Enterprise resource planning (ERP) is business process management software that allows an organization to use a system of integrated applications to manage the business and automate many back office functions related to technology, services and human resources. ERP software integrates all facets of an operation, including product planning, development, manufacturing, sales and marketing.
ERP software is considered an enterprise application as it is designed to be used by larger businesses and often requires dedicated teams to customize and analyze the data and to handle upgrades and deployment. In contrast, Small business ERP applications are lightweight business management software solutions, customized for the business industry you work in.
ERP software typically consists of multiple enterprise software modules that are individually purchased, based on what best meets the specific needs and technical capabilities of the organization. Each ERP module is focused on one area of business processes, such as product development or marketing. A business can use ERP software to manage back-office activities and tasks including the following:
Distribution process management, supply chain management, services knowledge base, configure, prices, improve accuracy of financial data, facilitate better project planning, automate employee life-cycle, standardize critical business procedures, reduce redundant tasks, assess business needs, accounting and financial applications, lower purchasing costs, manage human resources and payroll.
Some of the most common ERP modules include those for product planning, material purchasing, inventory control, distribution, accounting, marketing, finance and HR.
The ERP field can be slow to change, but the last couple of years have unleashed forces which are fundamentally shifting the entire area. According to Enterprise Apps Today, the following new and continuing trends affect enterprise ERP software:
Mobile ERP:- Executives and employees want real-time access to information, regardless of where they are. It is expected that businesses will embrace mobile ERP for the reports, dashboards and to conduct key business processes.
Cloud ERP:- The cloud has been advancing steadily into the enterprise for some time, but many ERP users have been reluctant to place data cloud. Those reservations have gradually been evaporating, however, as the advantages of the cloud become apparent.
Social ERP:- There has been much hype around social media and how important – or not -- it is to add to ERP systems. Certainly, vendors have been quick to seize the initiative, adding social media packages to their ERP systems with much fanfare. But some wonder if there is really much gain to be had by integrating social media with ERP.
Two-tier ERP:- Enterprises once attempted to build an all-encompassing ERP system to take care of every aspect of organizational systems. But some expensive failures have gradually brought about a change in strategy – adopting two tiers of ERP.
Depending on your organization's size and needs there are a number of enterprise resource planning software vendors to choose from in the large enterprise, mid-market and the small business ERP market.
Large Enterprise ERP (ERP Tier I)
Mid Market ERP (ERP Tier II)
Small Business ERP (ERP Tier III)