Enterprise resource planning (ERP) is a system of integrated software applications that standardizes, streamlines and integrates business processes across finance, human resources, procurement, distribution, and other departments. Typically, ERP systems operate on an integrated software platform using common data definitions operating on a single database.
ERP systems improve enterprise efficiency and effectiveness in a number of ways. By integrating financial information in a single system, ERP systems unify an organization’s financial reporting. They also integrate order management, making order taking, manufacturing, inventory, accounting, and distribution a much simpler and less error-prone process.
The scale, scope, and functionality of ERP systems vary widely. However, most ERP software features characteristics of Enterprise-wide integration, real-time (or near real-time) operations, a common database, consistent look and feel.