In simpler words, an ERP is a massivesoftware architecture that supports the streaming and distribution of geographically scattered enterprise wide information across all the functional units of a business house. It provides the business management executives with a comprehensive overview of the complete business execution which in turn influences their decisions in a productive way.
At the core of ERP is a well managed centralized data repository which acquires information from and supply information into the fragmented applications operating on a universal computing platform.
Information in large business organizations is accumulated on various servers across many functional units and sometimes separated by geographical boundaries. Such information islands can possibly service individual organizational units but fail to enhance enterprise wide performance, speed and competence.
The term ERP originally referred to the way a large organization planned to use its organizational wide resources. Formerly, ERP systems were used in larger and more industrial types of companies. However, the use of ERP has changed radically over a period of few years. Today the term can be applied to any type of company, operating in any kind of field and of any magnitude.
Today's ERP software architecture can possibly envelop a broad range of enterprise wide functions and integrate them into a single unified database repository. For instance, functions such as Human Resources, Supply Chain Management, Customer Relationship Management, Finance, Manufacturing Warehouse Management and Logistics were all previously stand alone software applications, generally housed with their own applications, database and network, but today, they can all work under a single umbrella - the ERP architecture.
In order for a software system to be considered ERP, it must provide a business with wide collection of functionalities supported by features like flexibility, modularity & openness, widespread, finest business processes and global focus.
1 Integration is Key to ERP Systems
Integration is an exceptionally significant ingredient to ERP systems. The integration between businessprocesses helps develop communication and information distribution, leading to remarkable increase in productivity, speed and performance.
The key objective of an ERP system is to integrate information and processes from all functional divisions of an organization and merge it for effortless access and structured workflow. The integration is typically accomplished by constructing a single database repository that communicates with multiple software applications providing different divisions of an organization with various business statistics and information.
Although the perfect configuration would be a single ERP system for an entire organization, but many larger organizations usually deploy a single functional system and slowly interface it with other functional divisions. This type of deployment can really be time-consuming and expensive.
2 The Ideal ERP System
An ERP system would qualify as the best model for enterprise wide solution architecture, if it chains all the below organizational processes together with a central database repository and a fused computing platform.
Engineering, resource & capacity planning, material planning, workflow management, shop floor management, quality control, bills of material, manufacturing process, etc.