The second component of an information system is software. Software is the means to take a user’s data and process it to perform its intended action. Software translates what users want to do into a set of instructions that tell the hardware what to do. A set of instructions is also called a computer program. For example, when a user presses the letter ‘A” key on the keyboard when using a word processing app, it is the word processing software that tells the hardware that the user pressed the key ‘A’ on the keyboard and fetches the image of the letter A to display on the screen as feedback to the user that the user’s data is received correctly.
Software is created through the process of programming. We will cover the creation of software in this chapter and more detail in chapter 10. In essence, hardware is the machine, and software is the intelligence that tells the hardware what to do. Without software, the hardware would not be functional.