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Systems vs Applications

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Systems are a class of software that provide services to other software. This includes areas such as automation, transactions, data processing and integration.
Applications are a class of software that are primarily designed to be used by people. This includes areas such as knowledge tools, information access, decision support, business services, ecommerce, entertainment, media and games.

Systems vs Applications

Systems can have a user interface but are primarily intended to provide services to other systems and applications. Generally speaking, systems are more complex than applications.
Applications are primarily intended to be used by people. In many cases, an application relies on systems to process data and execute transactions.


A bank has systems for stock trading that involve things such as market data, transaction processing, trading algorithms and settlement. These systems provide services to a variety of applications for trading stocks. For example, the bank may provide a mobile app for trading stocks to its retail banking customers.
Systems vs Applications
A class of software that provide services to other software.
Software that is primarily designed to be used by people.

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