What Is ERP?


ERP is an acronym meaning enterprise resource planning, and it is usually used as ERP software or ERP system. ERP describes a specialized software package used to manage multiple business functions.


  • ERP specifically describes software that is used to connect many aspects of a business together. One major use for ERP software is controlling a supply chain.


  • ERP software was originally very costly, making it accessible only to large companies. Competition has allowed for many less expensive ERP packages, and now small- to medium-size businesses can use the software as well.

In Practice

  • Many companies adopt ERP software packages to control aspects of business that are closely related. ERP software will update modules as changes are made within other modules. For example, when a purchase is made in a company's procurement department, the asset management module is updated to reflect the purchase and accounting is updated to reflect the disbursement.


  • Larger ERP packages are often maintained by an in-house implementation and service group, along with a development team. The ERP manufacturer also generally provides support for the client.


  • Major ERP brands hsuch as SAP, Oracle and Oracle's PeopleSoft have dominated the market since the 1990s.

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