ERP Software

What is ERP Software?

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software is an integrated suite of tools and modules that organizations use to manage and automate core, daily business processes such as accounting, human resources, supply chain, manufacturing, and project management. ERP systems are designed to streamline business management, act as a system of record, and create data flows between various teams and systems within a company.

Key benefits of ERPs include:

  • Improved companywide efficiency through automated workflows and business process management,
  • Enhanced business reporting with real-time insights from a centralized database of all business activities,
  • Increased cash flow due to refined, automated invoicing and collections processes,
  • Reduced operating costs through improved inventory management, supply chain management, customer support, and vendor & supplier management.

ERP systems have been used for decades in the manufacturing industry, but modern cloud-based ERPs can be tailored to small businesses or large enterprises in any industry. Additionally, cloud ERP solutions use advanced Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) technologies to build intelligent automation processes and provide real-time business data insights to help organizations stay flexible, agile, and competitive.

Top ERP Modules and their Functions

The top ERP modules and functionalities include the following:

  • Manufacturing: The ERP manufacturing module contains tools to help organizations streamline manufacturing processes and accurately plan production schedules.
  • Accounting and Finance: An ERP accounting and finance module contains centralized tools for managing, recording, processing, and reporting financial data processes such as:
    • Accounts payable,
    • Accounts receivable,
    • General ledger,
    • Cash flow management,
    • Budgeting & forecasting.
  • Human Capital Management (HCM): ERPs offer an HCM module that streamlines Human Resources (HR) processes and centralizes employee information in one system. HCM modules help companies manage each phase of employees’ lifecycles, including:
    • Onboarding & training,
    • Payroll,
    • Benefits administration,
    • Performance reviews & talent management.
  • Inventory Management: An ERP inventory management module provides real-time inventory data to help organizations more efficiently track inventory, manage product stock levels, and optimize warehousing space. ERPs also automate inventory management processes to improve operational efficiency and accuracy.
  • Order Management: ERP order management modules automate order management processes and centralize inventory, sales, and customer data in one system.
  • Supply Chain Management (SCM): An ERP supply chain management module contains tools to help companies seamlessly and efficiently manage the flow of goods and financial data associated with specific products or services, including:
    • Planning resources based on customer demand levels,
    • Creating established processes and monitoring supplier relationships,
    • Sourcing raw materials and manufacturing products,
    • Distributing products and delivering to the customer.
  • Project Management: ERP project management modules provide tools and resources to help companies efficiently manage project timelines, allocate resources, and manage job costing and reporting.
  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM): ERPs typically offer an integrated CRM system to help businesses organize and store customer data, manage leads, and improve sales and customer support processes.
  • Marketing Automation: The ERP marketing automation module provides tools and features to help companies automate marketing processes such as sending email marketing campaigns, scheduling social media posts, and running ad campaigns.

ERPs based on Business Size

ERP systems aren't meant for large enterprises alone; many top vendors now offer ERPs that are specially developed to tackle the needs and challenges of small businesses.

We've compiled lists for mid-sized and small business ERP software, to see which ERP vendors are purpose-built for growing organizations:

Small Business ERPs
Mid-Sized Business ERPs

Industry-Specific ERP Solutions

Many leading ERP vendors formulate their product suites to exclusively cater to one or more industries. Need to see which ERP vendors cover specific industries? Our list of industry-specific ERP software can give you a closer look.

ERP for Manufacturing
ERP for Food and Beverage (FnB)
ERP for Retail
ERP for Automotive
ERP for Agriculture
ERP for Steelworks
ERP for Apparel
ERP for Chemicals
ERP for Pharmaceuticals

Have more questions about ERP software? Jump to our ERP FAQs for more.

Top 10 ERP Software

SYSPRO / NetSuite / SutiProcure / SAP S/4HANA / Oracle ERP / Aquilon Software / Aptean / IFS / Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central / Infor M3

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Deltek Vantagepoint
Starting Price:N/A
Deltek Vantagepoint is a comprehensive suite of ERP tools designed to empower businesses in the professional services industry. By streamlining processes, enhancing collaboration, and offering actionable insights, Deltek Vantagepoint can help you achieve significant benefits across your organization...
WH Score
Starting Price:$19 per user / per month
Firmao is an online CRM software that is tailored to the CRM needs of small and medium businesses in service, sales, and manufacturing. Firmao is also a great CRM option for remote teams who need centralized tools for dynamic growth.

Learn more about ERP Software

What is a tier 2 ERP system?

A tier 2, also known as a two-tiered ERP system combines two systems to better fulfill the needs of larger organizations that may be situated across more than one location or subsidiary. This two-pronged approach to enterprise resource planning produces superior data management and consolidates data from across the entirety of the enterprise into a single source.

Can small businesses use ERPs?

Yes. Small and large businesses alike can use ERPs to centralize business data and automate manual tasks. Cloud ERP software is accessible and affordable for small companies, and modules can be customized and scaled as a company grows and its business management processes become more complex.

Can a business use multiple ERP systems?

Yes, some companies choose to use multiple ERP systems to support mergers, compliance regulations, or unique department-level needs and processes. However, companies using multiple ERPs must take the necessary steps to ensure accuracy and compliance in data flows, accounting processes, and financial reports between their ERP systems.

What makes data migration a challenge during ERP implementation?

Carefully planning and preparing for ERP implementation is essential because data migration can be a challenge during ERP implementation. This is due to several complexities and factors, including:

  • System compatibility and data security issues,
  • Inaccurate, incomplete, or lost data,
  • Business downtime during implementation,
  • Existing business system and application integrations.

As a result, speaking to your ERP provider on how such data migration risks can be mitigated during the implementation stage is important - well before transitions are made.

Is ERP CapEx or OpEx?

ERP can be classified as both CapEx and OpEx. ERP software licenses, technical designs, hardware and equipment are Capital Expenditures (CapEx). Functional designs, monthly fees, and system maintenance costs are Operating Expenditures (OpEx).

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