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A back office application comprises the software that an organization uses to administer operations that are not related to any direct sales effort (such as a salesperson with a customer present) and interfaces that are not seen by consumers.
In direct contrast, a front office application would be a customer interface, (whether used in person or through sales personnel) that facilitates a sale or the processing of a transaction.
Application service providers (ASP) offer back office technologies where computer-based services are provided via a network, usually the internet.
PurchasingBack office applications can be varied and depending on the vendors, not ported that well (or at all often) to each other depending on the technologies involved.
Many organizations have an evolving computer system and networks and have some have excessive administration due to the non-interoperability of its back office applications. Integrated back office applications which have multiple functionality are now becoming more popular as they circumvent this problem. Problems can occur when sensitive data has to be shared as legislation often prevents sharing such as in the world of medical, criminal and legal records.
Back office applications are offered a number of software vendors from the larger back office systems that large corporations or public services might use to the more modest applications that might have quite some functionality but quite possibly only intended for use in smaller organizations.
The range of features a back office might include:
Vendors offer options that make a back office suite customizable as it is often provided in a modular format or with compatible applications bundled together such as in Microsoft Office.
The most efficient back office applications help to reduce bottlenecks in service as the data they use is shared and available easily between the back office applications.
For example data sharing would be useful in the case of a shared customer name and address database where several back office applications could access the same data. This would save the data having to be transferred, copied or re-entered by a worker and hence reduce the administration cost and reduce errors in administration too.
The sharing of data between back office applications can also take place across Wide Area Networks (WANS) as back-office applications generally offer internet and intranet operation. These back office applications offer the chance for global organizations to share data and use a common interface to access/process it.