Enterprise resource planning software (typically known as ERP software) is software that can be utilized on multiple levels of business planning and management by small or medium companies, or even extremely large corporations. ERP software can come in numerous shapes and sizes, but typically they involve constant connections from multiple levels of users to a central database of information hosted by the company. The benefit of this kind of software is that everyone throughout the network can access the same information and be sure it’s the most current information without waiting for daily or weekly updates. If it’s developed correctly and introduced to the users in just the right way, a good example of ERP software has a front-end that is designed to keep a consistent look and feel throughout the different categories and information panels to keep the best user experience possible. ERP systems will normally include resource management software, inventory management software, and point of sale software. Depending on companies’ needs, an ERP system can help manage accounting, employee information, project information and statuses, etc.; many other things can also be included with help of add-ons and extensions that can be plugged into the system.
Not too long ago, companies managed internal informational systems and customer-facing systems separately, relying on at least two sets of software, two separate databases, and the knowledge and/or team to manage any updates they might require. Unfortunately, that kind of narrow scope lends to having inconsistencies. Having one large ERP system that includes manufacturing resource management and customer relationship management (known simply as CRM software) can keep things like information from point of sale systems, selling trends, and customer details together with inventory management, manufacturing trends and production trends together in one system. Having access to all this information in one system loaded into one singular database means an extra added bonus: companies can rely on the ERP system to help with sales forecasting, which can mean having the inventory and human resources necessary to manage better times with large or frequent sales, or can predict slower times where minimizing inventory as human resources will save the company resources instead of potentially having them go to waste.
Because “resource management” is such a vastly encompassing term, there are plenty of different types of systems that can be used. Depending on the processing power of the computers involved and the knowledge of the people that will be using and/or maintaining the systems in play, a company can choose to use either installed software or web-based software. Choosing to installed software on a computer can be taxing on the computer hardware involved, meaning this choice is best used on systems that have little else to process; point-of-sale systems and inventory management systems that are limited to just those functions are ideal or the entire network might experience production-halting consequences. Web-based software is a good choice for computers that simultaneously need access to the business resource information and need to process other things like marketing or advertising software or a suite of office-based software; networks that connect to a web CRM or ERP do require an extra system to process all the data input/output and provide access to the database via the company’s intranet.