What is Enterprise Resource Planning?
Before the advent of Systems Integration, different departments in an organization developed their own computer systems, each one working separately using its own applications and data. Each department relied on the others to transfer key information. Items such as employee numbers would be generated in one system, then passed on and entered manually into the other applications.
This was problematic. The synchronizing of information was manual, slow and unreliable. Mistakes occurred, leading to additional complications as erroneous data propagated throughout the organization.
Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) standardizes and reduces the number of software specialities required in large organizations.
Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)
How does Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) overcome Systems Integration problems?
ERP combines data used by different applications and eliminates the need for interfaces between software applications. It resolves the issue of synchronizing key information.
No wonder ERP seemed like the Holy Grail of Systems Integration. Just use one system with one large database to run all parts of your business and problems will disappear!
The reality, however, is somewhat different. The incidence of failure with large-scale ERP projects is high. ERP projects typically exceed both their delivery and budget estimates. Problems occur for a number of reasons, but the common denominator is that ERP projects try to do too much in a single application.
What applications does ERP typically include?
The ERP systems of today generally cover one or a number of the following:
- Manufacturing Bills of material, scheduling, quality control, cost management.
- Supply Chain Management Inventory, order entry, purchasing.
- Financials General ledger, cash flow, accounts payable, accounts receivable.
- Projects Costing, billing, expenses.
- Human Resources Payroll, benefits, training.
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Sales and marketing, commissions
- Data Warehouse, Reporting, Data Mining
It's not uncommon for an organization to mix and match different components of competing ERPs. For example, a company may choose SAP as their primary ERP supplier and opt for Peoplesoft products (now owned by Oracle) for Human Resources and Finance.
Few organizations rely on ERP to support all of their business functions. There will always be areas where a specialized application is the better option. Whenever a stand-alone application is required or a combination of different ERP modules from different vendors is sought, mainstream systems integration tools and techniques should be utilized to provide an integrated solution.
- Enterprise Resource Planning
A detailed description including history, best practices and implementation.
- Systems Integration Resource Centre
References to integration-related publications including ERP.
- Systems Integration Made Friendly
For IT Managers and Developers who would like an overview of Systems Integration but don't need (or want) to get into specifics. Covers: Web Services, Enterprise Service Bus (ESB), Enterprise Portal, SOA, B2B, ERP & Integration Blueprinting.