Enterprise resource planning

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An enterprise resource planning (ERP) system is an integrated computer-based application used to manage internal and external resources, including tangible assets, financial resources, materials, and human resources. Its purpose is to facilitate the flow of information between all business functions inside the boundaries of the organization and manage the connections to outside stakeholders. Built on a centralized database and normally utilizing a common computing platform, ERP systems consolidate all business operations into a uniform and enterprise-wide system environment.[1]

An ERP system can either reside on a centralized server or be distributed across modular hardware and software units that provide "services" and communicate on a local area network. The distributed design allows a business to assemble modules from different vendors without the need for the placement of multiple copies of complex and expensive computer systems in areas which will not use their full capacity.[2]

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Origin of the term

The initialism ERP was first employed by research and analysis firm Gartner Group in 1990[3] as an extension of MRP (material requirements planning, later manufacturing resource planning[4]) and CIM (computer-integrated manufacturing), and whilst not supplanting these terms, it has come to represent a larger whole. It came into use because the creators of MRP software started to develop software applications beyond the manufacturing arena.[5] However, this does not mean that ERP packages have typically been developed from a manufacturing core. Many of the major players started their development of an integrated package from other directions, such as accounting, maintenance and human resources management. ERP systems now attempt to cover all core functions of an enterprise, regardless of the organization's business or charter. These systems can now be found in non-manufacturing businesses, non-profit organizations and governments.[6]

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