Integrated packages combine the abilities of several general-purpose applications in one program. Integrated software is an all-in-one application package that includes word processing, spreadsheet, database manager, graphics, and communications. An integrated package works together and shares information from one program with another.
Integrated packages were developed to solve the problems caused by the inability of individual programs to communicate and work with common files of data.
Some integrated packages require significant amounts of memory and may compromise on the speed, power, and flexibility of some of their functions to achieve integration. Powerful microcomputers available these days, however, allow users to accomplish all their works without sacrificing computers' speed and flexibility.
What happens if users want to take the data in one program and use it in another? Suppose users want to take information stored in the database manager and use it in a spreadsheet. This is not always possible with separate application packages, but it is with integrated software.
With an integrated package, users can use the database manager to pull together relevant facts. An example of such facts might be the annual membership fees for a sports club for different years. Users can then use the spreadsheet to compare these membership fees. Users can use the word processing program to write a memo about these membership fees for different categories of members. Users can use this program to merge into the memo totals from the spreadsheet. Finally, users can use the communications program to send the memo to another computer.
Some popular integrated packages are Works, First Choice, Symphony, Enable, Framework, SmartWare 11, Microsoft Office, and Perfect Office. End users who are just beginning to learn about application software find integrated packages quite helpful. These packages can easily exchange data between programs, and they share a common structure. These factors make them easy to learn and convenient to use.