Enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems integrate internal and external management information across an entire organization, embracing finance/accounting, manufacturing, sales and service, customer relationship management, etc. ERP systems automate this activity with an integrated software application. The purpose of ERP 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 computer hardware and network configurations, typically employing a database as a repository for information. The transformation of ERP into a cloud-based model has been relatively slow, but as cloud computing makes other inroads into the enterprise environment some functionality is being moved to the cloud.
ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) 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.


General ledger, payables, cash management, fixed assets, receivables, budgeting, consolidation

Human resources

Payroll, training, benefits, 401K, recruiting, diversity management


Engineering, bill of materials, work orders, scheduling, capacity, workflow management, quality control, cost management, manufacturing process, manufacturing projects, manufacturing flow, activity based costing, product life cycle management

Supply chain management

Order to cash, inventory, order entry, purchasing, product configuration, supply chain planning, supplier scheduling, inspection of goods, claim processing, commissions

Project management

Costing, billing, time and expense, performance units, activity management

Customer relationship management

Sales and marketing, commissions, service, customer contact, call center support

Data services

Various "self–service" interfaces for customers, suppliers and/ or employees

Access control

Management of user privileges for various processes