ERP software is business management software designed to make it easier for crucial information to flow between all departments within a business. It is a suite of integrated applications that a company can use for collecting, storing, managing and interpreting data from all its departments.
ERP software facilitates quick, efficient and error-free business transactions and resource management by providing an integrated, company-wide view of key business processes using a shared database. This database is maintained by a database management system, which tracks business resources such as production capacity, raw materials and cash in real time. It also provides up-to-date information about the status of business commitments such as payroll and purchase orders. The applications that make up an ERP system share data across various departments, such as accounting, purchasing manufacturing and sales, as well as managing connections to outside stakeholders.
Some characteristics of ERP systems include a shared database that supports all business applications within a company, an integrated system that provides valuable real-time information about a company's business processes, and a unified look and feel that provides a consistent user experience across all modules. Essential components of ERP systems include transactional databases, management portals, business intelligence systems, document management, workflow management, messaging systems and resource planning and scheduling. Most ERP systems have incorporated best practices, which means that the software reflects the company's idea of the most efficient way to serve customers and perform business processes.