Enterprise resource planning (ERP) integrates internal and external management information across an entire organization, embracing finance/accounting, manufacturing, sales and service, CRM, etc. ERP systems automate this activity with an integrated software application. Its purpose is to facilitate the flow of information between all business functions inside the boundaries of the organization and manage the connections to outside stakeholders.
ERP systems can run on a variety of hardware and network configurations, typically employing a database to store data.
ERP systems typically include the following characteristics:
- An integrated system that operates in real time (or next to real time), without relying on periodic updates.
- A common database, which supports all applications.
- A consistent look and feel throughout each module.
- Installation of the system without elaborate application/data integration by the Information Technology (IT) department.