easily.

ERP’s allow a company to spread out their sock amongst multiple warehouses but still arrive to the customer at the date specified.

After analysing the history of software and looking into how software is most utilised day to day. It is these 5 types of software that underpin how everything else works.

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Posted by Nicola Winters

This is a guest post by Nicola Winters on behalf of Phoenix Software who provide an Adobe student discount.

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