from: Undertaking systematic reviews of research on effectiveness: CRD's guidance for those carrying out or commissioning reviews. CRD Report 4 (2nd edition). March 2001. http://www.york.ac.uk/inst/crd/report4.htm
It is often applied in the healthcare context, but is also sometimes used in educational and social policy research.
A systematic review is a research method, just as interviews or surveys are research methods. The key difference is whether you are collecting and analysing your own primary data, or performing a review of already published research and grey literature.
It is common practice to use Excel to manage systematic reviews.
The EPPI Centre have created specific software for systematic reviewing which individuals can subscribe to (the cost is not prohibitive).
There is also free alternative: Rayyan http://rayyan.qcri.org/